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Insurance slightly increases for county

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners received its 2010-11 property, auto and liability insurance renewal Monday evening from Pam Bennett Martin of Bennett & Bennett Insurance.
The total cost of the cheapest annual premium for the county was just more than $341,000 from Bliss-McKnight, which was an increase of about $1,900 over last year.
Martin said three companies chose not to bid on Harrison County’s insurance.
Commissioner Terry Miller said he was pleasantly surprised that the premium didn’t go up more, since less companies were competing.
Harrison County insures more than $28 million in property, $5 million for general liability and $2 million for commercial vehicles.
The renewal date for the county is today, May 19.
The board approved the renewal request, which was within the council’s budgeted amount for the year.
In other business Monday night, the board sent a request of $375,000 to the council to replace two trucks for the Elizabeth Volunteer Fire Department as part of the county fire chiefs’ association’s three-year plan (see story, page A2).
The department plans to re-place a 1974 Ford John Bean 750 pumper, which has been taken out of service due to extensive brake problems and it has failed the annual pump test.
‘The cost of fixing these problems would be very expensive and exceed the truck’s value,’ Joey LaPlant, Elizabeth’s assistant fire chief, said. ‘This pumper was state-of-the-art equipment in 1974 but has long past served its turn.’
Elizabeth also hopes to replace a 1975 International 1800 Loadstar tanker.
LaPlant said the department would like to replace the two trucks by combining the functions into one truck.
The board also sent a request of $25,000, out of riverboat contingency gaming funds, to the council for funding to the Bliss House in Jeffersonville. The house is a substance abuse-rehabilitation center for women. The facility, which currently houses seven women from Harrison County, has seen significant damage from recent flooding.
The board approved the low bid of about $65,000 from Palmer Trucks in Indianapolis for salt boxes and plows for the highway department. Miller made the motion and Commissioner James Goldman seconded it. Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes did not support the motion, instead wanting to approve a bid from a company in Louisville, which was about $7,000 more than Palmer’s bid.
The council will hear the requests at its regular meeting Monday at 7 p.m. at the courthouse in Corydon.
Miller made a motion to end negotiations with the Yarnells, owners of property along Narrows Road southeast of Laconia near the Ohio River. The Yarnells came to the commissioners in January 2009 asking for help with illegal dumping on their property.
Dr. Gerald R. and Ruth Yarnell of Corydon, through representation, asked the board to close the section of the road.
The only remedy the board would support was the construction of a fence near the dumping site. But, the Yarnells requested a much larger and longer fence through a letter to legal counsel John E. Colin.
‘It’s going on two years now, and we’ve gone above and beyond what we needed to do anyway,’ Goldman said. ‘It’s private property; it’s their responsibility.’
The board tabled a request from Mathes for $200,000 for preliminary work on a new bridge over Indian Creek on Valley View Road. The bridge scored a 45.1 sufficiency rating in the last bridge inspection. Any figure less than 50 qualifies for replacement.
Mathes said he hopes to pay for the entire bridge, which he estimated at about $1 million, out of the cumulative bridge fund and not use any federal grant dollars because it would delay the project seven or eight years. The fund has a balance of about $1 million, Heather Metcalf, chief deputy to Auditor Pat Wolfe, said. Mathes said he was unaware of any other major bridge projects in the county for this year.
‘It’s the last horse-and-buggy bridge in the county to be replaced,’ Mathes said.
Mathes said he plans on leaving the old bridge in place so ‘you guys can fish off of it.’
The board will discuss the matter at its next regular meeting Monday, June 7, at 8:30 a.m. at the courthouse.
The commissioners will conduct a special meeting today (Wednesday) at 1 p.m. to discuss the riverboat gaming funds budget for 2011.