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Sat, Nov 01, 2014 07:08 AM
Issue of October 29, 2014
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Funding for highway garage property OK'd

May 14, 2014 | 09:52 AM

The Harrison County Council Monday night unanimously approved $155,000 for the purchase of land for a new highway garage near Shiloh Road between S.R. 135 and Old S.R. 135.

The 18.4-acre Windell property will include, assuming funding is provided, not only a new garage, but also a salt dome.

The goal is to have a salt dome in place by the end of the year.

The site is closer to Commissioner District 3, resolving a complaint about the current structure being too far from the southern most district.

Harrison County Engineer Kevin Russel thanked the council and commissioners for their approval of the plan.

"I've been here 15 years, and it's been something we've always been working toward," Russel said.

Paul Primavera and Associates will handle the engineering work for the project.

The current facility, in the Harrison County Business Park north of Corydon, lacks the space needed to adequately and efficiently perform the department's duties, officials said.

It also has issues that need to be addressed such as drainage into a sinkhole and diesel fumes in close quarters with no exhaust system, among others. The department's main storage area, including salt storage, is outside with no protection from the elements.

In other business Monday, the council discussed the $1.5 million "shortfall" stemming from a successful property tax appeal by Horseshoe Southern Indiana.

Councilman Phil Smith asked that a letter be drafted asking each taxing unit effected whether they could absorb the shortfall or need funding from the county. He said Harrison County Solid Waste, which will lose about $16,000, could probably handle most, if not all, of the loss (Smith sits on the solid waste board).

"There's no harm in asking," he said.

The largest budget impacted will be that of the South Harrison Community School Corp., which would be in line for an $842,000 cut.

The $1.5 million request will be up for vote at the council's next meeting, Tuesday, May 27 (moved from Monday, May 26, because of Memorial Day), but Council Chair Gary Davis said he expects it to be tabled so further research can be conducted.

Also, the council unanimously approved $10,000 for Prosecutor J. Otto Schalk for a death-penalty consultant.

"We're going to make sure we do what we need to do to get the result we want," Schalk said.

He said the consultant has worked nine death-penalty cases and has put eight of them on death row. The consultant's cost is $60 per hour.

Schalk said he doesn't want the county to have to pay for the trial and it end up in a loss or hung jury. He said he expects the first of two cases, that of Austin Scott, to go to trial in August 2015.

He also requested $2,500 for reimbursement for attending a death-penalty conference.

"Our goal is to spend as little money as possible," he said.

Since Schalk plans to prosecute the case himself, with another in-office prosecutor, the cost for the county for the prosecution will be a "drop in the bucket" compared to the defense costs, Schalk said.

Other unanimously approved additional appropriations out of riverboat gaming funds include $201,000 for police vehicles for the sheriff's department; $12,000 for contractual services for the commissioners; and $10,000 for Harrison County Community Services.

The board also approved $19,370 for community drug-free grants out of the community drug-free fund.

Twitter: @rossschulz

  1. print email
    May 15, 2014 | 09:27 AM

    Well here we go again they lower the taxes on the boat and go straight for the schools to absorb the loss. Memory loss seems to prevail in this county for it seems one of the main issues of getting the boay here was to reduce school taxes. Leave the money alone for the schools and cut somewhere else or shore it up from money that is already there.

  2. print email
    May 15, 2014 | 10:05 AM

    Seventy percent of your property taxes are from your local school corporation. They get the biggest share of the property taxes, so that's why they have the biggest share of the loss.

  3. print email
    May 15, 2014 | 03:44 PM

    These agencies shouldn't worry that they are in the county budget. The Council will simply bail out the budget from the Community Fund like they have the past three years in ever increasing amounts.

  4. print email
    School Taxes
    May 15, 2014 | 04:38 PM

    I agree with jr. Let the money alone and cut something else, like not taking the county "TRUCKS" home.

  5. print email
    May 16, 2014 | 04:54 PM

    You're going to have to cut a lot more than taking county trucks home to find $1.5 million dollars.

  6. print email
    Current County Highway Garage
    May 17, 2014 | 12:19 AM

    Is it impossible to construct a salt dome in the current location? Is it impossible to install an exhaust ventilation system in the garage--something so simple that EVERY new car and truck dealership has one in their repair shop [and something I suspect that OSHA requires garages to have]?

    Or has a deal been cut ... to sell the current highway garage property already?

    This is sounding to me a lot like the Harrison County Hospital deal, where they moved from their old "landlocked" location to one bounded by a subdivision on the south, an interstate highway on the north, and roads and a church on the east and west sides...which, in my estimation, makes the new hospital ALSO "landlocked." Tell us taxpayers the truth ...

    Mark D Knight
  7. print email
    May 17, 2014 | 09:22 AM

    There has to be a starting point somewhere to cut spending,not at the school level. The county trucks would be a start. The trucks do not need to go to the employees home.

  8. print email
    Special Treatment for South Harrison
    May 17, 2014 | 09:46 PM

    When Lanesville had an emergency with their gym roof near collapse, they had to take the money as a loan. North Harrison and Lanesville got their state funding cut and had to lay off teachers. They didn't get county money to balance their budget. Why is South Harrison getting this money for nothing? We should treat the school districts alike.

  9. print email
    May 19, 2014 | 09:46 AM

    The existing highway garage property is too small to have a salt dome. The garage dates back to the 1950s. If OSHA inspected the highway garage, they would close it.

    As for vehicles coming home, there's not even enough room at the current garage site to park them all, which is part of the reason they get to take them home.

  10. print email
    Poor JR
    May 19, 2014 | 01:07 PM

    Poor Jr is whats wrong with people who speak before they know what they are talking about. The council did not decide to take anything from the schools, that was money the schools were overpaid. The appeal means Horseshow will get a refund, the state will take the money from all the government units to go the overpayment. Just means South Harrison will have to give back the money they did not deserve.

  11. print email
    Current Garage is NOT from 1950's
    May 19, 2014 | 01:17 PM

    In case you may not know...the current county highway garage does NOT date to the 1950's. Until the I-64 construction and reconfiguration of SR 135, the Harrison County Highway Department garage was located approximately where the current Arby's restaurant is located. In the 1950's, the current Industrial Park was still farm land.

    And there is no way you can convince me that garages in the 1970's were intentionally built without exhaust gas removal systems; most shops had them in the 1950's. You can try to rewrite history all you want, but that doesn't make it true. I've lived in Harrison County most of my life, so I know where the old highway garage was, and when it moved.

    Mark D Knight
  12. print email
    May 19, 2014 | 01:36 PM

    You may be confusing the state highway facility with the county highway facility.

  13. print email
    May 19, 2014 | 07:25 PM

    ...INDOT never had a garage where the current Arby's restaurant stands...especially not one that was white concrete block construction and was lettered "HARRISON COUNTY HIGHWAY DEPT."

    Perhaps YOU'RE the one who's confused. In the 1970's INDOT had a facility north of New Salisbury, next to where the New salisbury Church of Christ stands [and the lot across SR 135 from that location], and one near South Central High School...but they didn't have one in the Corydon area. The main INDOT garage was on Grant Line Road in new Albany back then.

    Mark D Knight
  14. print email
    school taxes
    May 22, 2014 | 10:05 AM

    Well Amazed let me put it to you this way, we were promised lower property tax rates and they gave the schools boat money to help reduce the tax rate. At any rate it did reduce it and the then commissioners made all kinds of promises, I can't help it but I guess some peoples' memories are short or it must be more polictical I don't remember that. Anyway it sounds like you might be a politician.

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