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Security plan in place for courthouse

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners and Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye presented a plan Monday night at the county council meeting to provide security at the courthouse in downtown Corydon.
‘As you all are aware, we’ve had a long situation with no security at the courthouse building,’ Commissioner Chair Kenny Saulman said.
He and Seelye said the court activities can become quite contentious with divorce, child custody and other cases.
‘It can turn into a hot house at times,’ Saulman said. ‘We need to take care of it.’
When phase 2 of the major government buildings project was complete, it included a security vestibule on the south side of the courthouse.
The plan was to lock all other entrances to the building and have a security officer on guard at the lone entrance. But, the project was completed more than a year ago and a security guard is still nowhere to be found.
The commissioners and Seelye requested a full-time and part-time employee for the position with a cost of $57,588 (full-time) and $41,160 (part-time). The full-time total includes family insurance and could be reduced if the employee opts for single coverage.
The position will pay a rate of $13.50 per hour.
The plan also includes a metal detector at a cost of $6,000 and two wands at $200 a piece.
Seelye said the part-time position will have turnover, similar to corrections in the jail, which Auditor Karen Engleman said has the most employee changes of any county department.
‘We tried to be very realistic,’ Seelye said of the costs. ‘I hate to come here (to the county council meeting), not because the company is bad, but I don’t want to ask for anything. I don’t want to come back.’
He said the department’s resources are already stretched thin and cited a recent staffing analysis that said the department is understaffed. The department also recently agreed to provide security at South Harrison schools.
Council Chair Gary Davis said the council is on record in support of securing the courthouse, but it doesn’t have ‘$105,000 laying around.’
The council will discuss the request further at its next meeting, which will be Monday, April 22, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.
Saulman said he knew it was expensive but thought it was a necessary expense.
‘We plead to you,’ he said. ‘It’s been without security for a long time. It’s worse now than it was earlier. They’re not safe. I don’t want that on my conscience.’
In other business Monday, Bill Watts, Harrison County Parks board president, withdrew a request of nearly $10,000 to pay for the completion of the Buffalo Trace Park walking trail.
At the council’s previous meeting, parks director Claudia Howard requested the additional to pay for work on the trail but was never approved by the county council, although the former board of commissioners did approve it and directed Howard and the board to move forward with the work.
‘Unbeknownst to us, the council and commissioners were not on the same page with this,’ Watts said.
Watts, who said he wasn’t sure yet how the outstanding bill will be paid, apologized for the board not coming back in front of the council.
‘It was all done with the best of intentions,’ he said. ‘There’s seven people on the park board, all volunteers; we get nothing out of it and we try to do the best we can.’

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