Seven weeks into his first term, Kosciusko County Sheriff Kyle Dukes invited county council members, as well as the county commissioners, to tour the sheriff’s office and jail to see for themselves the changes implemented since the first of the year.

The invitation came during Thursday night’s county council meeting.

“We’ve really been working hard, and I’d like for you to see all the changes we’ve implemented,” said Dukes. “I want you to smell the jail. It’s clean!”

Council President Sue Ann Mitchell said she would consult with fellow council members as well as the commissioners to set up a time for as many as possible to take the tour.

Dukes also told the council the jail population has been reduced to 294. He attributed the reduction to working with the prosecutor’s office to get some sentences reduced, where appropriate, and reversing some sentences with the state’s Department of Corrections. In some cases, a convict will have a sentence that involves time in the county as well as the DOC. In the past, the county time has been served first; Dukes said they’ve reversed the process so that county time is served after the DOC time.

Dukes and others recently met with Dearborn County officials regarding the Jail Chemical Addiction Program. The sheriff said one thing he learned from the session is that those participating in the program need to be housed separately from the general population, and he’s looking at different ways to accomplish that so JCAP can be expanded in the county jail.

County Highway Superintendent Scott Tilden asked the council for guidance in arranging finances to replace a truck totaled in a Jan. 22 rollover accident. The vehicle was a 2001 Sterling truck, and the county settled with its insurance company for $14,000 and kept the truck for parts.

The settlement is about 10 percent of the cost of a new truck, and Tilden expressed concern about being short a truck for the 2019-20 snow plowing season. After some discussion, the council agreed to work with Tilden to find the money in other accounts, and perhaps to cover the balance with an additional appropriation.

Tilden also announced federal funding arrived last week that will pay 80 percent of the cost of replacing Bridge 161 on CR 200S. The $777,440 will go toward construction and inspection cost. The county has budgeted the remainder of the cost.

In other business, the council:

• Approved a $1,218.77 insurance reimbursement for the sheriff’s department after a deputy struck a deer with a department vehicle on Dec. 15.

• Added funds for a pair of deputy assessor’s salaries.

• Moved funds to pay personnel who will be working in the new Superior courtroom, currently under construction.

• Altered funds to allow county building maintenance workers to go from part-time to full-time employees.

• Authorized a $4,569.35 additional appropriation for a court interpreter.

• Backed additional appropriations related to the teen court, and an accounting procedure that combines accounts for part-time employee salaries in the prosecutor’s office into a single account.

• Heard an update on the marketing plans and expenditures from Jill Boggs, executive director of the Kosciusko County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The next county council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 14 at the county courthouse.