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Council sets county’s budget at $34.9M-plus

Harrison County’s 2019 budget is set, with very little commentary.
The Harrison County Council adopted its revenue and spending for the upcoming year at its final October meeting, totaling $34,954,242.
The grand total passed unanimously by the six councilmembers present, following the second reading at a public meeting on Oct. 21. Councilman Sam Day was absent due to a commitment with his job.
There were no comments from the council or the public following either reading in the month. The council had the first reading of its 2019 budget at its Oct. 9 meeting.
The county’s general fund, which covers nearly 30 offices the county financially supports, comes in at a little less than $10.4 million.
The county’s riverboat fund is higher. The council approved it at $13.3 million.
Both funds must be submitted to the Indiana Dept. of Local Government Finance, which ensures property tax assessment and local governments are budgeting in accordance to Indiana law.
Property taxes are expected to generate slightly less than $7 million in 2019.
The council had said at its first meeting of the month that it would set a 1.5-percent pay raise for all county employees.
In other business, a new security system for the Harrison County Court House has been tabled again.
The council is looking to replace a nearly two-decade old surveillance camera system after two separate incidents at the courthouse. So far, the council has only seen one quote, and Councilman Kyle Nix believes the nearly $45,000 proposal may be too much.
‘I think it’s 14, or something, exterior cameras,’ Nix said. ‘Is it a necessity to have that number?’
Nix said the proposal puts cameras across Capitol Avenue from the courthouse on the Harrison County Discovery Center, which captures people coming in and out of the courthouse. Nix said the cameras may not actually get the courthouse entrances and surrounding areas very well and the price should come down if fewer cameras are needed outside.
‘I don’t want to hold the process up of security at the courthouse,’ said Nix, who added employees at the courthouse he’s spoken with are most concerned about replacing the cameras inside the downtown building.
A motion was made to go ahead with the plan, but it ended in a stalemate. Nix, Donnie Hussung and Gary Byrne all voted against the approval. Byrne had abstained from voting on the matter during a previous meeting due to the proposal being from a competitor of his in the private sector and had said he would abstain from casting a vote during this meeting, too.
Five councilmembers then decided to table the decision until the council’s first meeting next month, scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 13 (moved from Nov. 12 due to Veterans Day). Councilwoman Jennie Capelle voted against the decision.
‘I just think the commissioners are addressing the issue of the security and they’ve sent it to us,’ Capelle said. ‘It’s not really my job to know the distance of every camera. That’s why we have the companies that quote that. Our security systems at school are very expensive. I don’t know that’s outside what you would get anywhere else.’
The council had first tabled the issue to see more quotes on the project. David Neel of CyberTek Engineering was not at either council meeting this month, and the council said it has not seen any other quotes for the work.
Reminders from the Harrison County Highway Dept. included:
‘ The intersection of Big Indian and Tee roads would be closed for one of the department’s last remaining major projects of the year. The work is expect to last two to four weeks and will cut two hills and raise a low area to improve sight distance at this intersection prior to it being paved later this fall.
‘ The end is nearing on the Indian Creek Trail Project. Some paving work remains, but the largest remaining items are confined to the area around the bridge. Work on one of the two remaining end bents for the bridge is in progress. Once the last two end bents are completed, the rehabilitated bridge and two short approach spans will be set. Once that happens, the remaining work will wrap up quickly.
‘ Corydon-Ramsey Road between Pacer Drive and Quarry Road re-opened. The intersection of Corydon-Ramsey and Pacer Drive has been made into a four-way stop.
One final coat of asphalt will be placed before winter and then the road will be re-striped.