Today's News

Pulaski County EMS Director Seeks Help in Retaining Staff

Pulaski County EMS Director Nikki Lowry asked the commissioners Monday night for help in retaining staff in her department.

She stated that there is a short turnaround of staff and believes that Pulaski County EMS needs to be more competitive when it comes to pay and work available.

Lowry also suggested offering incentives such as continuing education.

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Funding Approved for Water Heating System at Pulaski County Justice Center

Pulaski County Justice Center

Pulaski County Justice Center

The Pulaski County Commissioners approved funds for a continuous water heating system at the Pulaski County Justice Center.

Maintenance Director Jeff Johnston explained that he attempted to get quotes for replacement equipment and for a continuous water heating system. Johnson said he got quotes for the equipment that is just like what the justice center has now, but found that the continuous water heating system is less expensive, more efficient and will better fit the needs at the jail.

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Pulaski County Council Members Briefly Discuss Airport Issues

 The Pulaski County Council has had several questions concerning the operations at the county’s airport, Arens Field, and manager Bud Widner was at the council’s Monday meeting to answer questions by the council members.

At the last meeting, the council members voiced concerns about the payment for fuel.  There was a dispute over how much money the county should be receiving for the fuel that has been used and how much was in the fuel tank when the full-time employment began. That part has been ironed out and accounted for but the method of payment for fuel by customers was discussed briefly.

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Pulaski County Council Approves Appropriation for New Ambulance

The Pulaski County Council approved an additional appropriation for the EMS for the purchase of an ambulance and new cardiac monitors.

EMS Director Nikki Lowry requested $88,000 in an additional appropriation in order to pay for the new ambulance. The insurance company will be paying $82,000 to the county after totaling the ambulance that was damaged in a fire on Feb. 7 at Wagner’s Towing. The cost of a new ambulance is approximately $150,000.

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Pulaski County County Commissioners Receive Update on Zoning Ordinances

The executive director of the Pulaski County Community Development Commission updated the county commissioners this week on plans to revamp the zoning ordinances.

Nathan Origer explained that the county council approved the transfer of funds from the CDC land acquisition account for the project and plans are progressing.

“Once I have the CDC’s formal approval and the plan commission’s formal recommendation to the commissioners, I will bring it to you. I will get a copy to you in advance as soon as we tweak any details. I sent a list of minor concerns to the company that has submitted the proposal. They don’t anticipate starting the project until mid-November and finishing in early spring. We are still negotiating with Francesville and Winamac to see if either of them want to adopt that same ordinance so that even though they’ll retain their same jurisdictions the rules will be the same across the county,” said Origer.

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Pulaski County Commissioners Approve Purchase of New Ambulance

The Pulaski County Commissioners approved a quote for a new ambulance during their meeting on Monday night.

EMS officials announced last week that the ambulance damaged from a February fire and subsequently repaired did not pass state inspection so it was totaled by the insurance company.

During this week’s meeting, EMS Director Nikki Lowry presented the commissioners with four quotes for a new ambulance. They approved a quote from Arrow in the amount of $130,700. Since the insurance company totaled the truck, an $82,000 settlement will go toward the purchase of a new ambulance.

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Pulaski County Council Discusses Appropriation for Fuel at Airport

 The Pulaski County Council continues to iron out financial details since taking over the financial aspect at the airport.

When the decision was made to make Bud Widner a full-time employee, that meant that Wagner had to cease purchasing items under his own name and the county had to reimburse Widner for those items to ensure that all equipment was county owned. That was done for liability purposes.

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Pulaski County Council Approves Transfer for Zoning Ordinance Update

The director of the Pulaski County Community Development Commission (CDC) requested a transfer of funds to work on zoning ordinances.

Nathan Origer told the Pulaski County Council members that he is an advisor to the plan commission and said the zoning ordinances were not done professionally and they need to be to fit the needs of the county.

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Pulaski County Justice Center Equipment Needs Discussed

Pulaski County Sheriff's Department

Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department

Pulaski County Maintenance Director Jeff Johnston presented the county council members Monday night with several issues with the Justice Center.

Johnston explained the issues.

“The air units on the rooftop of the Justice Center are 17 years old and they have 15 year life spans. Four of them have already failed and the fifth one is failing now. We’re replaced four this year. We still have seven that are about to give it up. We’ve got three water heaters in the upstairs room, one of which failed its inspection from the state. We’ve replaced it but another one started leaking out of the bottom. Those machines are also past their life span by about seven years. We have two water softeners in that same room that are also leaking out of the top and they’re getting ready to go as well,” said Johnston.

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Pulaski County Commissioners, Council Discuss County Home

The Pulaski County commissioners and the county council met in joint session last night where one of the topics was the future of the county home.

In previous meetings this year, Maintenance Director Jeff Johnston presented the county boards with a preliminary structural condition assessment of the county home conducted by American Structurepoint, Inc. The repairs needed are extensive and are estimated between $500,000 to $1 million. With that, the government entities are wondering what should be done.

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Refurbished Pulaski County Ambulance Totaled

The Pulaski County EMS staff members are looking for a new ambulance as the refurbished ambulance can not be certified.

The ambulance was damaged in a fire at Wagner Performance Diesel Repair near Star City on Feb. 7. In the last meeting of the Pulaski County Commissioners, it was reported by the county’s insurance agency that Wagner’s insurance company has accepted responsibility for the fire.

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Maintenance Director Discusses Justice Center, Annex Issues with Commissioners

The Pulaski County Commissioners gave the maintenance director permission to seek an additional appropriation from the county council to replace the aging equipment at the Pulaski County Justice Center.

Some of the equipment is already starting to fail, according to Jeff Johnston. He said he’d like to take care of the equipment while there is money yet in this year’s budget.

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Pulaski County Commissioners, Council to Meet in Joint Session Today

 The Pulaski County commissioners and county council will meet in a public joint session tonight to discuss the airport operations a little further.

When the Pulaski County council members met last week, several questions were brought up concerning a part-time or full-time position for the airport manager and other issues such as fuel.

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Pulaski County Election Board Discusses Municipal Election Costs with County Council

The Pulaski County Council heard from Laura Bailey, the vice chairperson of the Pulaski County Election Board, about changes that will be made to put municipal elections more in line with the law.

Bailey explained that paperwork for a financial agreement pertaining to municipal elections has not been signed.

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Courthouse, County Home Structural Needs Reviewed by Pulaski County Commissioners

Pulaski County CourthouseA recent building assessment of the Pleasant View Rest Home and the Pulaski County Courthouse has found some issues that need attention sooner rather than later.

Maintenance Director Jeff Johnston told the commissioners Monday night that some issues can wait but if other repairs go without attention, they could cost the county a lot more money.

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Park Board Committee Report on Starke County Council Agenda

starke-county-courthouseThe committee formed to determine whether Starke County needs a park board could present a report to the county council this evening. Such a board would oversee the Bass Lake Beach and Campground, Starke County Forest and other public lands controlled by the county. It’s up to the council to establish such a volunteer board. Members have previously expressed reluctance to do so because of potential future costs. Continue reading

Pulaski County Commissioners Approve Emergency Well Replacement

Pulaski County Commissioners Larry Brady, Terry Young and Tracey Shorter

Pulaski County Commissioners Larry Brady, Terry Young and Tracey Shorter

The Pulaski County Commissioners were forced call an emergency meeting last night after the well pump at the county recycling center quit. Maintenance supervisor Jeff Johnston scrambled to get prices for repair options. They ranged from a high of $11,250 to run 1,500 feet of water line and connect to the town’s infrastructure to a low of $2,450 to repair their existing well pump. The commissioners voted unanimously to hire Bill Montgomery Well Drilling to drill a new well and replace the existing infrastructure for a cost of $4,400. They noted this will solve the problem of having to heat the pump in the winter, as it will be located inside a building. Also the new well will last indefinitely. The commissioners cited concerns over having to make additional repairs had they opted to fix what was already in place. Tying into the town system was deemed too expensive an option, as it would carry a recurring monthly water bill. Johnston did not have a time frame on how long the work will take. He told the commissioners he will see that it starts as soon as possible. The commissioners had previously advertised a special session to discuss animal control for the county. That meeting was cancelled and has not yet been rescheduled.

Pulaski County Commissioners Discuss Emergency Meetings, Spending Limit for Maintenance Director

Pulaski County Commissioners Larry Brady, Terry Young and Tracey Shorter

Pulaski County Commissioners Larry Brady, Terry Young and Tracey Shorter

The Pulaski County Commissioners took action to raise the amount of money allotted for the maintenance department in the case of an emergency situation.

Maintenance Director Jeff Johnston brought up the issue of emergency calls and the attempts to get a hold of commission members to approve a decision on how to move forward with the emergent issue at hand. The commissioners reiterated that Johnston has the authority to make the best, quickest and most cost-effective measures to take care of what needs to be done, but County Attorney Kevin Tankersley noted that some of the processes that have been done to seek commissioners’ approval of the emergent issue and money needed are not being handled in the best practice. He explained that any decision that requires immediate attention by the commissioners containing purchases over the minimum purchase requirement needs to be done in an a public emergency meeting.

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Pulaski County Officials Considering Payroll Software

Pulaski County CourthouseThe Pulaski County Council and Commissioners want more information about a proposed electronic payroll system for county employees before committing to the expense. They have several options to consider, including electronic swipe cards and fingerprint recognition keypads for employees to clock in and out. Auditor Shelia Garling says such a system would much more efficient than the manual time cards and reports the county is currently using. The data will first go to the auditor’s office for review before it is sent to Adaptasoft to process payroll, taxes and direct deposits. Garling says this will alleviate the hassle of processing paper payroll reports and would cut down on the time department heads spend compiling that information from time cards. She told the council she would like to have the software in place by Oct. 1 if possible. The council and commissioners plan to discuss options more thoroughly in a joint session before making any decisions.

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