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Disease concerns lead coroner to request a new pick-up truck

Concerns over exposure to disease, and the need to replace an aging minivan, could get the Harrison County coroner a new vehicle in 2018.
Coroner Gary Gilley brought two examples from 2017 to the attention of the Harrison County Board of Commissioners during its Monday morning meeting for why the department needed to purchase a pick-up truck.
Gilley said last year the department had two cases that raised red flags. In one case, the body of a person who had died of tuberculosis was moved. The other was a case of bacterial spinal meningitis.
‘Everybody who was in that van was exposed to those,’ Gilley said.
Those individuals did get vaccinations since then, he added.
‘These minivans, nobody can guarantee me that they can put a divider in there that (the disease) doesn’t get involved in the air conditioning and the heating,’ Gilley said. ‘With some of these diseases, they could be capable of living inside of there for days. With a pick-up truck, you don’t have that problem.’
The Harrison County coroner said a similar situation happened in northern Indiana where a coroner was exposed to disease so he went out and bought a pickup.
‘He converted it into a coroner’s vehicle, separating the occupants, driver and body-retrieval officials from the diseases,’ Gilley said. ‘We’ve been pursuing this since last July.’
Gilley said John Jones Auto Group has quoted his department for a half-ton, four-wheel drive, single cab pick-up truck which includes an aluminum topper, at $30,716.93.
The quote includes space for tool boxes, emergency lighting, lettering the front and back of the truck, a rear-view back-up camera and lowering the rear springs of the truck to allow the coroner and his staff to more easily put bodies into the back of the truck.
Officials also are considering an additional $995 that would fit the truck with a two-cot tray with four-inch walls that would be used to transport the deceased.
‘Is that something that could fit a casket in there?’ asked Commissioner Charlie Crawford.
Gilley wasn’t sure, but Crawford said he knows the department doesn’t haul caskets very often.
The coroner’s office has been using a Chevrolet minivan since 2006. Gilley said the pickup, if purchased, should last the department 20 to 30 years.
‘The topper is a life-time purchase and the cot tray is a life-time purchase,’ Gilley said.
The commissioners approved Gilley to take his request to the county council at its next meeting, which will be Monday at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.
Other county business included representatives from the Posey-Taylor Township Fire Protection District who provided an update on the creation of the district which began this year.
The district’s attorney, Adam Burkhardt, said the district recently had its budget approved by the Indiana State Board of Accounts. A previous Corydon Democrat story reported the fire district is expected to generate $465,000 annually, with property owners seeing a 12-cent tax rate per $100 of assessed valuation. Funds are expected to start going to the fire district in July.
Leaders of the district and the Elizabeth Volunteer Fire Dept. have begun outlining a contract that would determine the terms for the fire department providing fire protection services to the two townships.
The district’s president, Steven Day, said the district’s board is expecting a vacancy.
Commissioner Kenny Saulman told Day to give him and the other commissioners a list of names so the candidates could be interviewed.
‘Get that done as soon as you can,’ Saulman said.
Day said he would get a list to them this week.
Bids on phase three of the Corydon-New Middletown Road reconstruction project were opened at the meeting. The lowest bidder was Temple & Temple Excavating & Paving of Salem, submitting a base bid of $2,459,615.65. The work calls for repaving the road from near Montgomery Road to New Middletown.
A contract for the project could be awarded at the next commissioners’ meeting, which will be Tuesday, Feb. 20 (moved from Monday because of Presidents Day), at 7 p.m., at the Government Center.