Floyd council tables move to pay new Camm trial bills

NEW ALBANY, Ind.  (WDRB) -- The current David Camm murder trial in Lebanon, Ind., has cost Floyd County government more than $1 million, and the total is expected to reach $2 million.

County leaders are plotting their latest plans to pay the next bills due in the trial.

Talk over the last few weeks has included borrowing money, raising taxes or taking money from other county accounts.

It's the last option that's most likely.

The bills grow with every day -- and almost every step of David Camm at his third murder trial.

Floyd County taxpayers are responsible for all the costs of the trial, more than $1.1 million so far.

"We're going to borrow from Peter to pay Paul.  We're going to reach out and take future money that is supposed to be for the future, we're going to drag it back here and pay it again," said county council member Jim Wathen.

The county council wants to take at least $650,000 from other accounts, including borrowing most of it from a bridge fund.

But it tabled the idea Tuesday, until its attorney can draw up the proper paperwork and the idea gets further study.  Two of three county commissioners voted for the idea last month.

Previous Camm trial costs were paid from special income taxes and rainy day funds -- funds now dry, at least in the amounts to pay trial bills.

"People want this thing to go away, but it has to go away according to the legal system.  We've been able to fund this from the EDIT fund and from the rainy day fund several days back, so now we're getting ready to cross the finish line," said county council president John Schellenberger. 

Floyd County is obligated, with little say on controlling costs.

Council members are now finishing the 2014 county budget.  They listened to department heads and other officials Tuesday and will do so again Wednesday.  Next year's finances are expected to be tight for everyone in Floyd County government.

Schellenberger said no one had been asked to cut their budgets to make room for Camm expenses.

The state will reimburse the county 40 percent of Camm's public defender costs.

More trial bills are to come from another case.  Officials say the county will spend $400,000 or more on this month's Clyde Gibson murder trial -- the first of three possible death penalty trials for him.

Council member Brad Striegel asked council attorney Chris Lane to research whether state law allows the county to borrow up to ten percent from any of its funds and deposit the money in the rainy day fund.  That might be a longer-term solution to Camm and Gibson trial expenses, council members said.

Floyd County taxpayers seem weary of the trials, the publicity and the cost, Wathan said.

"They're angry about the judicial system, and they want to know how a man can get three trials, and how in the world can a small county like Floyd be expected to pay this much of the expense.  It's got them upset."

Copyright 2013 WDRB News.  All Rights Reserved.