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Extra part-time funding approved for VSO

The Harrison County Council Monday night unanimously agreed, after a lengthy discussion, to approve an additional appropriation of $5,000 for part-time salary shortfall for Carrie Bridgewater, administrative assistant for Desley Snyder, Harrison County’s veterans service officer.
It also approved $500 for training for Bridgewater.
A portion of the discussion centered around Snyder’s office serving veterans from outside Harrison County.
Through quick calculations at the meeting, Councilwoman Holli Castetter said it appeared 65 percent of the veterans served are from Harrison County.
Councilman Jim Heitkemper said he didn’t want to get into restricting crossing of county lines.
‘If there’s a need, we fill it,’ he said.
Snyder said not all counties have a full-time veterans service officer and some only work one day a week. She said the service programs in Kentucky (Harrison County also sees veterans from Meade and Jefferson counties in Kentucky) fall short of what is needed.
‘I can’t think of a better reputation to have than to have veterans come from elsewhere to come here,’ Councilman Richard Gerdon said.
Councilman Gary Davis said he, like everyone else, is proud of the service provided but questioned whether the county should seek funding from the outside counties Snyder’s office is helping.
‘If it’s just one or two, I’m not worried about that, but, if it’s 30 percent from one county, we should look into it,’ he said.
Snyder said she’d get those figures for the council.
‘With all the money we spend elsewhere in so many other things, I would be ashamed if we couldn’t help,’ Councilman Kyle Nix said before the vote was taken. ‘There’s no more worthy cause. So many veterans are forgotten. And it’s your job to not let that happen.’
Snyder said the disability and other claims her office secures for veterans brings money back into the county.
The goal of the Veterans Service Office is to make it a one-stop option for employment services, support groups, informational meetings and for providing current V.A. information and services.
Snyder said the office was restructured in 2015 and now has an updated database of county veterans, with 509 additions last year and 1,017 claims made on behalf of veterans.
Snyder plans to have open-house events this year for veterans at the office, located on the first floor of the Government Center in south Corydon.
In other business, the council replaced Councilwoman Sherry Brown with Castetter on the job description and classification committee. Brown said it would be good to get someone else on the board since she isn’t running for re-election and this will be her last year on the council.
Gerdon said he thought he should also be replaced (by Nix) on the committee since it will be his last year as well.
Davis said he’d like to keep Gerdon for the experience but welcomed Nix to join the meetings.
The committee now consists of Davis, Gerdon and Castetter.
The financial planning committee remains Davis, Gerdon and Brown.
The council’s next meeting will be Monday, April 11, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center.