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Issue of October 29, 2014
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Installation of tracking devices begins

December 18, 2013 | 09:16 AM

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners Monday night heard from Randy Smith with GIS company 39 degrees North who said installation will begin today (Wednesday) on the tracking units for highway department vehicles.

Smith, who lives in Bloomington, said he'll be in town to help install the first few units and then highway department employees will do the rest.

"We're really looking forward to getting those installed," Commissioner George Ethridge said. "We really think it'll help with snow removal this winter. It'll tell us which roads are done or not."

The cost to place units on 50 county highway vehicles is just more than $32,000. About $20,000 of it will be a recurring, annual cost. The plan is only a pilot program and can be discontinued after one year if the board chooses.

The system is a management tool, not something the county will use to spy on employees, Commission Kenny Saulman said in October.

The managers of the system, which will be highway superintendent Glen Bube and the commissioners, will be able to see where the vehicles are at all times and can have up to 16 electrical notifications for each vehicle, such as speed, engine idle, plow up/down, maintenance issues, etc. And should a vehicle be stolen, the device will make it easy to locate. It could also be handy when a vehicle is involved in a collision.

It took two votes with the county council before the program passed.

Smith also updated the board about the usage of the 39 Degrees North Harrison County GIS site, which saw an increase in visitors of 56 percent from 2012.

"We really appreciate working for Harrison County," he said.

In other business, the board approved a contract amendment from American Structurepoint, the engineers assigned to the Lanesville Connector Road project. The cost upgrade totaled $62,100 to make up for raised costs since the company last worked on the project. The original contract totaled $705,000, with $350,000 or so left to pay, according to Harrison County Engineer Kevin Russel.

Commissioner Jim Klinstiver did not vote for the amendment because he said he's still holding out hope for alternate three, the preferred route for the road that will connect the Lanesville Interstate 64 area with S.R. 64.

Ethridge said he didn't want to wait another 10 years and absorb the added expense.

"That's just a distraction; I think they're bluffing," Klinstiver said of the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources, which have said it will not permit alternate three. "I'd begin to buy right-of-way tomorrow on alternate three."

Harrison County Animal Control Officer Bruce LaHue said that, beginning Jan. 1, according to the new employee handbook, he'll be considered an hourly employee instead of salary and will need an overtime line.

"I have no idea what that figure will be," he said, because most of the time the part-time officers associated with Operation Dog Gone will be on call.

But, there are some tasks they aren't trained or certified to do, such as euthanasia, he said.

This year, LaHue said he's worked 179 hours of overtime, which is way down from the 500 or so before the part-time officers were hired.

Harrison County Parks Supt. Rand Heazlitt highlighted a few of the accomplishments for the parks department this year, including finishing the walking trail at Buffalo Trace Park near Palmyra, new electrical service in the park donated by the labor unions and boring donated by S&M Nix Enterprises, completion of the loop to the Indian Creek Trail at Hayswood Nature Reserve near Corydon and electric service to the cabin at the Battle of Corydon Park.

The board will meet briefly prior to the council's meeting Monday night to approve and sign payroll. The commissioners' next meeting will be Monday, Jan. 6, at 8:30 a.m. at the Government Center.

Twitter: @rossschulz

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    December 19, 2013 | 01:16 PM

    I hope the Council and Commissioners approve the overtime money for Bruce LaHue. He has put in thousands of dollars worth of overtime in the past few years, and was never compensated. Now, our geniuses on the Council hired an outside group to say that the Animal Control Officer was $6,000 overpaid, while several employees that have easy office jobs (and don't do a whole lot) get big raises? This will lead to the Animal Control Officer not getting a raise for probably ten years, and losing him to another county or department willing to pay a competitive wage. I don't know where we get these people in county government.

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    December 19, 2013 | 10:32 PM

    1. I wonder how many trucks have been stolen over the years.
    2. They should tell the truth, they are going to spy on employees. They could have gotten the NSA to do this for them.
    3. They should be able to look at a road and see if there is any snow on it.
    4. A total waste of money.

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    December 20, 2013 | 01:31 PM

    LaHue should definitely be salaried. They should change his job description back to be salaried again.

    1. How many county vehicles go home with the employee at the end of the day? Where else do they drive them? Now the county will know. Remember that sheriff's car under Deatrick that got in a wreck down in Kentucky?

    2. So? If they think they're being watched, maybe they will work instead of get caught sleeping on the job like somebody was earlier this year.

    3. Great idea, genius. Clearly, they can be everywhere at once to know the condition of all seven hundred miles of road in the county.

    4. I don't like seeing my tax dollars wasted. Lazy highway employees are wasting our money.

    If the county highway guys have such a problem with their bosses checking on them to make sure they're doing a fair day of work for a fair day of pay, maybe they should quit and go work somewhere else. I'm sure some business will cater to their more modest work standards.

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Corydon Democrat, 301 N. Capitol Ave., Corydon, IN 47112 • 1-812-738-2211 • email