Source: The Corydon Democrat

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Highway garage may move south

by Ross Schulz

October 15, 2013

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners again picked up the discussion of a new garage for the Harrison County Highway Dept. Monday afternoon, Oct. 7.

The latest site discussed is along S.R. 135 south near Mathes Quarry.

Other previous options such as flipping sites with the Harrison County Solid Waste Management or building somewhere else in the Business Park area have not gained support.

Harrison County Engineer Kevin Russel said the site would have quick access north and south on S.R. 135 and vehicles could reach east and west locations fairly easily as well on S.R. 62.

It is also in an area that is sparsely populated, which is important because of the noise the large highway vehicles make such as loading snow trucks at 3 a.m.

"You have a lot of pros there," Russel said of the site. "(One of) the cons is there will be more significant development to be done."

The county would have to build the garage structure from the ground up with no existing facility on the property.

Commissioner George Ethridge said the garage would be closer to District 3, which resolves a complaint about the current structure.

The goal is to find a location in District 2 that's easily accessible and is not close to residential homes.

"It looks like a pretty good area," Ethridge said.

Russel said the department would need approximately 10 acres for the facility and other space needs.

The cost for the land will be a little more than $6,000 per acre.

Russel said a variable of the property is sinkholes.

"There are sinkholes on the property," he said, which will have to be studied to determine their depth and impact.

Lucas Oil has also expressed interest in purchasing the current garage property.

In other highway department/engineer business, the board passed an additional of $635,000 for work on bridge 15 on Big Indian Road (near the coon hunter's club).

The board agreed to change the intersection of Lottick's Corner Road and Apple Lane to a three-way stop.

There was discussion about the process for bid letting in the county, specifically the fact that, as it stands, the council has to agree to the funding before going to bid. Russel said he hopes that can change since it takes five to six weeks for the county government funding process, which can pose a problem this time of year for needed projects.

He said he thought the current arrangement stems from a poor relationship with previous county councils and board of commissioners.

"We want to change that," Russel said.

"You're asking us to appropriate before we know the actual cost," Council Chair Gary Davis, who was present at the meeting, said.

No decision was made on the matter.

District 3 Commissioner Jim Klinstiver refrained from filling a vacant small equipment operator position.

"All I've heard for three years is I've had too many men in District 3," he said.

Also, North Harrison Community School Corp. Supt. D. John Thomas gave the board North Harrison's projected riverboat funding budget for next year. County government provides $2 million to be split between the three school corporations by enrollment. North Harrison normally gets about $750,000.

The budget includes half-day kindergarten, $175,000; replacement of computers, $150,000; computer software and licenses, $125,000; textbooks, $88,000; summer school, $80,000; Indiana State Police Alliance, $40,000; library books, $38,000; other technology purchases, $25,000; high school marching band, $20,000; and band movable equipment, $16,000.

Thomas said the school does not use the riverboat money to fully pay for text books (like South Harrison Community School Corp. does) because, if/when the riverboat funding dries up, North Harrison officials don't want parents stuck with the full payment of books out of the blue.

The state police alliance funding is less than last year because North Harrison has reduced its agreement with the agency from two officers (one at the Morgan campus and one at Ramsey) to one.

Thomas said the funding for the band was included because the school district has been accused of giving the football team all of the money. "The band is a great promoter of our school and has been very successful in the past," he said.