Troy Abbott claims

Dr. Troy Abbott, coroner

ANDERSON — Madison County has approved funding to buy equipment for the cooler to be used as a morgue for the county.

The Madison County Council on Tuesday approved a transfer of $49,852 in the coroner’s budget from professional services to equipment.

The council directed Coroner Dr. Troy Abbott to request an appropriation at the February meeting to replenish the funding in the professional services account.

The permanent cooler was purchased by the Madison County Commissioners last year,; a temporary cooler on loan from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security is to be returned to the state agency by the end of January.

Abbott in the past said the county needed a morgue and rooms for autopsies at an estimated cost of $1.2 million.

Commissioner John Richwine previously said the county intends to construct a morgue as an addition to the proposed new Madison County Jail which is expected to be under construction by the end of 2022.

The equipment purchases approved Tuesday include nine body trays, two cabinets, a desk, glove holder, three racks, a scissor lift and a Bari Transport, which is a powered, reclining chair.

It will be at least 14 weeks before the items are delivered, Abbott said in a Thursday email.

“There are more items that are needed, but I’ve secured the bare minimum to get it started,” he wrote. “I still don’t have cameras. That is critical.”

Abbott said he has $26,000 in the professional services budget and will be out of money by March.

The Madison County Council appropriated $140,000 in the 2022 budget for professional services.

Auditor Rick Gardner said once the $49,852 is reappropriated by the council in February, there would be about $76,000 in the account.

At the December council meeting, Abbott said he didn’t have access to the Madison County Emergency Management Agency, where the cooler is located.

He was provided a key to the building Jan. 11.

In December, the Madison County Commissioners and EMA officials indicated there was a 6- to 8-week delay in obtaining a fob reader for access to the building.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.