Last week, former 12-year Henry County magistrate Scott Bates opened his first regular monthly fiscal court meeting in his new capacity as county judge executive.
Bates began his new term with the fiscal court tradition of the Pledge of Allegiance written 130 years ago then started what might be a new trademark of the Bates’ administration – an opening prayer delivered by a church pastor in the county.
For the inaugural prayer, Bates invited the pastor of his own church, Nick Seniour of the Eminence United Pentecostal Church (Restoration Life Church) to pray, then invited church goers in Henry County to recommend their pastors, who they believe might want to deliver the opening prayer for fiscal court.
Following the opening prayer, Bates dove into the county business at hand, starting with the report about county roads delivered by roads director Kenny Tindle, who acknowledged Bates for his efforts during the Christmas blizzard that brought much of the region to a standstill for a few days: “He was out there, and he worked right alongside the road crew. I wanted to thank him for that.”
In his report, Tindle continued to detail county readiness for road work necessary in the future, including the availability of dump trucks.
“We’re down to two big trucks, dump truck wise,” said Tindle. “So, things are going to be slow until we get that fixed.”
Bates added that multiple issues remain for an additional dump truck in repair, but that he expects the truck eventually to return to the department for use.
Tindle also updated the court about the search for cinders for road treatment use.
“I’ve been working with the Indiana power plant, trying to get them (cinders), but they said they’re done,” Tindle reported.
Tindle said that the price of road salt has increased to $100 per ton with a projected county use level of 500 tons for weather treatment of roads.
Bates said neighboring counties might provide an alternate source for cinders to use instead of salt.
“We may be able to get some of these neighboring counties that they’re wanting to get rid of (cinders),” said Bates.
In fiscal court action related to roads, the magistrates approved Bates’ recommendation to authorize the court roads committee to select the two top candidates from a compiled list of prospective employees to join the county road department this week.
Here are additional fiscal court actions taken last week:
• Promoted Jason Stanley from planning and zoning/ solid waste code enforcement officer to department administrator.
• Approved advertisement for application of a full-time planning and zoning department administrative assistant with a pay scale from $28,000 to $35,000.
Bates also said that he expects to move forward with relocation of the fiscal court meetings to the courthouse for virtual broadcast and online accessibility for county residents and others who want to view upcoming fiscal court meetings.