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Parks see ‘best year ever’

Harrison County Parks Director Rand Heazlitt informed the Harrison County Council during its Oct. 14 meeting that revenue for the parks in 2014 has surpassed any previous year on record.
‘We’ve had our best year ever,’ Heazlitt said. ‘We’ve met our goal and exceeded it.’
Heazlitt said the new website, which includes online reservations, is probably the main reason for the spike in revenue.
Even more impressive for Harrison County parks, Heazlitt said most parks departments in the region have experienced losses in recent years due to shorter summers for schoolchildren.
Heazlitt said Buffalo Trace Park sold out all campsites for both upcoming Halloween weekends, and South Harrison Park camping is also booked for the last weekend of the month.
With the added revenue and business comes added expenses to operate the parks, Heazlitt said, before presenting the council with a number of additional appropriation requests: $15,000 for utilities (water and electric); $6,000 for fuel; $2,500 for maintenance items such as toilet paper, trash bags and cleaning supplies; $2,000 for telephone and Internet services; $1,600 for testing to comply with the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources regulations; and $1,500 for heating due to a shortage last winter.
The council approved the request, out of the county parks fund Monday night.
In other business, Council Chair Gary Davis reported that the GIS cartographer position (Ralph Schoen) received a change in classification and pay after a review from Indianapolis firm Waggoner, Irwin and Scheele. Schoen’s position was one of three under review after the job description and compensation plan was implemented last year, and it was the only one to change classification and receive a raise. The other two, which will still receive the baseline approved 2-1/2 percent, were the county engineer and vital records registrar in the health department.
Employees had the opportunity to essentially appeal the outcome of the study through a process with the financial planning arm of the council.
The meeting was the first for Councilman Steve Haggard, who won the Democrat caucus to fill the late Gordon Pendleton’s District 3 seat.