County Council Keeps Cates Family In Their Prayers

Kosciusko County Justice Building. (Photo: Nick Deranek/News Now Warsaw)

Still reeling from the unexpected death of Superior Court I Judge David Cates Wednesday, the Kosciusko County Council on Thursday remembered him with a moment of silence and prayer.

His wife, Kimberly Cates, is a county councilwoman but did not attend Thursday’s regularly scheduled meeting.

After the moment of silence for Judge Cates and his family, Councilwoman Joni Truex prayed, “Heavenly Father, we come before you tonight and there is much heaviness and much sadness in this room. We have lost one of our own, Judge David Cates, who spent his life with a passion, loving his wife passionately and also loving the children of our community, doing everything in his power from his judicial seat to help those who are helpless.”

In her prayer, she said Judge Cates has left a big hole in everyone’s hearts and “we ask you to please let him know, because we know that he is with you, how much he is loved and how very much he will be missed.”

She prayed for the Lord to be with Kimberly and the family as they go through this time of grief and trial.

“We ask you to please bless them. Give them peace that passes all understanding, and wrap your loving arms around them and bring them comfort,” Truex prayed.

At the end of the meeting, Councilman Ernie Wiggins asked Superior Court IV Judge Chris Kehler how will Cates’ cases be handled.

Kehler said he and Judges Torrey Bauer and Mike Reed met Thursday morning and throughout the day.

“We are trying to divide up a portion of his calendar between our three courts to the extent we can to get us by for the next several days,” Kehler said. “Ultimately, a pro tem will have to be appointed. We are in discussions with several senior judges who have practiced in this county before … to see if they can fill in temporarily until the governor will ultimately make an appointment to that courtroom.”

He said they were doing what they can to get by for the next few days.

“We do have a senior judge lined up for, I think, two days next week. We are waiting to hear from other senior judges, but we’ll take care of it to the extent we can,” Kehler said.

Also during the County Council’s short meeting, they approved:

• A CARES Act reimbursement resolution for an amount up to $2.7 million.

County Administrator Marsha McSherry reminded the Council that on March 6 Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb issued an executive order which declared a public health emergency due to the coronavirus. The county was awarded $2.5 million through the CARES Act. On May 12, the commissioners, in a public meeting, signed the certification to accept the dollars. In September, the coronavirus relief fund from the state was updated to include payroll expenses for public safety, public health, healthcare, human services and similar employees in those areas. On Nov. 24, the commissioners voted to request reimbursement of payroll dollars from the Indiana Finance Authority.

The Council had a spreadsheet explaining the payroll expenses.

“So, we are going to submit a claim, upon your approval of this resolution, for $2.7 million,” McSherry said.

The spreadsheet also lists about $2.4 million in claims. She said the state asked for them to submit for more than that amount.

Once the money is claimed, it’ll come back to the county general fund and appropriation procedures will follow, she said.

• An additional appropriation for the meals for prisoners account as requested by the sheriff’s office for $32,459.

• The 2021 interlocal agreement between the county and the Kosciusko County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission for the county auditor to be the controller for the KCCRVC. The KCCRVC approved it Nov. 4 and the County Commissioners approved it Nov. 24.

• The 2021 interlocal agreement between the county and the Solid Waste Management District for the county auditor to serve as the controller for the District for a fee of $6,000 annually. The Commissioners previously approved it and the Solid Waste Board of Directors will approve it next.

• A resolution to allow the auditor to approve any transfers to make sure any account stays in the black by the end of the year.

• To meet back in the old courtroom in the county courthouse beginning with the 6 p.m. Jan. 14 meeting.

• Prosecutor Dan Hampton’s request to reconciliate the Senior Prosecutor HUB grants for 2018 and 2019. The prosecutor’s office received $20,000 grants through the Indiana Prosecuting Attorney’s Council in 2018 and 2019 to represent the special prosecutors in child support IV-D cases. Some of the grant money has been left over and Hampton will allocate that leftover into other expenses other than salaries in the prosecutor’s office and for the county.

• Appointments to various boards and commissions.

• Tisha Holsten to the North Webster Public Library board, with her term expiring Dec. 31, 2024.