Second time a charm for sewer project
The Harrison County Council voted Monday night to fund the $670,000 local match for the Economic Development Agency grant essential to the New Salisbury business corridor sewer project.
The decision is the first of three major approvals needed before the lines can be laid for the system.
Next, the Harrison County Regional Sewer District will take the project to vote with the 19 business properties in the area. Only a majority of the votes returned will be needed to approve the project.
The third hurdle is the final funding source, the EDA grant, which will be awarded before the end of the year.
The motion passed with a 4-2 vote, with Councilmen Ralph Sherman and William T. (Bill) Nichols against. Nichols said while he supports the idea of a sewer system in the area, he thinks the smaller businesses are being treated unfairly with the proposed across-the-board $15,000 hook-up fee.
‘It’s not fair to the little man,’ he said. ‘Two big factories are charged the same as a guy with a sink and a commode.’
Nichols represents council district 2, which includes New Salisbury.
Nichols proposed a motion to approve the additional but only if the project was not mandatory for businesses and the minimum water users paid a $10,000 hook-up fee instead of $15,000. It died for lack of a second.
Harrison County Board of Commissioners Chair James Goldman said it is imperative the county moves forward with the funding because if it didn’t, the hopes of receiving the grant would be lost.
Councilwoman Leslie Robertson then made the motion, seconded by Richard Gerdon, to approve the funding.
The additional was approved out of the riverboat gaming contingency fund and only will be used if the sewer board receives the EDA grant.
The council denied the additional in August with a 2-to-2 vote when three councilmembers were absent.
The entire project, which includes lines to Child Craft south of New Salisbury, totals $2.1 million.
In other business, the council approved the final budget for 2010 after completing the second reading Monday night.
Council Chair Chris Timberlake compiled a list of all line items moved from the county general fund to the rainy day and CEDIT funds. He did so at the request of Depauw resident Phil Smith at the board’s previous meeting.
Smith wanted to know the total cost of the county general fund after it was completed at about $8.9 million. Adding the lines moved, the total is just more than $11.7 million.
Smith asked the council if it had any plans to secure the $2.8 million difference in case something happens to the riverboat gaming funds or state law changes.
Robertson said she had not thought about creating such a fund, but the council does have a community foundation fund but can only spend the interest from the account.
The total county budget including riverboat funds was just more than $31.8 million.