Sheriff gets raise, others get vehicles

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County to get $59,000 in riverboat funding in August

Managing Editor

TELL CITY – The Perry County Council approved in a regular meeting June 27 a raise for County Sheriff Lee Chestnut and voted to fund some vehicle costs. 

The sheriff’s pay is, by law, tied to that of the county prosecutor, Chestnut explained, and that state-paid official was given a raise. 

The Indiana Code specifies that for a county with fewer than 20,000 residents, “the county must pay the sheriff an annual salary that is equal to at least 50 percent of the annual minimum salary that would be paid by the state to a full-time prosecuting attorney in the county.”

The council approved a sheriff’s salary of $67,290 for 2013.

Chestnut’s pay would remain at the minimum allowed, he said. The council approved a transfer of $935 from a third-officer line item in the county budget to one for sheriff’s salary to fund the raise for the remainder of this year. 

They also voted to amend the county’s salary ordinance to reflect the change, which County Auditor Connie Berger said would increase his paychecks every two weeks by $77.53 beginning July 1. 

Chestnut said the raise would trigger no need to appropriate additional money. 

Adam Tempel, the county’s parks and recreation director, explained another transfer, $200 from recreational programs to equipment repairs within his department’s budget, was needed to repair brakes on a truck. The council approved his request.

They also approved a $211 additional appropriation from the county’s sex and violent offenders fund to pay for wireless Internet service.

Saying the council members were aware of the plan, Council President Steve Goodson moved to the next agenda item, the purchase of a vehicle by County Highway Superintendent Ed Feix from another county department.

“Eddie is buying Steve’s vehicle for $15,000,” Goodson said, referring to Steve Hauser, director of emergency management. “Steve is going to purchase a new vehicle, and we need $18,000 to cover the rest of the purchase price

“$18,535,” Hauser said more specifically.

Goodson said he’d hoped the council could wait for riverboat revenues to arrive, but “we’re putting him off six weeks, and I don’t think that’s a good idea.” He hoped the council would approve a motion of intent that would go into effect in July, he added.

A vehicle Feix drives would go back into the county fleet, Hauser said, and “he would be purchasing the ’08 Expedition … that I currently drive.” The motion of intent would allow him to lock in a price on the new vehicle. “We would be saving right around $1,400 at this point … versus waiting about 10 days.”

Berger said she received a message earlier in the day saying she could expect “just a little over $59,000” in state riverboat funding in mid-August. The money is distributed among counties that don’t have gambling facilities.

The vehicle Feix has been using doesn’t accommodate three adults, he said, making it difficult when several people have to attend a meeting, for example. Two crew pickup trucks used in his department provided savings over other vehicles, but were “an ’84 and an ’88 that just literally wore out,” he explained. Taking Hauser’s vehicle would help him avoid a $40,000 cost and he could put his own back into the fleet.

The council approved the motion of intent unanimously.

Berger informed the council it will need to appoint at its July meeting one of its members to a steering committee developed after the county commissioners adopted a plan to implement requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.