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Council approves funding for Elizabeth, Palmyra

The Harrison County Council Monday night approved two requests out of riverboat gaming funds for town utilities in Harrison County to help alleviate two immediate threats to the water and wastewater systems in Elizabeth and Palmyra.
First, the board approved a request of $165,000 for the Town of Elizabeth to help with its drainage ditch issue.
The total cost of the project is $210,000, with Elizabeth paying the remaining costs.
The vote was not unanimous, however, as council chair Gary Davis and Holli Castetter voted against. Davis expressed he thought the deal should be split 50-50 between the town and county.
The plan will stabilize a ditch threatening a well field and, in turn, the water supply for 4,000 residents and Horseshoe Southern Indiana at Bridgeport.
Burns said the entire water aquifer that serves the well is also in danger of contamination, according to a Midwest Engineering report.
The well field, near the intersection of state roads 211 and 111, is one of the best in the region with an aquifer that produces water that is soft and clean enough to drink directly, Burns said.
Burns said the ditch was created more than 20 years ago by a re-route project conducted by the Indiana Dept. of Transportation to relieve flooding of a small bridge on S.R. 111. The ditch has slowly been growing since and is now more than 120 feet wide and at least 20 feet deep.
The stabilizing plan will be a 50-year fix, Burns said.
The vote to approve was 4-2, with Councilman Sam Day absent. Day relayed his support for the request, however, through Councilman Kyle Nix.
Second, the board unanimously approved the other utility request, this one in the amount of $200,000 for the revamping of the Palmyra wastewater treatment plant and system.
The funding will be a part of a multi-agency effort to pay for the more than $1.2 million overhaul.
The Harrison County Community Foundation has been asked to match the county’s $200,000, the Town of Palmyra plans to contribute $100,000 and the remainder will be funded with a potential grant from the Indiana Office of Community & Rural Affairs and a revolving loan.
The current system is in failing condition and can’t handle flood events, according to Palmyra officials.
In other business, the council heard a request from Tanya Tuell of River Valley Humane Society (and former spay and neuter coordinator for the county) for an increase in spay and neuter funding for the year from $30,000 to $35,000.
Bruce LaHue, the former county animal control officer, said the county could cut the funding from $30,000 to $25,000 because funding was routinely leftover.
The council is currently in the 2017 budget process and had a meeting last night (Tuesday) and will meet again tonight and tomorrow night at the Government Center in south Corydon. Those meetings all begin at 5.
The council’s next regular meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m.