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Justice Center parking lot remains gravel

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners Monday morning returned bids for the asphalt work for the Justice Center parking lot, because of the lack of funding for the project, estimated at $90,000.
‘Thank you for bidding, but the funding didn’t work out,’ Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes said to the bid representatives at the commissioners’ meeting.
The project, initially estimated to cost $130,000, was passed on to the county council where it was turned down twice.
That didn’t stop Mathes from going forward with the beginning stages of the parking lot by ordering highway department employees to grade and gravel the land just south of the Justice Center.
The commissioners then asked for the funding a third time from the council, at a reduced price of $90,000, but it was again voted down.
The parking lot will remain a gravel lot, at least for now.
The lot is needed, according to Mathes, because the current parking lot is not sufficient. It will be even more crowded when construction trailers are used in the next few months for the jail remodeling project, he said.
Mathes, later in the meeting, declared the parking lot project to be a ‘countywide project’ so the work already completed could be paid for out of the countywide projects fund.
Along with the parking lot, Mathes also said the Old Dam 43 Road project in District 3 (Commissioner Jim Klinstiver’s district) was a countywide project to be funded out of the same fund.
Klinstiver seconded Mathes’ motion, and Commissioner James Goldman voted against, saying countywide projects should be decided on by the entire commissioner board before a project begins.
‘Never before have we started a project then halfway through declare it a countywide project,’ Goldman said. ‘I don’t know anything about either one of them.’
In other business Monday morning, the board approved an additional of $151,000 for IT service upgrades and new equipment from Five Star. Mathes said the upgrades were highlighted by Five Star and other prospective venders when the county interviewed for the position after it fired CyberTek.
Recorder Barbara Best asked why the county should spend $151,000 when everything seems to be running fine.
Goldman said the county’s servers are all running at near capacity and slowing things down.
‘I trust these people,’ Goldman said. ‘I think they’re trying to improve the system and make it better for the county.’
Mathes also made a motion to accept the deeds of the three properties east of Atwood Street near the Government Center complex.
‘It’s something I’ve been working on for the county to have for a long time,’ Mathes said. ‘The county needs to retain the property for the future.’
Donna Lloyd, director of Comfort House, said the organization would like to be housed in the building nearest to the former ambulance garage.
Goldman said he thought it’d be in the county’s best interest to move Comfort House to one of the newly acquired buildings, so it would no longer pay rent at its current location. Goldman said the county funds other nonprofit entities, such as the alternative school, and also provides a building and pays for utilities, so Comfort House should get the same treatment.
‘It would be in the county’s best interest,’ he said.
The four-bay former ambulance garage was given to Harrison County Emergency Management Agency for storage.
Mathes said he thought the ‘Rothrock’ house, formerly the health department building, could be a perfect fit for Harrison County Lifelong Learning. Lifelong Learning currently pays about $40,000 in rent per year, Mathes said.
‘It would be a golden opportunity to save some money,’ he said.
In related matters, the board accepted the resignation of Leslie Robertson from the Lifelong Learning board of directors.
‘She’s pursuing other interests, I believe,’ Goldman said.
Mathes also instructed legal counsel John Colin to draft an ordinance addressing panhandling in the county. Mathes said it would put an end to people soliciting for money on county roads without the commissioners’ permission.
‘I’d like to see them come to the auditor’s office for a permit,’ Mathes said.
He said there’s been a lot of complaints in past years to the sheriff’s department about ‘undesirable’ panhandlers.
‘They can’t do anything about it without an ordinance,’ Mathes said.
The Town of Corydon has such an ordinance in place.
Mathes also made a motion to vacate the end of Feller Road from the county’s register. A public hearing about the road will take place Thursday, Dec. 27, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in Corydon during the board’s last meeting of the year.
Animal Control Officer Bruce LaHue informed the board that he’d like the breeder’s permit ordinance to be implemented July 1 of next year.
The ordinance will require all dogs and cats in the county to be spayed or neutered unless a breeder’s permit is obtained. The permit will be free.
Bridge opening, office closing
There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly completed Valley View Road bridge Monday at 12:30 p.m. at the bridge site, located southwest of Corydon.
The Harrison County Government Center will be closed Wednesday, Dec. 19, from noon to 1:30 p.m. for an employee Christmas dinner.

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