2022 – Expectations for County Government
Feb 2, 2022. 2:00 pm – next meeting.
Jan 19, 2022 Commissioner Meeting – 2:00-3:30 – 16 participants. Facebook Post at Brown County Matters Updated Jan 21, 2022
Officers. Jerry Pittman re-voted president. Chuck Braden nominated himself for VP which surprised the other commissioners, but it was seconded and he is now VP. Diana Biddle was the previous VP.
Brown Countyt Website Overview. An overview of the website was provided by Laura Winett of IT. Each department (if they so choose), now can upload their own minutes, agendas, recordings, and current news, links to their Facebook account, etc. Website includes information on job postings.
Nashville Bicycle/Path Master Plan –County funding. Diana Biddle committed $20K (or more) to development of a plan that is speculated to cost 100k. Other partners include Nashville, YMCA, Foundation, Parks and Rec. The “justification” was that in addition to Nashville, this “could” support other areas in Washington Township. Nashville’s population is about 1,000. County population around 15,000 with many areas that might benefit from funding for trails.
Highway Department Update – Mike Magnor. See their website for updates on Road Plan, report an issue, and updates.
Definition of a Plan. Commissioners Biddle’s definition of a plan describes a concept or idea which explains her insight that past “plans” end up on a shelf. The professional definition of a “plan” includes objectives, method (plan of action with milestones), risks, and resources (time and money).
Bonus – 1,000, Elected Officials. The money is coming from an excess in the life insurance fund, not the wellness fund. This excess was not identifed during the budget hearings.
Annual Facilities Walk-Thru. No specifics as to what this entails. Should include an inspection, review of maintenance schedules, plan as to repairs and replacements, e.g., a foundation of a Capital Improvement Plan and Budget.
Board Appointments. An issue was raised regarding the criteria that could be applied in selecting candidates. The Commissioners reinforced they can appoint anyone they believe can do a good job.
Website – Boards and Commissions. The Brown County Website does not include Boards and Commissioners or a listing of appointments and expirations – current and historical.
Salt Creek Trail For the Record. Nothing too new. The trail from the State Park to the YMCA is “funded” with fed and state money. The proposed route from the Red Barn to the YMCA may have been identified. The State handles land acquisitions.
Personal Commentary. With a one-party monopoly on political power, candidates selected for elected and appointed offices generally pose little risk to the status quo. This is reinforced by an electorate that accepts the status quo. The county voted around 64% for Trump in 2016 and 2020. Democrat candidates typically are not competitive and candidates with social media posts that denigrate conservatives, Trump and his supports do not lead to more votes. Covid policies have reinforced the political divide nationally as well as locally.
Transparency. Knowledge is potential power and why share it if you do not have to? Lack of transparency leads to inefficiencies and corruption. Corruption defined as the inability to distinguish between right and wrong.
Legal – Barnes and Thornburg. NSTR.
Request for Information (RFI). I follow up every meeting on my requests for more information. I estimate it would take about an hour to provide the information.
- Health Clinic. Will be expanding hours for testing and vaccinations. Grant money from the state will cover overtime.
- Board Appointments. Commissioners approved appointments to several boards. Number of applicantes/re-appointments matched vacancies. A brief discussion regarding the statute appointing members to the Convention Visitor Commission (CVC) – 3 of the 5 members must be “be engaged in the hotel or motel business within the county.” (IC 6-9-14)
- Health Savings. It was reported that the change in provider (s) of prescriptions saved: $329,785.
- Employee Buyouts. Only 3 employees accepted the 15K buyout offer – 1 in propbation and 2 in the auditors office. The expectation for budget purposese was the number would be higher.
- Highway Department (website). Milestone was selected as the low bidder.
- In 2022, I am also posting and consolidating all the meeting notes at Indep Voters – included the link to the RFIs. Request for Information (RFI). I followed up on a few of my requests. Also requested more information on the Music Centers financial condition.
- County Attorneys Barnes and Thornburg. Contract was renewed, not advertised for other bids. Anecdotal testimony as to the value-added.
- “Fire District.” The Fire District exists on paper. Would allow the District to tax residentes to support fire protection to include paid firefighters. This was a contoversial issue a few years ago and ended up in court. Commissioners implied this may be more acceptable now.