After hearing the recommendation of the human resources (HR) committee, LaGrange County Council members voted to increase the wages of two county employees for 2012. The hourly rate for the maintenance person at the county jail will be increased from $17 an hour to $20 per hour. An assistant I-dac coordinator’s hourly wage at the 911 communication center will increase from $16 per hour to $17.21 per hour.
An appropriation from a Soil and Water Conservation District grant was made to allow for an Inter Cooperative Education (ICE) student to continue employment until the end of the school year. The ICE student’s hourly rate will remain at $7.25 per hour. An appropriation was also made to fund the position of clearing house coordinator, a 25-hour a week position, at a rate of $8.50 per hour.
Other housekeeping details attended to in the Monday meeting included closing a grant account for the parks department of some $1,610. The account has been dormant since 2008. This money will be transferred to the Adventure Bound account within the parks department budget.
Two other funds, dormant since 2007, were also closed. An abandoned vehicle fund of $1,624 and an unsafe building fund of $824 were closed and the money placed in the general fund.
Numbers of transfers within budgets were also approved.
Dr. Rhonda Sharp, chair of the county health board, addressed the council concerning appropriations from a tobacco cessation grant. “There is money available for education to urge people to stop using tobacco products,” she said. The grant fund now totals some $200,000. Sharp asked that the issue be tabled until the February council meeting and her request was granted.
Sheriff Terry Martin suggested that the council consider consolidating the jail and sheriff’s budgets. “It can be done. I’ve checked it out with both the State Board of Accounts and the Department of Local Government Finance, and they both say it’s up to you (the council),” he said.
Martin said that combining the budgets would simplify things for both the county auditor and sheriff.