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Funding of road projects questioned

Harrison County Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes approached the county council Monday night at its regular meeting to discuss funding for right-of-way work for a couple of road projects in his district.
Mathes said he thought the money for the Corydon-Ramsey Road and New Middletown Road projects would be on the agenda and up for vote Monday night.
But auditor Karen Engleman said no additionals have been advertised yet and will not be until the second council meeting in March (Monday, March 26).
‘So, you’re putting me off another two weeks, hoarding the money from me,’ Mathes said.
He said he didn’t understand why the council couldn’t go ahead and vote on some of these appropriations. ‘It’s making it kind of hard to fund some of these road projects,’ Mathes said.
Mathes said if the council would at least vote against his additional request, he could look for another way to fund it.
Councilman Jim Heitkemper said he didn’t want to delay any projects.
Council chair Gary Davis said the council gave Mathes and the commissioners $2 million to work with for road projects in the budget, and Mathes could transfer the funding from that account to the road project account, similar to what Commissioner James Goldman recently did for one of his projects.
‘Buck doesn’t want to do that,’ Davis said. ‘He wants to put it to a test vote.’
The vote won’t be able to occur until the second meeting in March, however, Davis said.
Mathes said he thought the projects should be paid for separately from the allotted $2 million, since one project is two years old and the other is three.
In other business Monday night, the council unanimously voted (6-0, Councilman Ralph Sherman was absent) to approve a transfer of $300,000 from the riverboat projects budget to the riverboat stone account ($100,000 for each commissioner district).
Councilman Phil Smith asked the commissioners if they could send a letter to all county department heads asking to conserve fuel as much as possible with fuel prices beginning to climb and expected to continue to climb throughout the summer. The council budgeted $500,000 for fuel for 2012.
‘We’re going to eat into that very quickly,’ Smith said.
Washington County representatives who attended the meeting to thank Harrison County for its riverboat sharing agreement also had gifts for the seven councilmembers, three commissioners and both attorneys.
The council’s next meeting will be Monday, March 12, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in Corydon.

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