The Board of Commissioners works as a team so collaboration is key. Julie took a leading role on the following:

Criminal Justice Complex It has been a long time coming, and plans are proceeding – but only after community meetings, investigations of jails in other states, a review committee, and expert consultation. The next tasks are to select the site, design the complex, and build the facility. This deliberative process will continue to include stakeholder voices, as the complex will serve Monroe County for many years in the future. The community, social services agencies, elected officials, and staff will all have an important role in developing this project which will impact the community for decades to come. We need to reduce recidivism and ensure that we address substance use disorder and other mental health needs in our community.

Annexation: Numerous county residents (including those in the city) were unhappy with the last administration’s annexation plan – which would have increased the size of the city by more than 50%. Julie heard from residents across the county (including many city residents) and worked with them to organize the remonstration effort. The Commissioners ensured that a clear and accurate report on the fiscal impact of annexation for property owners was developed and delivered to residents in listening sessions with the public. As a member of the board of directors for CRAA (County Residents Against Annexation), Julie’s efforts to support residents in the fight against annexation continues.

Stewardship of Federal Investments: American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding has been utilized for environmental projects (solar array), infrastructure (roads and drainage), childcare, food, and housing. The community helped shape these projects. For example, we heard from residents in residential developments that needed repaving projects. This once-in-a-generation funding opportunity has been utilized to address the needs of Monroe County residents and will serve this community for decades to come. Some of these projects include:

  • Emergency Response Services Julie recognized that there were an insufficient number of ambulances in the county and worked with the Monroe County Fire Protection District and her county colleagues to create an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) project to develop an auxiliary ambulance service. These new ambulances will help protect the lives of county residents and save money that will have a long-term impact on the community.
  • Rural Housing Repairs: Low- and moderate-income residents throughout the community have housing needs, including basic repair. With the continuing support of county colleagues, we led the rural-housing repair project, helping those residents to stay in their homes and to fix them.
  • Environmental resiliency Julie led the initiative to invest more than $1M of ARPA funds in the installation of additional solar arrays, which have both environmental and economic benefits for county residents. There will be an estimated reduction of more than 10 million pounds of coal burned over 30 years as a result, not to mention the cost savings to taxpayers. A reduction in fuel and repair costs will be realized as we transition to our next fleet of vehicles (electric and electric-gas hybrid).
  • Rural Transit Rural Transit was notified that they can no longer serve the more densely populated areas of the county. It was vital to address the needs of county residents – who rely on transit for medical appointments, work, and other key needs. Rural Transit created a subsidiary organization to provide a seamless transit experience for county residents. In addition to the electric buses purchased with ARPA funds, Julie worked with Ellettsville to share the cost for the provision of services. There is more work to do, however, as a long-term solution is needed.
  • Addressing Food Insecurity, the Unhoused, and Childcare needs With a number of funding initiatives related to the provision of food (Hoosier Hills Food Bank and Pantry 279), Julie also took the initiative to volunteer her time at the food bank – delivering food during Fresh Food Fridays – and also volunteered her time at the Book Fair. Food insecurity and deserts are important issues our county must address. Coupled with investments in Heading Home and Beacon and a number of childcare initiatives, these programs address core community needs.

Convention and Civic Center The project was widely debated and stalled by the pandemic. Through tireless negotiation, the Capital Improvement Board was created and the project has been launched. The final memorandum of understanding with the city is being negotiated to ensure the community’s interests are served.

County Development Ordinance (CDO) As a member of the Plan Commission since 2009, continues to listen to the needs of Monroe County residents as we balance environmental protection with the desire to develop land for business and residents. Because the city has focused on the development of apartments, the county has been under pressure to provide additional housing opportunities. This pressure threatens the vision held by community members who value rural living. Overall, the CDO process is slow but deliberate to ensure that the Plan Commission incorporates the interests of the entire community.

Fullerton Pike Neighborhood Preservation Once the Indiana Department of Transportation made the decision to create an I-69 interchange at Fullerton Pike, the development of a connected roadway (I-69 to Fullerton Pike to Gordon Pike to Rohrer Road to the east) ensued. Although the improvement of this road has been part of the county’s Thoroughfare plan for decades, the residents of the Batchelor Middle School Neighborhood Association were involved in the planning process. Julie worked with the Public Works Department to hold regular public meetings with area residents to ensure that their concerns were heard. As a result of residents’ input, the road that was originally designed as a 5-lane roadway is a 3-lane road. Many of these residents helped plan the roundabout on Fullerton Pike – the resulting design reflects the feel of the neighborhood as well as our limestone history.

COVID-19 The pandemic tested our world, our nation, and our county. The Board of Commissioners worked tirelessly to protect the health of our residents and the longevity of our local businesses. The Commissioners developed connections across the community which we still foster – with Bloomington Hospital, IU, and the city. They held weekly meetings and press conferences to address the needs of residents. Grants (rather than loans), utilized CARES funding to keep small local businesses and social-service agencies afloat, and many survived that otherwise would not have made it.