Council Wrestles With Jail Expenses

Starke County Justice CenterThe Starke County Council has scheduled a special meeting to try to get a handle on expenses related to jail operations. They deferred Sheriff Bill Dulin’s request for an additional appropriation until they can take a closer look at things like utility costs for the building. It’s been open for a year, and extensive studies were done beforehand to project costs. The council should have findings from an energy audit in time for their scheduled June 13th meeting. It will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the annex building. Continue reading

Starke Commissioners Approve Revised Airport Zoning Ordinance

!airportpicPlans to extend the runway at the Starke County Airport by 5,000 feet received the county council’s blessing Monday evening. Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver says the local facility is part of the National Airport System Plan and is therefore eligible for money from the Federal Aviation Administration. He adds those funds come from excise taxes levied on the aviation industry by the federal government. Continue reading

Council to Discuss Additional Transportation Funds

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Council will consider a proposal from the highway superintendent with regard to additional state transportation funds when they meet this evening. Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler assembled a road funding committee to discuss options for the one-time appropriation from the state. He also hopes to come up with the required local match to draw down additional funds in order to free up $1 million for additional uses throughout the county over the next five years. Continue reading

Economic Development Director to Outline Plans Tonight

starke-county-courthouseStarke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charlie Weaver will present his long-term vision for funds from the county economic development income tax to the county council when they meet this evening. In previous meetings Weaver has expressed a desire to invest in road improvements in the Knox Industrial Park to make it more attractive to businesses looking to relocate or expand. He’s also made mention of improvements in the Hamlet area. Continue reading

Starke County Officials Prepare For Building Renovations

starke-county-jail-outsideThe Starke County Council and Commissioners are almost ready to proceed with renovations to the courthouse and old jail building across the street. They’ve got money left from the construction of the new jail east of Knox to make upgrades to both buildings for continued correctional use.

The old jail will become office space for Starke County Community Corrections and the probation department. Community Corrections Director Bob Hinojosa told the county council and commissioners Monday his board has committed $100,000 toward the renovations on the condition that the former sally port can be turned into a conference room. Continue reading

Starke County Officials Slash Proposed Expenditures

starke-county-courthouseBudget constraints have forced the Starke County Council and Commissioners to cut back on proposed big ticket expenditures in the coming year. They met jointly Monday to look at items that can be purchased with money in the cumulative capital development fund. That list included a new ambulance for Starke County EMS, two new patrol cars for the sheriff’s office and three new server computers for the IT department. Continue reading