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Commission aims to improve business park infrastructure

WINFIELD -- Putnam County commissioners voted to have a public hearing to make a portion of the Putnam Business Park a special tax district.

With state government approval, local officials can define certain areas as tax increment financing districts and steer the revenue resulting from increased property assessments within the boundaries to development projects.  

"This TIF district is to extend utilities where we don't have any now," Commission President Joe Haynes said after Tuesday's commission meeting.

The commission will decide at its March 26 meeting whether to send the application to the state Development Office.

The commission also received budget requests from county offices for the fiscal year that starts July 1.  

"Most of the requests were pretty reasonable," Haynes said. "We've always worked cooperatively between departments. When times are tough, we tighten our belt."

All departments seek increases for costs such as health and pension benefits and cost-of-living pay increases for their employees.

Commissioner Steve Andes said officials would like to give raises to county employees if the budget permits.

"We've had low turnover recently, and we would like to keep it that way," he said.

Sheriff Steve Deweese requested an increase of about $263,000 for his four divisions - law enforcement, tax collection, home confinement and process serving. Among other requests, he is seeking wireless access for his employees who must travel to rural areas so

they can access office resources.  

Parks and Recreation Director Scott Williamson requested a $121,000 increase, citing various parks expansion and improvement costs for the wave pool area.

Circuit Clerk Ronnie Matthews requested a $45,000 net increase in his budget because his office is busier and the cases being filed are larger.

His proposed changes would eliminate a current part-time position but add two full-time employees with benefits.

Prosecuting Attorney Mark Sorsaia requested an increase of $800 for office supplies.

The commission also voted to close an unused road that runs through land owned by Scott Depot Christ Fellowship Inc. so the church can add various improvements.

The road to be closed goes to AEP-donated properties that no longer need access. The closing would not affect abutting properties.




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