Lawrence County Council Hears About Several Grant Awards Tuesday Night

(LAWRENCE CO.) – Judge Nathan Nikirk was able to bring good news to the Lawrence County Council Tuesday evening.

The Lawrence County Council was informed by Judge Nikirk that the county was awarded $102,284.73 for COVID-19 relief from the Indiana Justice Institute. At this time they are unsure how that money will be used.

Also, the Lawrence County Council approved a line item for the Cares Act Grant that was awarded to the county in the amount of $1,481,642. Part of that money may be used for a recording system for the county courts.

Judge Nathan Nikirk informed the courts that the Windows 10 upgrade for the court system is not compatible with the older recording system. Therefore, computers and new recording system will have to be purchased.

“This is an emergency. If the system should go down there is no way to back up recordings for our courts,” stated Nikirk.

The cost of the upgrade will be approximately $32,000 and part of the CARES Act or another grant through the Supreme Court of Indiana may be used to cover the costs at no cost to the county.

The Lawrence County Council also approved the memorandum of understanding that the $424,000 CASA grant will be only used for the life of the grant. Any new hires will understand that once the grant ends so does the position hired from that grant.

In other business:

  • Approved Veterans¬†Service Officer Brad Bough’s request for transfer of $1,192
  • Approved Highway Superintendent David Holmes’s request for an appropriation of grant funding of $104,550 for sign replacements in Districts 2 and 3.
  • Approved Surveyor Corey Allen’s request for digital plat books of cost of $2,675. A four-year contract will have an annual cost of approximately $4,400 a year. This will replace the county plat books and move the county into the digital age. The public will possibly have public access but not at this time.
  • Approved Community Corrections Director Chad Shew’s request for $3,829 expenditure from the discretionary fund.
  • Approved Sheriff Mike Branham’s request to hire a dispatcher to replace a dispatcher that was hired as road officer.
  • Tabled Assessor April Collins’s request to hire an employee was tabled.

Judge William Sleva’s request to pay vacation time to salary employees and pay an architect for a new design of the proposed auxiliary courtroom was tabled by council members. Judge Sleva indicated again he may use a mandate for the payment of both requests. Sleva stated that the commissioners and county attorney met and agreed on a smaller version of the proposed auxiliary courtroom. Design work and plans will incorporate the smaller version.

A line item for the auxiliary courtroom was approved by the county council during last month’s council meeting. However, county commissioners have tabled the construction of the new courtroom due to questions on costs and future use of the space at the Courthouse Plaza.

Sheriff’s Branham’s inmate counts:

  • 154 – Inmates
  • 128 – Males
  • 26 – Females
  • 3 – Level-6 Felons
  • 14 – Department of Correction
  • 2 – Parole
Jim Edwards

This meeting will mark the end of 28 years Lawrence County Council member Jim Edwards has served on the council. He was congratulated by the other members on his service to the county.