Jefferson County is purchasing a 5-acre piece of property next to the county highway garage on Clifty Drive.

Commissioner Tom Pietrykowski presented the proposal to the County Council on Tuesday night in an effort to help solve the highway department's need for space.

Pietrykowski said the cinder pile - which is used on roadways during snow and ice events - takes up most of the free space on the garage's lot. In addition, the county already leases private land to store a separate cinder pile.

He said the initial plan would be to house the cinders on the lot and build a fence around the property. Several years down the road he said the area could be used for needed expansions for the highway department.  

The land is being sold by Madison Chemical, which contacted the county about the sale.

"This is time sensitive," Pietrykowski told the council. "This is an opportunity that won't come up often."    

The council agreed to purchase the land for $22,500, though the deal is contingent on the property being rezoned by the city zoning committee.

Also at the meeting, councilwoman Laura Boldery said that Jefferson County was the 11th of the 92 counties in Indiana to receive its certified budget from the state. Once the budget is approved by the council, it is sent off to the state for final certification.

Boldery said a quick certification from the state means that all government bodies - the county, schools, townships, etc. - provided complete and accurate budgets.

"I think all the entities in Jefferson County did a great job, otherwise we wouldn't have got our certified budgets back as fast as we did," she said.

The council will hold a special meeting on Jan. 29 at 5 p.m. to discuss its certified 2013 budget.   

In other business:

• Sheriff John Wallace gave his six-month financial report for his jail commissary fund. The commissary fund gains revenue from inmate services such as the vending machines. Wallace said the fund's year-end balance was at about $63,000. He used the fund in the last six months to purchase helmets for his emergency response team and new computers.

• County Council President Bill Hensler asked Wallace to find ways to better monitor and enforce gun regulations inside the Courthouse. Hensler said he knows of at least two occasions when guns were carried into the facility. Though concealed carry permits are granted in Indiana, guns are prohibited in courthouses.

• The council set its regular meeting dates for the rest of the year, with the exception of July. The board will meet during its traditional time on the second Tuesday of the month at 5 p.m. The dates are: Jan. 29, Feb. 12, March 12, April 9, May 14, June 11, Aug. 13, Sept. 10, Oct. 8, Nov. 12, Dec. 10.

• The council voted to retain Hensler as president and Judy Smith as vice president, jobs they held in 2012.

• Keith Gaffney, who was elected in November, was attending the first meeting of his four-year term. He is the only new member this year for the seven-member board.