The Jefferson County Commissioners approved three contracts and recognized an outgoing two-term commissioner for his work during their final meeting of the year.

Commissioners approved a contract Tuesday night with the Jefferson County Industrial Development Corporation (JCIDC) for next year. The contract is similar to this year's agreement and includes a maximum payment of $80,000.

Commissioners had proposed two additions to the contract - including an liability clause and more details on expenses and billing - which were agreed upon by the economic development group, executive director Nathan Hadley said.

Commissioner Robert Little said that while the economic development group has taken steps to create new educational initiatives for local students, it also needs to continue to focus on bringing businesses to the area.

Little said the students graduating with those technical degrees will need jobs locally or they will take their skills to other locations.

Commissioners approved the contract by a vote of 2-1 with Little voting against the measure.

Commissioners unanimously approved a 27-month contract with Constellation Energy, a natural gas supplier for Vectren. The contract will lock in the price of natural gas while prices have decreased.

Mike Fahrback with Constellation Energy presented recommendations to the commission during a meeting earlier this month and asked commissioners to consider more than just an annual renewal since prices are down.

Commissioners approved the contract by a vote of 3-0.

The commissioners also approved a contract for substance abuse and mental health services at the jail with LifeSpring Health Systems.

Amber Finnegan, Jefferson County's community corrections director, said the person currently providing substance abuse treatment in the jail will be leaving the area soon and someone will be needed to fill the vacancy.

The contract with LifeSpring will not only provide the current substance abuse treatment, but will also allow inmates access to mental health services while incarcerated at the jail.

LifeSpring professionals plan to implement group counseling at the jail, as well as transitional planning for outpatient services once an inmate is released from custody.

Finnegan said the services will begin next year and will be funded through set aside fees for at least the next year.

Sheriff John Wallace said the new contract with LifeSpring would provide additional services to the jail.

"I'm very excited to have this opportunity," Wallace said.

Commissioners approved the contract by a vote of 3-0.

During the meeting, commissioners Mark Cash and Little recognized outgoing commissioner Tom Pietrykowski with a plaque for his work over the past eight years. Pietrykowski thanked the commissioners and county employees for the opportunity to work together during his two terms.

"I'm proud of the accomplishments we've had in the last eight years," he said.