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Council flushes N. Salisbury sewer

The Harrison County Council Monday night denied a $670,000 request by the Harrison County Regional Sewer District board for the proposed New Salisbury sewer project.
Only four of the seven council members were present for the meeting, and the additional appropriation only received two votes, from Councilmen Jim Heitkemper and Gordon Pendleton. Councilmen Ralph Sherman and William T. (Bill) Nichols were against (Councilwoman Leslie Robertson and Councilmen Chris Timberlake and Richard Gerdon were absent).
All motions need four votes to pass.
The vote was denied despite the best efforts from Heitkemper and Commissioner James Goldman to persuade the council.
‘I know it’s difficult, but I think we should go forward, and the council should do their part,’ Heitkemper said.
Nichols, whose council district includes New Salisbury, said he spent an evening with many business owners in the town who said they were opposed to the plan and it was unfair to the small businesses to have to pay the same rate as the bigger businesses to hook on to the system.
‘My understanding is they’re supposed to have the votes (to pass),’ Goldman said. ‘It doesn’t matter; they get to vote. It’s their call whether to hook on or not.’
Before the project can begin, it has to be approved by the business property owners with a majority vote. But, the money has to be in place before it can come to a vote so the owners know the exact cost.
Regional Sewer District board president Tom Tucker addressed the cost disbursement, which Nichols said businesses thought was unfair.
‘We cannot discriminate; we can’t say, ‘You can afford this; you can afford that.’ We can’t do it legally,’ Tucker said.
The request was to compliment and bolster a federal Economic Development Agency grant application to be submitted by Sept. 1. The grant could pay for as much as 75 percent of the project.
‘It’s do or die tonight,’ Goldman said before the vote was taken.
Goldman also mentioned the costs many of the businesses may have to absorb if the project falls through from the Indiana Department of Environ-mental Management, which could end up much higher than the proposed $15,000 initial fee for the county’s plan.
Tucker said he didn’t know where the denied additional leaves the grant application, but said it could still be submitted. He said he’ll meet with the grant writer, Jill Saegesser of River Hills Regional Planning and Development, to see where to go from here.
In other business, the council approved $7,500 for the purchase of a generator for the Boone Township Volunteer Fire Department. The money was leftover from unspent appropriated funds for the firehouse. The department also received $3,000 from former township trustee assessor Linda King, who requested the money be spent for a generator after the assessing duties were stripped from trustees by a state mandate.
Pendleton was unanimously selected as the council chairman pro tem for the meeting in the absence of chairman Timberlake, who was ill, and vice chair Robertson, whose father, George Fink, passed away earlier in the day.
The council will next meet Monday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. at the courthouse in Corydon.