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County raises mileage rate

The Harrison County Council unanimously approved a motion to raise the county mileage rate from 40 cents to 47 cents per mile Monday night, May 12. The commissioners, who made the recommendation, used a formula based on $4-a-gallon gasoline prices.
‘We used the same formula we used earlier,’ said Commissioner James Goldman.
Councilman Chris Timberlake asked if the county had ever had a mileage rate higher than the state’s rate.
‘No, not that I know of,’ said Goldman.
The state rate is currently at 40 cents, while the national rate is 50.5 cents per mile.
The county agencies using the most mileage include the planning and zoning and the health department.
‘I think it’s probably a pretty good deal for the county,’ said Goldman. ‘With the price of fuel, I don’t know what you can do. You can’t ask them to just absorb it.’
Goldman also informed the council of an additional on the way from the county highway department because of the high cost of fuel. The council budgeted $200,000 for fuel for the department, of which, only $60,000 remains, according to Goldman.
Goldman said drivers have been asked to conserve fuel, turning off the engine when possible, and ‘they’ve complied.’
Councilwoman Rhonda Rhoads made the motion to enact the rate change starting Tuesday, May 13. Councilman Gordon Pendleton seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.
In other county business, the council approved unanimously $900,000 to the South Harrison Water Co. for a water line to the Mauckport area, which will include the Norstam Veneers plant.
‘Whatever it takes to stay in Harrison County, I’ll do,’ said Danny Utz, human resource director for the company. ‘The management team at Norstam really appreciates your support. Local government support is very important.’
Councilman Ralph Sherman made the motion, seconded by William T. (Bill) Nichols, to approve $900,000. The motion passed 6-0.
‘OK, Danny, you’re part of the way there,’ said Council chair Carl (Buck) Mathes.
‘May you never have to suffer through a fire again,’ said Rhoads.
The council has spent less out of General Fund in the first quarter of this year compared to the first quarter of 2007, according to a report from Pendleton. Besides the $200,000 expense for a bridge, the council spent $82,000 in the first quarter of last year. This year, the council spent about $59,000 in the first three months of the year.
‘The additionals haven’t been as much this year,’ said Pendleton. ‘It’s nice to know we’re not over doing it.’
Pendleton said the additionals out of riverboat, however, have gone up this year compared to last year.
Harrison County Auditor Pat Wolfe announced that more than $684,000 has come in from special distribution from the state for the county’s ‘rainy day’ fund.
‘That’s very good, good news,’ said Mathes.
Steve Gilliland, executive director of the Harrison County Community Foundation, said Monday night the markets have had a tremendous bounce back the past two or three weeks and are back to Jan. 1 numbers.
The council approved, with a 4-2 vote, $500 for travel per diem and meals for the council. Nichols made the motion, seconded by Councilwoman Leslie Robertson. Pendleton and Sherman joined voting for the motion, while Timberlake and Rhoads were opposed. The council also unanimously approved $396 for a change of venue.