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Resident speaks up against proposed property purchase

A Harrison County resident Monday morning spoke against the county’s proposed purchase of the former Oldcastle Precast property site near the industrial park area in north Corydon to be used for the Harrison County Highway Department.
‘I think the county is wasting taxpayer money to try to use the commercial area … ‘ Rodney Lee Lasley said. ‘It’s’ too much money, entirely too much for commercial property. You should consider other areas.’
So far, the county hasn’t spent a dime on the property. Last month, the board of commissioners withdrew its request of $700,000 to purchase the property before the county council had an opportunity to vote on it.
At the commissioners’ last regular meeting, the board directed Kevin Russel, the county engineer, to ask the owners of the 14-acre property to conduct, and pay for, a phase one environmental study. Russel reported back to the commissioners with the study, which Oldcastle had previously conducted in 2004.
The board also cleared up the other issue about the property, which was the easement providing access to it from the county road. Julie Flannigan, filling in for legal counsel John E. Colin, said preliminary research shows there is an easement in place for access to the property.
The property is adjacent to the current garage site and would fulfill many needs of the department some officials believe, such as housing salt for road treatment in the winter. A building already on the site would also be used for equipment storage.
The board took no action on the matter.
In other business, the commissioners approved just more than $23,000 from user fines and fees for the Harrison County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition Local Coordinating Council. Commissioner James Goldman took issue with one request, of $3,000, from the Milltown Police Department to help pay for a video camera for Chief Ray Saylor. The substance abuse council recommended awarding Saylor $2,000 because of the amount of work he and his canine provide for Harrison County.
Goldman said he doesn’t like to see towns that receive riverboat gaming money from the county ask for money from other sources within the county.
‘I find it ironic they want to double-dip when they have plenty of funds for their officer,’ he said. Goldman said The Next Step is only being awarded about a third of its request. ‘I think we could have helped them a little more,’ he said.
Goldman said he knows Milltown purchased a ‘nice’ police vehicle for Saylor, but he didn’t think the $2,000 for a video camera would help prevent drug abuse.
Jeff Skaggs, coordinator of the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, said the money will not completely pay for the video camera (total cost will be about $5,000), but the coalition believed it was a good use of funding because Saylor’s dog, Ziko, is much more than just a narcotics canine and Harrison County often calls on the K-9 unit.
Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes said every officer’s vehicle should have a camera to prevent liability, to which Goldman agreed but he said the funding for it should be provided by Milltown, not Harrison County.
Mathes made the motion to accept the entire grant report, and Commissioner Klinstiver seconded.
Other substance abuse coalition grants awarded included: $3,778 for The Next Step; $1,778 for Brandon’s House Counseling Center Inc.; $4,000 for The House of New Beginnings; $3,000 for North Harrison High School to purchase drug-testing kits; $1,778 for training; and $5,778 for administrative costs for the coalition. The county council will hear the request at its meeting Monday night.
The board also passed an additional to the council of more than $73,000 for pavement repair and other improvements at Noe’s Rest Park near Elizabeth.

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