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Night meetings remain big business for commissioners

Everybody likes to attend the Monday night meeting, said J.R. Eckart, chair of the Harrison County Board of Commissioners, remarking that the governing body hopes to divert more business to its a.m. meeting held the first Monday of each month.
While attendance is usually poor during the workday, last night the Commissioners Room at the Harrison County Court House was near capacity with about 50 in attendance.
Gordon Ingle brought eight supporters. ‘You can count the arrows in my back to see how many people in here tonight don’t like what I have to say,’ the Corydon attorney told the commissioners.
Ingle believes a section of the subdivision ordinance that was intended to allow farmers to subdivide once per year in order to provide plots for family members has been exploited.
‘They subdivide once, then each lot once next year, and so on,’ he said.
The result is one parcel could accommodate 16 dwellings in four years time if road frontage permits, and ‘the only way you can make money in this type of development is low-cost housing,’ Ingle said.
‘Harrison County needs low-cost housing, but there is a place for it,’ he added.
He said he was neither on a crusade against mobile homes nor to reclaim his hunting grounds, which he recently discovered had been subdivided to accommodate a number of mobile homes.
His message, Ingle said, was about ‘preserving the quality of water in Harrison County and not making shreds of our regional sewer district.’ Also, it was about ‘maintaining the integrity of the subdivision ordinance and the countywide comprehensive plan.’
Commissioner Jim Heitkemper, who said such issues were among the main reasons for his involvement with the commissioners, said he has a lot to ask Ingle.
‘You might want to ask him now; any other time and it’s going to cost $150 an hour,’ Commission Chair Eckart said, chuckling.
‘Actually, it’s $175,’ Ingle quipped.
Eckart said the Harrison County Plan Advisory Commission, on which he also sits, was taking Ingle’s concern under advisement at the work session scheduled for 7:30 tomorrow night (Thursday) at the Harrison County Annex.
Saying it had been four months since her last visit, Wanda Chinn put the commissioners on the spot regarding preparation for a new Extension office building.
‘I would like to know at this point what you’ve done for us. It’s kind of stressful to keep working for something and never get any answers,’ Chinn said.
Finding a suitable location on which to build was the first order of business, said Eckart, adding that the commissioners had been looking into it.
Heitkemper voiced support for placing the building on a portion of Hayswood Nature Reserve in Corydon, but Commissioner James Goldman felt differently.
‘I might have to add we have to get the parks department to agree to that,’ Goldman said.
‘You also have to consider the purpose or intent of people who give land to the county for a park,’ said Goldman, who questioned whether it was appropriate to place county offices on those properties. ‘We’ve got to keep looking for a piece of property that will work,’ he said.
Director Doug Robson said funds for utilities and marketing at Harrison County Lifelong Learning were falling short. He said nearly 400 students had been served during the first five months of the year as compared with 600 students in all of 2005. A request for $10,000 in additional funding was approved and forwarded to the county council.