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COUNTY COMMISSION NEWS: Commission Hears Requests, Budget Deadline March 29

Putnam’s elected officials presented proposed budgets for their offices for the upcoming fiscal year to the county commission on Tuesday, March 12th.

Every official asked the commission to approve wage increases for their employees. Assessor Gary Warner, Circuit Clerk Stephanie Smith, and Prosecuting Attorney Kris Raynes asked for 5% increases for their staffs. Sheriff Bobby Eggleton requested 5% for law enforcement employees and 7% for those in the tax division. Eggleton stated that wage increases for tax division employees have not kept pace with those in law enforcement. County Clerk Brian Wood asked for 10% increases for his employees and funding for a new position. Wood said the workload has increased as Putnam County has grown but that his staff has not increased. The additional employee will raise his staff number to the same as it was 20 years ago when he first took office.

Sheriff Eggleton’s budget included funding for five vehicle purchases which would be stretched out over the fiscal year. One vehicle would be used for undercover operations related to drug trafficking and would be funded by money from the opioid settlement which the county has received.

Prosecuting Attorney Raynes’ budget also included capital outlay increase to cover cost of creating a “soft interview room” to ensure the emotional safety of child abuse and sexual abuse victims. The Prosecutor’s annual budget is $1.2 million.

The commission has until March 29th to submit its final budget to the State Auditor for all departments and agencies.

In other business, the commission received an update on the Jim Ridge Waterline Extension Project. Jim Nagy of Terradon stated that construction of the Bowles Ridge section of the project was complete and pressure testing would begin the week of March 18. Nagy said that the Mud Lick extension is expected to be complete by mid May.

Nagy was questioned as to why Riffee Ridge residents were not included in the Jim Ridge extension. Nagy said that water pressure was the issue. The cost of extending the line 8,500 feet and a booster station installation would cost about $600,000 to serve eight homes.

In response to a dilapidated structure complaint, the commission voted to condemn all structures located at 425 Circle Drive in Nitro and take bids for demolition and site cleanup. The action came after receiving word from the Health Department and Sheriff that the structures were not habitable and were beyond repair. A lien will be placed upon the property such that the cost of the cleanup can be recovered at such time the property is sold.

The commission appointed Sara Steorts to the Putnam County Planning Commission to a 3-year term.

The next commission regular meeting will be March 26 at 5:00 p.m.

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