“Bills are out and we are really busy right now,” Monroe County treasurer Jessica McClellan told the Square Beacon on Wednesday.
That means property owners are sending in the taxes they owe, in response to the bills that were due to be sent out a week ago. The deadline for spring tax bills is Monday, May 10.
Property tax season also explains the drop box that’s been placed just to the side of the north entrance of the Monroe County courthouse. The courthouse building is still closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
County clerk Nicole Browne has said during the run-up to Election Day this year that results might not be available Tuesday night.
That’s due in part to the fact that mail-in absentee ballots can’t be removed from their envelopes until Election Day. Around 15,000 ballots were sent to voters who requested them. Of those, as of two days ago, close to 14,000 ballots had been sent in.
By way of comparison, for the June 2, primary elections, about 17,500 people voted by mail. That was a number big enough that it pushed local results to the following day.
For the primary election, just seven polling sites were used. For the general election today, voters cast ballots at 28 different polling sites. That’s four times as many reports from polling sites that need to be processed, compared to the primary.
For today’s general election, two races have registered write-in candidates—for county commissioner and for at-large county council. The scanners can tell which ballots had someone’s name written in and they are segregated into a set for review by human eyeballs. But reviewing them one at a time is a necessary step, to ensure that just those write-in votes are counted for the candidates who registered.
The raw number of total ballots is also expected to be greater than in the primary. In 2016, about 60,000 people voted in Monroe County, which was about twice the 27,000 people who voted in this year’s primaries.
Sometime before December, the 44 sworn officers under the Monroe County sheriff will start taking monthly training on policies they’re supposed to follow.
They’ll also get regular testing on the policies, according to Monroe County sheriff Brad Swain.
On Wednesday morning, county sheriff Brad Swain described the training and policy management program to county commissioners this way: “It will be as much a part of their work week as making sure their car is safe and all their equipment is good.”
The #8CANTWAIT policies require that law enforcement agencies: ban chokeholds; require de-escalation; require warning before shooting; require exhaustion of all alternatives before shooting; impose a duty to intervene; ban shooting at moving vehicles; require use of force continuum; require comprehensive reporting.
A committee of the Monroe County tax council voted Tuesday morning against a recommendation to allocate $353,700 of public safety income tax money to support requests made by four rural fire departments in the county.
The potential direct allocation of funds to the fire departments would have made up about 4.5 percent of the $7.8 million that the committee was using as a conservative estimate for the total amount it could allocate for 2021.
The distribution of local income tax revenues for 2021 is based on 2019 income tax filings, which have been delayed because of relaxed deadlines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The vote on the seven-member PS-LIT (public safety local income tax) committee was 2–5 for the direct allocation of the funds to the Monroe County Fire Protection District, and fire departments serving Richland, Bean Blossom, and Benton townships.
The tally flipped to 5–2 for the committee’s vote on its recommended allocations for 2021 public safety income tax revenue.
The dispatch center—which is a public safety answering point (PSAP)—is recommended to receive its requested budget of $2,247,490.
Sunday’s noon update of the State of Indiana’s COVID-19 dashboard showed no additional COVID-19 deaths in Monroe County. That’s two days shy of a month since the county’s last COVID-19 death was recorded, on June 21.
But the dashboard showed that a recent surge in positive cases continues unabated. More than two dozen cases each day were logged on Friday and Saturday.
The previous high had been 18 cases. That brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Monroe County to 472.
Monroe County prosecutor Erika Oliphant has now received the investigative reports from Indiana Department of Natural resources about a case described in a press release late Wednesday afternoon as “an incident that took place in the forest near Lake Monroe on July 4, 2020.”
Ten days earlier, Bloomington activist Vauhxx Booker had described himself in a Facebook post as “almost the victim of an attempted lynching.”