Stores are getting ready for Christmas. Strack and Van Til has its Christmas trees stocked and the city has installed the street decorations.
The County Council had a short agenda but the meeting still lasted more than an hour. After approving minutes for October, the Council heard Judge Ahler's request for an additional appropriation to pay for new court recorders. His request for an additional court recorder had been granted by the Commissioners (his long-time recorder had taken another job and training people for the job takes time, which is why he wanted a second person) but the funds were not in the budget. He could have asked to transfer money from another part of his budget but wanted to be clear to the Council about what was happening. The request was granted.
The sheriff requested additional money for part-time court house security and for jail utilities and both were granted. He noted that the recent work on the heating and cooling system at the jail had reduced its utility bill by $30K to $35K per year but that the jail population was in the 80s and that resulted in more water usage. There was a short discussion about the drug problem in the county. He said that heroin is now a bigger problem than meth. He mentioned Vivitrol as a possible help but noted that the treatment was quite expensive. He ended with a little rant about how government programs to fight the problem seem to quickly get bogged down in collecting statistics and paperwork.
The Council approved a salary adjustment for the assessor and approved an additional appropriation of $140 for the Drainage Board. It passed a series of mostly small transfers for a variety of departments (one was for $16) and reappointed a person to the Remington Carpenter Township Library Board. It approved a meeting schedule for 2017. The Council will meet on the third Tuesday of the month except in July (the 11th) and October (the 24th). The auditor noted that the State had completed its audit of the County for 2014. Mr. Bontreger reported on a conference call from Standard and Poor about the refinancing of the jail. The County has a very good bond rating, either AA or AA+. Gary Fritts had found a document at the state website detailing how property taxes would be changing and said that people who own homes in Jasper County may see a slight increase.
Jasper is now on the second floor of the Court House.