The council members worked in budget sessions in July to cut over $2 million in the budget for next year. The county is asking for a 2.7 percent increase over last year.
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.
The Pulaski County Council approved the purchase of a generator for the health department.
Terri Hansen had been asking for a generator for the department for several years. After working with county maintenance director Jeff Johnston, Hansen said they are ready to make the purchase.
“Jeff Johnston, I talked with him a couple of times and he said the generator that would run our office is about $2,900. I’m asking for an additional in equipment for $3,500 for the generator and for any cost for the hookup,” said Hansen.
The Pulaski County Council discussed a salary ordinance change request with the sheriff’s matron, Carrie Avery, Monday night.
The situation is unique in that a dispatcher and his wife work at the department and officials want to move one into the chief dispatcher role. That would create a nepotism law violation. To get around that, Avery went before the county council to request that they approve the creation of co-assistant chief deputy positions and put the pair into those roles.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The issues that the council members discussed during their meeting last week was if Airport Manager Bud Wagner’s position with the county needs to be full time and about the revenue coming into the airport.
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.
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.
The Pulaski County Council discussed several additional appropriation and transfer requests on Monday night. A couple of requests from the Pulaski County Justice Center were discussed at length.
Sheriff Michael Gayer spoke at the Eastern Pulaski School Board meeting so Matron Carrie Aaron and Sergeant Fred Rogers represented the sheriff’s department where they explained an $80,000 additional appropriation. Sergeant Rogers said the money is needed to pay past bills that have been due – some for many years. For example, according to Sergeant Rogers, the fuel bill hadn’t been paid since September of 2013 while other vendors for a variety services have been waiting since 2011 for payment.
Questions mentioned were the need for a full time manager or employee at the airport and what amount of fuel is needed to fill the tank on the premises for airplanes.
County Attorney Kevin Tankersley told the joint board that it was brought to his attention that Airport Manager Bud Wagner has several pieces of equipment in his name at the airport that are being used for work. He pays for the fuel and is paid back as pilots fuel planes. The landline telephone is also in his name as well as the internet service. Wagner is also not employed by the county.
While this is already against normal policy, he’s not being reimbursed for the use of these items.
Tankersley asked the joint board to make sure that he is an employee and that he receives benefits like all other employees. He also suggested that the county or the airport board purchase those items that Bud owns that are in use at the airport or buy items that are county owned. Tankersley also suggested that the airport pay for the fuel and create an account for the fuel in the county’s name.
The commissioners approved a motion to make Bud Wagner an employee. He will work 35 hours a week and receive benefits. The council will decide what to do with the equipment purchases. The council members will discuss what to do to adjust the airport budget to reflect these changes.
Policy updates and how things may need to change in order to move forward in the future will be topics discussed today.
The Pulaski County Council approved the purchase of a new truck for the highway department to replace a truck that was wrecked during the winter an additional truck for the department.
Highway Superintendent Mark Fox also presented the council members with a transfer request of $20,724.91 from bridge repairs to Bridge 268, or Haschel Bridge.
The Pulaski County Council approved an additional appropriation for the prosecutor’s office for a summer intern.
Prosecutor Stacey Mrak stressed that the money is not coming from the general fund even though it is appropriated money. She explained that the money is coming from the pre-trial diversion fund which can be used at the discretion of the prosecutor. The money needed to be transferred to another line item in the budget for payroll purposes.
The additional appropriation was for $2,700.
The Pulaski County Council discussed Monday night, at length, the number of military vehicles in possession in the county and their use.
Sheriff Michael Gayer was asked about the county highway department’s use of dump trucks acquired from the military. Sheriff Gayer said it’s not illegal for the county highway to use those trucks after two years of acquisition.