Franklin County Commissioners revisited a building standards ordinance it had recently approved, but not acted on, at its Oct. 5 meeting.

Commission president Tom Linkel explained the development and construction standards ordinance they had passed previously was never forwarded on to Franklin County Area Planning (APC), the county's zoning authority. The standards had been developed by county surveyor Rob Seig to modernize building requirements and encourage economic development in the community.

In addition to not sending the ordinance to the APC, the ordinance passed by the commissioners was not the finalized document, but merely a draft from county legal counsel Grant Reeves that was never revised.

Meeting minutes from the commissioners' July 13 meeting show Reeves recommended commissioners adopt the ordinance to be effective in 30 days and suggested cleaning up some of the wording in the document.

Commissioners asked county highway engineer Larry Smith to complete the revisions for review at the July 27 meeting; commissioners then proceeded to vote on and approve the ordinance, to be effective in 30 days.

Commissioner Tom Wilson made a motion to rescind the July 13 ordinance, Ordinance 2021-11, and move to adopt the new construction standards as Ordinance 2021-13.

County auditor Karla Bauman asked if the ordinance references chapters for the text that are still under progress, an error she had noted when reviewing a previous draft of the document. Seig acknowledged the issue, explaining he included the reference with the expectation of completing the later chapters. Wilson amended his motion to strike the reference, commissioner Gerald Wendel seconded the motion and Linkel joined in approval.

“We'll pass this on to area planning and we'll figure out some way for this to be on our website so everybody can visit it … it needs to be accessible for everyone in the county,” said Linkel.

Also discussed:
-Commissioners passed a resolution to deal with scheduling issues for the county's employees. The resolution specifies specific work week periods for the departments under the sheriff that operate around the clock.

-Commissioners approved a contract renewal for Malcon Indiana Consulting. Malcon was contracted by commissioners to handle a fuel tax rebate program through the State of Indiana with returns exceeding the cost of the contract.

-The Franklin County Health Department offered an update on COVID-19 in the community, reporting 85 new cases in the last week. Franklin County remains one of only a handful of counties in the “Red Advisory Level” according to the Indiana State Department of Health.

-Wilson inquired if the county can draw interest on the county's funds received through the American Recovery Plan Act. Bauman replied it can and is collecting interest. Unlike the ARP funds, the interest can be deposited into the county's general fund with no restrictions.

-Reservoir Road resident Marty Hacker asked commissioners if they have seen a map of the planned annexation. Wilson replied they were shown an early map a couple of years ago. Hacker noted the commissioners had voiced their support for a voluntary annexation, if it was supported by the impacted residents. Hacker explained because enough support has not been received from the area's residents, property owners in favor of the annexation are now subdividing their land in order to gain enough supporting parcels to form a pro-annexation majority.

“That's my question to you guys, if the people don't want it, are you still going to support it?” asked Hacker.

“That's a tough one,” replied Linkel.