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Corydon hits new revenue formula jackpot

Corydon was the big winner Monday night when the Harrison County Council put the final spin on riverboat revenue sharing for towns.
By a unanimous vote, the council approved Rhonda Rhoads’ proposal to split up the usual three percent in revenue sharing by population rather than equally among the 10 incorporated towns in Harrison County.
‘Score one for the lady,’ cried a lone voice from the audience, that of Commissioner James Goldman.
The unanimous vote followed little discussion, in stark contrast to that of two weeks earlier, when the council tried to come up with a new formula for the towns but got mired in a flurry of proposals and a mix of raging egos.
Council chair Gary Davis had taken the original proposals of four council members and applied the percentage of revenue each town would receive and the dollar amount under each proposal.
Davis’ alternative would have given Corydon, Palmyra, Lanesville and Milltown (the four Harrison County towns with the greatest population) 73.33 percent of the $697,444 yearly, based on Harrison County’s cap of $23.2 million in riverboat taxes.
Councilman Ralph Sherman would have given those four towns 70 percent of the revenue, and Carl (Buck) Mathes would have given them 61.55 percent. The amounts would have been divided among the four towns, again by population, and the balance would have gone to the six remaining small towns, again by percentage based on population.
In Rhoads’ proposal, the four towns would receive 70 percent of the funds, split like this: Corydon, 37 percent or $258,055 (rounded); Palmyra, 13 percent or $90,668; Lanesville, 12 percent or $83,693; and Milltown (Harrison County side), eight percent or $55,796.
Elizabeth and Crandall would each receive seven percent of the funds, or $48,821; Crandall and Mauckport would each get five percent or $34,872; and Laconia and New Amsterdam, three percent each or $20,923.
‘I’m glad we all agreed, finally,’ said Alvin Brown, having seconded Rhoads’ motion. ‘That was a good compromise.’
The towns will still receive two percent of the riverboat infrastructure funds, according to population.
Davis cautioned the towns not to spend the money yet. Although the formula for dividing the money has been approved, interlocal agreements must be reached and the money must yet be appropriated, he said.
In another matter, the council approved $500,000 in riverboat funds for the Lanesville Water System, a project for which funds were approved last year but not needed before the end of the year. The council also approved $340,000 for highway equipment, which was $160,000 less than requested.
Councilman Kenneth Saulman noted that since $160,000 of the $500,000 requested was to pay off two graders now being leased, there was no sense in paying those off when the lease could continue at a savings.
His motion to approve $340,000, seconded by Brown, passed 5-1, with Mathes casting the lone dissent.
He said yesterday that the commissioners appear to be leveraging more money by leasing equipment.
In other matters, the council heard several requests for funding, to be acted upon at the council’s first meeting in February:
‘ American Consulting Engineers of Indianapolis is seeking a maximum of $38,800 to develop a master plan for the proposed Interstate 64 interchange to be located less than the three miles required between interchanges in rural areas. To do so, Corydon and the county must show that the site will become urban within the 20-year life span for the project. The maximum amount includes funds for specific meetings which may or may not be required, so the final bill could be less.
‘ Harrison County Community Services, the agency that helps care for low-income families and individuals in crisis, is seeking an annual investment of $208,000 from riverboat funds. Last year, the amount was $200,000. The increase represents increased needs and less income anticipated from other sources.
‘ Richard Boone, account executive with Appriss, a telecommunications copmpany with an office in Louisville, presented a proposal to the council for $35,800, which includes $19,000 to set up an automated victim notification system in Harrison County and operate it for a year at $1,400 a month.
Sheriff Michael Deatrick told the council the service could save time for the deputies, because the state mandates that victims be notified when an offender or suspect is released from custody. Boone said the automated system is spreading through the United States, and if Indiana adopts the program (which could be expected when budget woes ease), the state would pick up the costs.
‘ The Harrison County Advisory Plan Commission, is seeking $9,000 to send three representatives to a five-day conference in San Francisco, beginning March 19. The plan commission is also seeking $2,800 for an operating budget for the Farm, Forest and Open Space Task Force.
The council’s next meeting is Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. at the courthouse.