Posted on

Lanesville-Connector Road, mosquito control top agenda

A public hearing to discuss the first phase of the Lanesville Connector Road was tentatively set Monday by the Harrison County Board of Commissioners.
The hearing is set for May 1 or 2, depending on the availability of a space to hold the hearing. The scheduled date and time will be advertised in a public notice prior to May 1.
Phase I of the Lanesville-Connector Road will widen the existing Lanesville Road north to Georges Hill Road. The road will be five lanes wide with two lanes in each direction plus a center turning lane.
County officials have indicated previously that the first phase will be completed regardless if the new road is built.
The public hearing will address the plans and categorical exclusion on Phase I of the project. Indiana Dept. of Transportation officials will conduct the hearing, and only public comments will be taken on the project.
Harrison County Engineer Kevin Russel reminded the commissioners Monday that INDOT officials would not answer questions at the hearing, something that has caused problems in the past.
‘If you remember the last meeting, people were upset about that format,’ Russel told the commissioners. ‘It’s not a question-and-answer session.’
He was referring to a public hearing last December to discuss the proposed new road. More than 80 Lanesville-area residents showed up at that meeting, most in opposition to the project.
Russel asked the commissioners if they would like to schedule an informal question-and-answer session before INDOT’s hearing, something the commissioners had indicated previously they wanted.
‘I think it would be good,’ Commissioner J.R. Eckart said, adding that they need to answer residents’ questions.
The others agreed and asked that Russel schedule an informal question-and-answer session one hour prior to the public hearing.
The commissioners heard an update last month from Bonar Group, a firm based in Fort Wayne that was hired to do the preliminary work on the first phase of the project. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin as early as 2008 on Phase I.
The commissioners also heard a request for $13,860 from Tony Combs, Harrison County’s public health coordinator, for mosquito control.
The program is provided by the Harrison County Health Dept. each year.
Combs said the funds were normally in the health department’s budget each year, but this year it was not funded, and he was not sure why.
‘The previous council wanted this to go back to the township trustees for funding,’ Eckart told Combs as a reason for the funding being taken out of the budget.
Combs said if he requested the funds from each trustee, they would want the money spent in their township, and they would have to get all 2 trustees to agree to fund the program.
‘With mosquitos, that’s not always the case,’ Combs said, adding that the mosquito populations were not spread evenly throughout the county so it is impossible to spend each trustee’s funding in their township.
Combs said they have had positive samples of West Nile Virus in Harrison County for the last five years, and that mosquitos would begin to get active in May.
Commissioner chairman James Goldman said the simplest way for them to obtain the funds to get the program moving this year is to ask the council for the money.
‘Is it the right way?’ Goldman asked, rhetorically. ‘I’m not going to comment on that.’
Commissioner Terry Miller motioned to allow Combs to ask the council for the funds with the stipulation that he would have to ask the trustees for funding next year.
Goldman seconded Miller’s motion after Eckart said he was opposed.
‘I will vote in favor to get the thing done,’ Goldman said.
In other matters Monday, the commissioners:
‘ Scheduled a public hearing on April 16 at 7:30 p.m. to discuss vacating Goodman Bend Road;
‘ Voted in favor of closing Rainy Well Road to protect the buildings and wells the South Harrison Water Co. has at that location;
‘ Approved a request for $80,000 by Superior Court Judge Roger D. Davis to pay expenses relating to the recent John Michael Naylor trial; and
‘ Approved a request by county building maintenance supervisor David Simon to hold an auction on the county’s surplus items. The auction will be May 19 at 9 a.m. at the Harrison County Highway Garage. off Quarry Road. A list of items being auctioned will be published two weeks prior to the auction.