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Council OKs equipment for highway department

The Harrison County Highway Dept. is buying several pieces of equipment with a total price tag of $375,000.
The six Harrison County Council members in attendance unanimously made the decision Monday night at the Government Center in Corydon. Councilman Brad Wiseman was not present.
‘In years past, we’ve had as much as $1 million split three ways for the project money within the districts, $333,000 in each district,’ Kevin Russel, the Harrison County engineer, said. ‘We’ve kind of turned our budget over the years to where we’re down to $150,000 each year.’
The purchases will include:
‘ Two compact track loaders with material buckets at $85,000 each.
‘ Two pneumatic tire rollers at $82,000 each.
‘ A 48-inch cold planer at $28,000.
‘ One stump grinder attachment at $8,000.
‘ Two pallet forks at $1,000.
‘ A 48-inch brush grapple bucket at $4,000.
Councilman Kyle Nix had wanted to know prior to the meeting why Russel needed two pneumatic tire rollers.
‘Kevin made a pretty good description as to the need for that,’ he said. ‘It’s because of the roll times on the chipping and sealing, they couldn’t accomplish what they needed to have rolled before the mix cooled.’
Following the equipment approval, Russel updated the council about some additional funding for phase 2B of the Lanesville connector road project.
The right-of-way acquisition expense on the project is an estimated $466,000. The county was originally expected to cover 100% of the costs, but INDOT decided it would use federal dollars for 80% of the costs, with the county now expected to cover the remaining 20%.
It’s roughly a $373,000 savings for the county.
Russel found out about the additional money following a quarterly report meeting with INDOT, a requirement for any project with federal financial assistance.
The project had already received more than $10 million to fund the construction of the project.
‘This is another additional $373,000 on top of that $10 million which will go to the right-of-way acquisition,’ Russel said.
For the first time, the council was involved in the debate on the best way to extend sewer coverage to New Salisbury as a veterinarian looks to establish an office in the area.
The Harrison County Regional Sewer District has three options to extend sewer coverage in the area, all which would give the veterinarian sewer service.
The most expensive, a gravity sewer line, with a lift station for the area, would not only serve the animal clinic, but hundreds of residents in the future. It would cost an estimated $500,000.
‘A half-million dollars will allow us to pick up a veterinarian,’ Councilman Donnie Hussung said, ‘then allow us to run a line to the old golf course property, hoping someday something happens.’
Hussung said there’s not a lot of planned development in the near future for that area.
A residential property nearby would connect to the sewer system immediately, according to the sewer board’s consultant, Bob Woosley of Heritage Engineering. He said the property owner’s septic system recently broke.
Other, less expensive, options include adding pressure lines to get sewer service to existing sewer lines. Those options would help a limited number of other properties in the surrounding area. One option would only expand service to the animal clinic.
Woosley said the earliest the veterinarian would start building the clinic would be in the fall.
Nix said making plans for one customer could backfire if the customer changes plans and would be a bad investment if the county went with the option that only connects one property to the sewer system.
‘I don’t know how much benefit it is for the county to help one individual,’ Nix said, adding the big project would make the most sense, but he wasn’t sure the county has the necessary funding right now.
The council could make a decision at its next scheduled meeting, set for Tuesday, May 28, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center. The meeting was moved from the fourth Monday due to Memorial Day.