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Vote for stormwater project comes up short

The Harrison County Council failed to pass a motion Monday night to fund two stormwater demonstration projects, one each at Lanesville High School and Corydon Central High School, after the vote count tallied three votes for, three against and one abstention.
The total cost of the project, requested by the Regional Sewer District board out of riverboat gaming funds, was $89,500.
Council Chair Gary Davis, who sits on the sewer board, said he thought it was a worthwhile project and a chance to provide the community not only an educational tool about stormwater, but to also implement a stormwater project somewhere other than a highway project.
‘If we vote ‘no,’ we’ll be the same as we’ve always been,’ he said.
The project, which will place an oil and water separator at the main parking lot at Lanesville Junior-Senior High School and a rain garden to catch/treat run-off at Corydon Central, has been denied three times by an Indiana Department of Environmental Management grant application and once by the Harrison County Community Foundation.
Davis said the sewer board’s consensus is that the grant request was denied multiple times by IDEM because the county has access to riverboat gaming funds.
The request was brought to the council by the sewer board’s stormwater consultant, Rob Huckaby, of Stantec.
‘Schools are an outstanding place to educate the community,’ Huckaby said. ‘You’ll get the best bang for your buck.’
He said the long-term objective of these projects and the stormwater division of the sewer board is to improve water quality and protect natural resources in Harrison County.
Councilman Jim Heitkemper said he was worried about mosquitos and wildlife at the Corydon site, and councilman Phil Smith said he thought the project could start a domino effect of many projects similar to this throughout the county.
‘You’re just looking for reasons to vote against it,’ Davis said.
When the votes were finally cast Davis, councilmen Richard Gerdon and Chris Timberlake voted for the funding, while Heitkemper, Smith and Councilman Ralph Sherman voted against. Councilman Gordon Pendleton abstained, saying he supports the project but wants to give other councilmembers time to look into it more.
‘I would really like to see this project go forward,’ Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes said. ‘It will set a good example.’
Another motion was not made, however.
In other business Monday night, the council narrowly approved funding ($28,500) for a new truck for weights and measures director Paul Lawyer.
After a lengthy discussion about whether Lawyer needed a 3/4-ton, four-wheel drive truck, Smith, Timberlake, Pendleton and Davis voted for the truck funding. Heitkemper, Sherman and Gerdon voted against.
The truck to be purchased will be a Dodge 5.7-liter HEMI.