COLUMBIA CITY — The Whitley County Council considered several items at its latest meeting, including those from the sheriff’s department and the county commissioners.

First to be discussed was a pension plan request made by Whitley County Sheriff Marcus Gatton. He requested a special plan be implemented which would allow officers to retire early at the age of 50 and with 20 years of service.

He suggested the plan be paid out of LOIT (Local Option Income Tax).

“Law enforcement is a difficult career,” acknowledged Gatton. With this, he hoped by offering the special retirement longer serving deputies would have the chance to retire early. Gatton also said it might be something to help entice workers to the county and added other counties were implementing a similar option.

The council ultimately voted not to approve the request in a vote of 5-1-1.

Councilman Jim Argerbright said he looked at the packages provided by the department and felt they were “pretty nice.”

Councilman John Barrett was not in attendance, but Council President Thor Hodges reported Barrett had requested he let the council know he would support a plan at 50 years of age and 25 years of service. Hodges ended the presentation by suggesting that the plan was still something that could be worked through for future discussion.

Commissioner Theresa Green shared with the council that there is still forward motion toward a new jail for the county. She shared that a property purchase in Armstrong Park was nearing completion.

“It (a new jail) is something that is desperately needed, “ she said. “We should see quite a bit of movement this year.”

She added that the commissioners would be considering an architect who will have a final design at an upcoming meeting.

Green also reported details are still being worked out regarding providing fiber internet to county residents.

The quote, which came back from the same provider for Warsaw, is estimated at a cost of several million dollars with a more solid number to come at a later date.

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