Courthouse Repairs on Starke County Commissioners Agenda

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners should have a better idea how much repairs to the courthouse will cost after their meeting tonight. They’ve asked for quotes on tuckpointing the brick in order to set a budget for the work. Fixing the masonry is one of several repairs that need to be made to the historic structure. Wiring needs to be upgraded, and the roof needs to be fixed as well. Continue reading

Starke County Council Authorizes Mailing of Inkeepers Tax Letters

starke-county-courthouseStarke County inkeepers taxes are now payable to the county treasurer’s office each month. The forms that need to be submitted with those payments are available on the county’s website, and any questions can be directed to the treasurer’s office. Payments were previously submitted to the state. Continue reading

Starke County Council Approves Mower Purchase for Jail

Starke County Sheriff's Department BadgeStarke County officials have opted to do their own lawn maintenance and snow removal at the new jail in an effort to contain costs. On Monday the county council approved the purchase of a mower with a commercial grade deck for the facility. It will be paid for with tax money set aside for construction of the building east of Knox on State Road 8. Continue reading

Commissioners to Discuss Memorial Day Flags

The Starke County Commissioners hope to settle what has become a contentious issue when they meet this evening. Historically the county has purchased flags to place on the graves of veterans each Memorial Day. They coordinate the project with the local veterans service organizations. This year questions arose about how funds would be distributed. The commissioners have stressed their commitment to the tradition in prior meetings and have vowed to ensure every veteran in the county has a grave marker during the upcoming holiday. Continue reading

Starke County Council Approves Computer Purchases

 Starke County IT Director Joe Short can purchase a new server for the county and update several obsolete computers. The county council recently approved his request to appropriate funds from their county adjusted gross income tax certified shares. He’s replacing an antiquated server and six Windows XP computers he says pose a security risk to the county’s network. Continue reading

Starke County Council Approves Sheriff’s Vehicle Purchases

Starke County Sheriff's Department BadgeStarke County Sheriff Bill Dulin can buy two 2016 Ford Interceptor Utility Vehicles. The county council Monday evening approved the purchase, which will cost slightly more than $70,000. The money will come from the county adjusted gross income tax, or CAGIT, certified shares. The equipment list for both was whittled down significantly due to budgetary constraints. Dulin says new light bars need to be purchased for the SUV’s, as the ones on the existing Dodge Charger patrol cars will not fit.

Starke County Sheriff to Discuss Request for Second K9

starke-county-courthouseStarke County Sheriff Bill Dulin will discuss the acquisition of a second K9 with the county commissioners when they meet this evening. Last year the county bought a dog from the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department after one of their K9 handlers left for personal reasons. K9 Terror is a certified drug and tracking dog and has already assisted with numerous drug-related investigations since joining the force in December. Dulin will also talk to the commissioners about establishing a county inmate road crew, according to the advance agenda for tonight’s meeting. It starts at 6 p.m. at the annex building. Continue reading

Starke County Highway Superintendent Makes Case for Additional Mechanic

starke-county-courthouseStarke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler has the blessing of the county commissioners to seek funds for a third mechanic. Right now the two mechanics maintain 106 county-owned vehicles and pieces of equipment, with top priority given to those used by EMS and the sheriff’s department. Highway vehicles are third on the list, and those used by other departments are fourth. All of the money for repairs comes from the highway department’s budget. The mechanics are also responsible for completing all of the necessary paperwork. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Approve Jail Hiring, Bless Vehicle Purchases

Starke County Sheriff's Department BadgeStarke County Sheriff Bill Dulin will hire two additional part-time jail officers for now in anticipation of the new jail opening in a few months. They may eventually be promoted to full-time once the facility is online and the county is housing more prisoners.

Dulin is also looking to hire a part-time maintenance person for the new jail soon. The position will require quite a bit of technical expertise to handle the state-of-the-art correctional facility. Applications for that job close Friday. Dulin says he’s already gotten a dozen or so resumes. He plans to review them all with the commissioners in an executive session after the application deadline. Continue reading

Starke County Council Hits Pause on Highway Department Pay Scale Request

starke-county-courthouseStarke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler’s request to reorganize the wage scale for truck drivers is on hold for right now. He presented the concept to the county council Monday evening as a way to level the playing field between new hires and experienced employees who have worked for the county for several years. Continue reading

Starke County Officials to Discuss Staffing at New Jail

starke-county-courthouseStarke County Sheriff Bill Dulin will present the amended staffing report for the new jail to the county council and commissioners this evening. The facility east of Knox is scheduled to open in June and will require additional staff to handle the increased inmate capacity. Dulin will present the report to the council during their 5:30 p.m. meeting and to the commissioners when they meet at 6. Both sessions will take place at the county annex building. Continue reading

State Approves Starke County Budgets

starke-county-courthouseThe State Department of Local Government Finance has approved the Starke County General Fund budget as presented. Auditor Kay Chaffins shared that news with the county commissioners Monday evening. She says the 100-percent approval is a testament to the hard work done by the county council and department heads to hold the line on spending. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners Bless Addition of Second Shift Detective

Starke County CommissionersStarke County Sheriff Bill Dulin plans to add a detective sergeant to work second shift Monday through Friday. He told the county commissioners doing so will give the department a third person to respond to calls and will cut down significantly on overtime. Right now any detective calls outside of the day shift incur overtime wages. Continue reading

Starke County Creates Sheriff’s Department Receptionist Position

The Starke County Sheriff’s Department will soon have a receptionist in addition to the full-time matron after action last week by the Starke County Council and Commissioners. Sheriff Bill Dulin sought permission to add an employee to process civil papers, answer the telephone, greet visitors and provide general clerical support to the department. Some of that work has been done by dispatchers in the past, but Dulin advised the council and commissioners the state jail inspector could cut funds to the 911 center if they are caught doing work not that’s not part of their statutory job description. The county council discussed the issue and decided it’s not worth the risk, especially since funds for the new position are already in the sheriff’s budget. Dulin also noted the floor plan for the new jail is different, and 911 center and main entrance are in separate parts of the building. The matron will continue handling sheriff’s sales and processing payroll and claims for the sheriff’s department. Continue reading

Starke County Council, Commissioners Reorganize

Starke County Council members Bob Sims, Jennifer Davis, Pam Stalbaum, Freddie Baker, David Pearman, Bryan Cavender and Brad Hazelton

Starke County Council members Bob Sims, Jennifer Davis, Pam Stalbaum, Freddie Baker, David Pearman, Bryan Cavender and Brad Hazelton

Democrat members of the Starke County Council banded together and elected a new president during a special-called organizational meeting. Freddie Baker replaces Republican Dave Pearman in that role. Councilman Bob Sims nominated Baker, and recently elected Democrat members Jennifer Davis and Pam Stalbaum voted for him. Councilman Bryan Cavender nominated Pearman, but nobody stepped forward to second his motion. Pearman was elected vice-president of the council. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners to Reorganize, Open Courtroom Bids

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners will reorganize and make annual appointments during their first meeting of the year this morning. The agenda for the 10 a.m. session also includes a report on jail operations from Starke County Sheriff Bill Dulin, reports from Starke County EMS and the Starke County Highway Department and discussion of a vehicle for Starke County Coroner Adam Gray. Elisabeth Smith from Purdue Extension will discuss the office contract, and Ron Gifford from the Starke County Economic Development Foundation will share information about the College Success Coalition Program. Other business includes discussion of the county food inspector contract and a report from Starke County Council President Dave Pearman on the Indiana Bicentennial Committee. Continue reading

State Nepotism Law Not Applicable for Starke County Council Officials

A state law aimed at curbing conflicts of interest by prohibiting volunteer firefighters from holding certain elected offices does not apply to Starke County Council members. President Dave Pearman is also an 18 year veteran of the Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department. He sought clarification about the policy when he ran for reelection. Continue reading

Starke County Council Approves Blanket Bond Purchase

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Council has authorized the purchase of a blanket bond to cover the various elected officials. It’s less expensive than purchasing individual bonds for the auditor, recorder, surveyor, sheriff, coroner, assessor and clerk. The county pays about $1,000 per year for the policy from its insurance carrier. Continue reading