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Lanesville loan change gets OK’d by council

The Harrison County Council Monday night voted to approve the two-year loan extension plan Commissioner Terry Miller initiated, and the board of commissioners approved, for the Lanesville Community School Corp.
Miller apologized to the council for not discussing the idea before it was approved by the commissioners. The contract with Lanesville is an agreement not only with the commissioners but also the council.
‘I didn’t mean to step on anybody’s toes, I’ll put it that way,’ Miller said.
Council attorney Shawn Donahue said both entities had to approve the contract change, but it didn’t matter which board approved it first.
The contract change will delay the yearly repayment of funds from Lanesville for two years in wake of the difficult budget climate for Indiana schools. The two payments will be placed at the end of the payment cycle, in 2026 and 2027.
In 2004, the county loaned the school $1.25 million out of riverboat gaming funds to renovate the elementary school gymnasium.
The original payment schedule had Lanesville paying $104,200 per year until 2016, but that was reduced by the county in 2008 to just more than $52,000 per year and extended the payment to 2025.
Lanesville has to trim about $1 million in a two-year budget cycle after Gov. Mitch Daniels, in December, announced that cutting education funding would be necessary given economic forecasts indicating significant revenue shortfalls in Indiana.
South Harrison Community School Corp. will need to cut about $850,000 and North Harrison Community School Corp. between $350,000 and $400,000.
The county also gives schools $2 million out of riverboat gaming funds for debt reduction to help with property taxes and another $2 million to be used for educational purposes. The schools split the funds according to enrollment.
Lanesville uses some of its portion of the $2 million educational funds, which usually amounts to little more than $200,000, for its repayment to the county.
The motion to concur with the contract change was passed with a 5-1 vote, with only Councilman Ralph Sherman voting against.
In other business Monday, the board approved nearly $24,000 for the community drug-free grant, $22,000 for bridge inspections (Councilman Jim Heitkemper against) and nearly $21,000 for equipment for a rescue apparatus for the Harrison Township Volunteer Fire Department.
Two transfers, one for $10,000 from the Regional Sewer District and one for just more than $3,000 from dispatch, were tabled by the board because the requests lacked explanation.
The board requires any transfer of $1,000 or more to be presented by the department head or a representative.
The next meeting of the Harrison County Council will be Monday, April 12, at 7 p.m. at the courthouse in Corydon.