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Letters Published in July 11, 2007 Issue
July 11, 2007 - Letter submitted by Brenda Chapple, Knightstown
Wow! If you were not at Boondocks Farms on June 30, you missed a great event. We had wonderful weather, picnic tables covered for shade and free rides to save a long walk from cars to where you want to go. There were also hayrides with absolutely gorgeous horses, parachute jumpers who flew in with American and POW/MIA flags, and one other flag, and two hot air balloons went up.
There was great gospel music, including some with the chaplain from the Indianapolis Colts and one of the team's linebackers, who sang songs they wrote. They were wonderful.
Our Tony Huffman was there, and a police officer gave a heart touching speech on him and all he had gone through to keep us safe. Tony talked about what all police officers go through every day and night with their lives because they love us.
This was a great day for the military. They all got in free and were acknowledged and honored for being there to keep our country safe for us.
It was fabulous that top people from the Colts and others were on the stage witnessing their love for the Lord. I love living in a country where we can freely do this.
It all ended with lots and lots and lots of beautiful fireworks. Hope to see you there next year.
July 11, 2007 - Letter submitted by John and Betty Hall (and Lizzie and Harley, too), Knightstown
Thank you to the Knightstown Volunteer Fire Department, our neighbors and friends, who responded so quickly to keep our home, our neighbors' homes and pets safe when our garage burned this past Friday.
July 11, 2007 - Letter submitted by Nate LaMar, Henry County Councilman
Well-known as the architectural capital of Indiana, Columbus is less-known for its annual Ethnic Expo and Scottish Festival, and for its well-developed "People Trails" network throughout the city. This progressive city, the size of Richmond, was an appropriate venue for the 2007 conference of the Indiana Association of County Councils (IACC).
Progressive thinking is necessary in this era of strained budgets at all levels of government. Among the speakers at the conference was David Bottorff, Executive Director of the Association of Indiana Counties (AIC). He stated that county governments must at least consider Indiana Code (IC) 36-1.5, which provides broad latitude for reorganization. He stated that there is nothing in Indiana's Constitution preventing County Commissioners from dissolving themselves as a part-time body and hiring a full-time, professional County Executive. After all, many cities throughout the nation have an appointed City Manager, rather than an elected Mayor. From my own research, I know that the executive branch of government at the county level in Kentucky consists of one person: an elected, full-time Judge/Executive. I have also learned that Michigan and Minnesota combine the roles of Indiana's three-member County Commissioners and seven-member County Council into one, part-time, five-member body responsible for executive, legislative, and fiscal decisions in each county. Bottorff also stated that offices other than the five constitutional offices (Auditor, Clerk, Recorder, Sheriff, Treasurer) could be combined. He stated that counties may soon be able to impose educational requirements for certain offices, such as the state legislature recently adopted for Coroners and Assessors.
Bottorff explained that per IC36-1.5-4-4, a reorganized political subdivision may: 1) adjust any of its boundaries; 2) establish a joint service area with another political subdivision (i.e. - two or more townships forming one fire department; Monroe Central and Union School Corporations sharing one superintendent; etc.); 3) transfer functions of an office to another office; 4) provide for a legislative, executive, or fiscal body of the reorganized political subdivision to exercise the powers of a legislative, executive or fiscal body of a reorganizing political subdivision (see Milford example below); and 5) change the name of the political subdivision or select a new name. Small towns may even decide to "unincorporate," so that the county may take over maintenance of the town's roads and streets, etc., after auctioning off the town's assets. This was the case with Milford (population 130) in Decatur County, whose town board has voted to dissolve itself effective August 4, 2007.
In Part II, I will review two important pieces of legislation most directly affecting counties, which were signed into law by Governor Daniels this legislative session.
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