County Council Discusses Job Description Change for Position at Highway Department

Marshall County Commissioner Kurt Garner presented the county council members Monday morning with a proposed job description change pertaining to the highway administrator’s position.

Garner explained it is the thought to change the highway administrator’s position to a county engineer/director position. The highway administrator’s position will become vacant at the end of the year with the retirement of Laurie Baker on Dec. 29. Garner said the addition of an engineer to the highway department would be beneficial.

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Marshall County Commissioners Consider E-Gov Contract

The Marshall County Commissioners discussed an E-gov contract with IT Director Michael Marshall last week.

Marshall presented the contract at a previous meeting which calls for a contract with E-gov out of Indianapolis for web hosting and web design. He said they have the skills necessary to produce a user-friendly county website and give it a fresh look. Marshall said he would still be responsible for content.

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EMA Director Successful in Obtaining Grants

Marshall County Emergency Management Agency Director Clyde Avery told the county commissioners this week that he was successful in obtaining two grants.

“We did receive the grant agreement that has been signed and returned to the state so we’re waiting for their signatures and then we’ll have fully executed agreements for both the EMPG competitive grant, which is a $5,000 grant we’re going to use to conduct the table top exercise next year,” said Avery. “We also received the $3,000 grant that we will be using to provide ICS 300 and ICS 400 classes for the county.”

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Haeck Court Hearing Continued

A hearing to consider a motion to return restitution in the case of former Marshall County Highway Superintendent Neal Haeck has been continued until Thursday, Jan. 4.

Marshall County Prosecutor Nelson Chipman told MAX 98.3 FM News that Marshall County Superior Court No. 1 Judge Robert O. Bowen was unable to be in court on Thursday for the 9 a.m. hearing so it was continued. Prosecutor Chipman said it’s preferred that Judge Bowen preside over this hearing.

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Marshall County to Join National Opioid Litigation

Marshall County will join an Indianapolis firm in pursuing a multi-district, federal litigation against the opioid manufacturers and distributors of highly addictive prescription medications.

The Marshall County Commissioners discussed the issue in detail in an executive session in November. During their regular business meeting on Monday morning, Commissioner Mike Delp asked about fees to be collected by the firm Cohen and Malad. The firm handling the case would collect 33.3% in attorney fees and any expenses incurred in the event of a recovery. The expenses will be shared with all clients in the litigation process.

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Commissioners Review Floor Maintenance Contract

The Marshall County Commissioners went a different route when discussing the floor maintenance contract Monday morning.

The commissioners received several bids for floor cleaning as the work is usually done on a contractural basis. Maintenance Director Doug Masterson is under contract now for $850 a month, or $10,200 a year, which is above his full-time position with the county.

Commissioner Mike Delp asked Consultant Kent Irwin of Waggoner, Irwin and Scheele about the practice of a county employee doing work for the county as an independent contractor and receive 1099 wages to perform similar duties.

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Commissioners Approve Readings on Three Ordinances

Marshall County Commissioners (L to R) Mike Delp, Kevin Overmyer, Kurt Garner

The Marshall County Commissioners held a public hearing Monday morning concerning an ordinance amendment that makes changes to side yard fences in certain zones.

The ordinance changes the side yard fence height to “six feet in height and must be of uniform, color and style construction materials.” The ordinance amendment pertains to L-1, T-1, C-1, C-2, and industrial districts. Agricultural districts are excluded.

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Commissioners Get Update on Branding Marshall County

A concept of branding Marshall County was presented to the commissioners Monday morning.

Lou Pierce from the Big Idea Company out of Mishawaka presented the findings of members of Branding Marshall County in three meetings held in Bremen, Culver and at Ancilla College. He said Marshall County needs to stand out in a relevant way to promote what Marshall County has to offer.

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Marshall County Commissioners Wait to Make Restitution Decision

The Marshall County Commissioners will wait to make a decision on whether or not restitution will be paid to former Highway Superintendent Neal Haeck.

Haeck was accused of stealing money from the sale of scrap metal while acting in his position held in the county in 2012 and 2013. Haeck maintained his innocence from the time he was accused of the action in 2014, but he was found guilty on one count of theft during a two-day trial in March of 2016. He was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $12,358.41, which was paid in full to the county, plus court costs and fines. Continue reading

Marshall County Commissioners to Meet Today

Marshall County Commissioners (L to R) Mike Delp, Kevin Overmyer, Kurt Garner

The Marshall County Commissioners will meet today.

County Highway Supervisor Jason Peters and Highway Administrator Laurie Baker will be before the commissioners for a report as well as information from CHA Design Construction Solutions. Pam Davis will present information on the effort to brand Marshall County and EMA Director Clyde Avery will provide his quarterly report as well as a strategic plan.

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Marshall County Commissioners Approve GIS Request

Jason Durr from the Christopher Burke Engineering firm in South Bend requested GIS information on behalf of the Kankakee River Basin Commission.

Durr told the Marshall County Commissioners last week that the information will be used as a preliminary evaluation on basin assessment areas. He requested parcel data for the whole county, but the parcels directly affected by the Kankakee River Basin Commission may only be analyzed.

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Information Tidbits from the Marshall County Commissioners

The Marshall County Commissioners discussed a few items Monday.

Highway Superintendent Jason Peters will work with a property owner on 2B Road concerning a drainage issue off the road. An investigation will be held into who is responsible for replacing the tile in that area as it appears to have failed. Further discussion will be held during the commissioners’ next meeting on Monday, Dec. 4.

The commissioners approved a grant request from Marshall County Community Corrections Director Ward Byers to apply for grant funds for Fiscal Year 2019. He said the budget of around $403,100 is for the jail treatment program, community corrections and the prosecutor’s felony diversion program. The council also previously approved this request.

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Marshall County Commissioners Consider Zoning Request

The Marshall County Commissioners considered a zoning ordinance amendment to change the zoning from an agricultural to a commercial zone at 12131 U.S. 6 adjacent to the La Paz Sewer Plant.

Marshall County Plan Director Ralph Booker said the property is located just south of U.S. 6 and west of U.S. 31 owned by Donald Abbott.

Marshall County Economic Development Corporation Director and CEO Jerry Chavez said this is a step in an economic strategic plan by La Paz officials. The town council there could decide to annex that property for tax purposes some time down the line.

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Marshall County REMC Officials Update Commissioners on Improving Communications

Communication upgrades are coming down the line for Marshall County REMC members.

REMC officials told the county commissioners on Monday morning that they are making efforts to bring fiber optic cable to the meter points at their substations so they can do automated switching and voltage reads in a more secure, quicker fashion. This will also increase the time in meter reading.

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Marshall County Commissioners to Discuss Haeck, Opioid Litigation Matters in Executive Session

Marshall County Attorney Jim Clevenger notified the commissioners on Monday morning that former Highway Superintendent Neal Haeck filed a motion recently for the return of his restitution.

Haeck was accused of stealing money from the sale of scrap metal while acting in his position held in the county in 2012 and 2013. Haeck maintained his innocence throughout the time he was accused of the action in 2014 and during his subsequent trial. He was found guilty on one count of theft during a two-day trial in March of 2016 in the matter. He was sentenced to serve one year on home detention and complete 200 hours of community service. Two years of his sentence was suspended with reporting probation. He was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $12,358.41, which was paid in full to the county, plus court costs and fines. Continue reading

Highway Administrator Job Opening to be Advertised

The Marshall County Commissioners took action Monday morning to advertise the open position of Marshall County Highway Administrator.

Laurie Baker announced her resignation from the position earlier this month. Her last day will be Dec. 29.

Commissioner Kurt Garner said he read the job description and noticed that the candidate could hold an engineer’s license. Commissioner Kevin Overmyer and Commissioner Mike Delp both agreed that hiring an engineer is not necessary.

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Marshall County Golf Ordinance Will Not Change

The Marshall County Commissioners decided keep the requirement in the current golf cart ordinance that requires them to be operated only on roads that have a 35 mph speed limit or less.

Michelle Bachtel and her husband previously asked the commissioners to rescind the speed limit requirement and allow them to be driven on all roads. During that same meeting, the commissioners discussed that the speed limit was included in the ordinance for safety purposes. The initial thought was to keep the slow moving vehicles off of roads that have increased speed as a safety precaution.

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