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Council delays revenue decision

For a couple of years now, a hungry leaf mulching and vacuuming machine has traveled Corydon’s streets, sucking the mounds of fallen leaves raked or blown to the edge of homeowners’ properties.
The ‘leaf vacuum’ is quite a popular machine.
‘We didn’t realize how many people it would help,’ Fred Cammack, Corydon’s Town Council president, told the county council Monday night.
Prior to the vacuum, townspeople raked their leaves into piles and, stooping and bending, stuffed them into big plastic bags and left them by the curb. Town workers picked them up, took some to people who wanted them for mulch and the rest to the town’s compost pile.
Purchased on Oct. 30, 2000, for $13,900, the town cured a lot of backaches and saved hours of labor. Cammack said a $2,300 leaf receiver box was purchased to hold the leaves while the machine went about its work.
That’s one example of how riverboat revenue has been used by the town since the checks started coming five years ago. Sidewalks have been repaired and constructed, and part of the money has been used to build a town garage, resurface streets and take flood-control measures.
‘The town has completed some pretty good-size projects,’ Cammack said. ‘And we have never hesitated to tell where the money came from.’
Councilman Carl Duley said, ‘If you drive around town, you can pretty well see where the money’s went.’
According to the county auditor’s records, Corydon has received more than $1 million from the one percent shared by towns in Harrison County and the infrastructure funds received by the towns.
The council has, for the last several meetings, reviewed riverboat revenue spending to decide if changes should be made in the percentages and/or the taxing district that receive the money. Most complaints have been that Georgetown, with only part of its two-mile fringe in Harrison County, receives more than Corydon, but when the infrastructure funds that Georgetown doesn’t get are factored in, then Corydon receives about $200,000 more.
Corydon, Georgetown and New Albany representatives were on hand at Monday night’s meeting.
Outgoing New Albany Mayor Regina Overton reminded the council that New Albany would like to receive a greater share than its three percent, because most of the traffic to the boat in Bridgeport travels through New Albany. (New Albany has received $2.9 million so far.)
However, Floyd County officials noted earlier that the longer, straight stretch of S.R. 111 to the boat is in the county’s jurisdiction.
Georgetown hopes to keep its three percent, which so far has totaled $996,063. About $70,000 of that money, said outgoing town council president Patti Dennison, will be spent for firefighters’ equipment.
Duley said: ‘You haven’t spent hardly any of it. That’s not the intent. It is to be used for the good of the people.’
Dennison said the town is saving for a new town hall.
Georgetown’s attorney Jeff Fifer also addressed the council. ‘We’re awaiting the board’s action,’ he said.
They will all have to wait a little longer for the council’s decision.
Council chair Gary Davis appointed a three-member task force to review the riverboat revenue sharing plan to determine what changes, if any, should be made.
The committee is expected to report back to the council early next month. ‘We will take action at that time,’ Davis said.
In other riverboat money matters, the council Monday night approved, by a 4-2 vote, placing funds from a separate Caesars’ contribution in an endowment, which would earn money the county could spend for a variety of purchases or projects, beginning in 2007. The principal would remain in the account as an investment.
The endowment with the Harrison County Community Foundation for $50,000 will be matched $37,500 by the Foundation. The endowment specifies that the council would have fiscal control over the money.
Councilmen Alvin Brown and Carl (Buck) Mathes opposed both endowments. Duley, Kenneth Saulman, Rhonda Rhoads and Ralph Sherman voted in favor.
Later, Brown said he opposed the endowment because he thinks it will take control away from the council, ‘I’m not real comfortable with it,’ Brown said.
Mathes could not be reached for comment, but he generally opposes action that he thinks might take control from the council.