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Split board withdraws $700,000 property request

Split board withdraws $700,000 property request
Split board withdraws $700,000 property request
Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes points to the ceiling and explains options for the county in the large building formerly used by Oldcastle Precast Inc. to form concrete as, from left, Harrison County Assistant Engineer Steven Day, Commissioner Jim Klinstiver and Engineer Kevin Russel listen. The Harrison County Board of Commissioners and county council had a joint meeting Thursday morning to tour the property. The board of commissioners considered purchasing the 14-acre property adjacent to the Harrison County Highway Department in north Corydon, which included this building, to expand the highway department. Mathes, however, made a motion Monday afternoon during the commissionersÂ’ regular meeting to withdrawal the request of $700,000 to the county council. Photo by Ross Schulz (click for larger version)

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners, in a split vote, withdrew its request of $700,000 for the purchase of the old Oldcastle Precast site which could have been used for the Harrison County Highway Department. The 14-acre property is adjacent to the department’s garage site off Harrison Way in north Corydon.
Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes made the motion to withdraw the request to the county council because, after touring the property last week and viewing a copy of the property boundary lines, he said the seller has some items that should be cleaned up before they go any further. He said there are two question marks on the boundary sheet that could possibly mean the property would be landlocked.
Commissioner James Goldman said the access problems aren’t even an issue, since all of that would be taken care of in final negotiations.
‘It’s all up in the air, too much of a cloud for me,’ Mathes said.
Mathes also said that, after looking at the property and the large building where concrete was formed, he ‘was getting cold feet’ about the purchase.
‘After adding up all the costs to make it useable, I thought it would be about $500,000,’ he said. ‘But that ain’t half enough.’
Commissioner Jim Klinstiver, who later seconded Mathes’ motion, said he was concerned about the drainage on the property and the lack of knowledge about the location of the property corners.
Goldman, who said he was against the withdrawal, said if the funding was in place, then the other party (seller) would find the corners and provide the needed information to satisfy the county. But if there’s no money appropriated for the project, he said, the seller won’t spend money on any surveys or studies.
‘I’d tell you to go fly a kite,’ Goldman said.
Mathes said he thinks the seller will clean up the issues if the county withdraws its request.
‘When you take back the checkbook, it gets everything working quicker,’ he said.
County engineer Kevin Russel said he hoped the board would at least let the council vote on the issue, or else it seems the county has turned its focus in an entirely new direction.
In other matters, the board elected to keep the county’s health insurance plan the same as last year, with Anthem, after hearing a presentation from Mark Hamilton of Neace Lukens. The cost did not change from last year. The Harrison County Council, in September, approved the budget with an 8-percent increase for health insurance.
Hamilton presented the board with a cheaper overall option from United Health Care, but the prescription drug costs would be higher for county employees. Plus, the commissioners expressed concern about trouble caused when switching health care providers.
The board also appointed former councilwoman Leslie Robertson, of Depauw, to the Harrison County Lifelong Learning board of directors.
‘I think she’ll work with you,’ Goldman said. ‘We’ll see how this works out.’
As a member of the county council and alternative school board last fall, Robertson was vocal against Lifelong Learning providing services for students 18 and younger. She believed the center should stick to its mission of serving only adults seeking education.
The Lifelong Learning board meets the third Wednesday of each month at its facility at 101 W. Highway 62 in Corydon.
The board also sent a request of $7,500 for Harrison County Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye and David Simon, the county’s maintenance supervisor, for interview room equipment to satisfy state standards. It will include two cameras each for three rooms. The system in place now has only one camera, and it is VHS-based.
During a break in the meeting, Seelye said ‘drama’ at the jail continues to subside. He said he had a Super Bowl party at the jail Sunday night and provided popcorn and soda for the inmates. Seelye said the popcorn was donated by Cousin Willie’s, and the rest was paid for out of his own budget. Each cell block predicted the final score to the game, and the winner was the women’s cell, he said. As a prize, each inmate received a lunch of a Big Mac and fries.
Limited service at courthouse
The Harrison County Auditor’s, Treasurer’s, Recorder’s and Assessor’s offices will have limited service tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday while they move to their new locations at the Government Center in south Corydon.
On Monday, the offices will be open in their new location, but service will again be limited because the offices will be unpacking.