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NMVFD seeks OK for new tanker

An agreement between Harrison County and its fire chiefs calls for a new tanker truck for the New Middletown Volunteer Fire Dept. in 2020. It is part of the Harrison County Fire Chiefs Association’s three-year plan that totals slightly less than $1.5 million.

Mike Riley, chief of the New Middletown VFD, discussed his department’s proposal Monday night at the Harrison County Council meeting.

“We’re coming to you to ask for $350,000 as part of the three-year plan we’ve talked about in the past,” Riley said.

The chief said the department has already gotten specifications on a new tanker, which would take a 1993 tanker out of service.

“It’s actually out of service now because it’s got issues,” Riley told the council.

He said the fire department is looking at ways to fix it so it will last until the new tanker arrives.

The total cost of the new truck, with the offer available until March 4, according to Riley, is $360,983.

“We’re going to come up with the rest, outside of the $350,000,” Riley said.

Councilor Holli Castetter reviewed the three-year plan. She verified New Middletown was scheduled to be the 2020 recipient of funds allowed in the gentleman’s agreement. She added that last year the council approved $610,000, with Milltown’s volunteer fire department receiving $300,000 for a pumper truck and Harrison Township’s fire department receiving $310,000 for new breathing apparatus equipment.

Under the fire chief’s agreement, fire departments discuss the county’s biggest fire protection needs and inform the county commissioners and council what should be funded during a three-year window. The agreement includes not spending more than a combined $1 million over a two-year span, and the overall amount is kept under $1.5 million.

The final year of this three-year agreement calls for the construction of a new fire house in Palmyra in 2021.

“We’ll take action in two weeks,” council president Donnie Hussung told Riley.

The council’s next meeting will be Monday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in Corydon.

That’s also when the council could decide to give leftover 2019 spay and neuter program funds to a humane society to help control the county’s animal population.

Commissioner Charlie Crawford said the program had $4,539 remaining at the end of 2019.

“Our intention was to use that up on a clinic late in the year,” Crawford said. “But, my fault, I guess, that we didn’t get that done.”

The leftover money went back into the county’s riverboat fund since it was not used. To approve this request, the council would need to approve an additional for the same amount that wasn’t spent in 2019.

“We were down days last year where the public couldn’t come in and ask to do that,” Crawford said.

HEART Humane Society has asked for the funds to stretch the money further to help more animals and county residents in the spring.

“We set up a contract with The Snip Clinic that’s over in Louisville,” Erin Sizemore, who is with HEART Humane, said. “The most they charge us under the contract is $85.”

Sizemore said veterinarians in the county might charge as much as $300 to spay a dog. The county’s spay/neuter voucher, which is limited to two free vouchers a year per household, is for a $20 discount off the price to spay or neuter a cat or dog.

“That’s still a drop in the bucket,” Sizemore said. “A lot of people still can’t afford that.”

The humane society is planning to accept animals in March to be spayed or neutered and could take as many as 20. Similar events would take place throughout the year for county residents to help address animal control.

Sizemore said her organization already has approximately $1,500 of its own money to help with spay and neuter assistance. HEART plans to have a fundraiser at Corydon Presbyterian Church on Saturday, April 4, to raise more funds to help with this program.

The $85 fee is close to $10 off the regular price to get an animal spayed or neutered, but Sizemore said some residents don’t have the time, the transportation or don’t want to make the trip to Louisville to get the better price for controlling animal population.

Sizemore said HEART would have a meeting area for residents who want to get their pet to The Snip Clinic. The humane society would transport the animals to the clinic, be there for the procedure and then return the animals back to the county for owners to pick them up.