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Council approves purchase of generator

The Harrison County Council decided to move forward with replacing its aging generator at the justice center during a call-in meeting Monday night.

The county will spend $139,084 to replace the generator after determining only one company made continuous efforts to get awarded the project.

The project was originally not to cost more than $100,000, and council president Donnie Hussung said, when officials learned it would cost more, the process to find the county the best price should have started over.

“When the original appropriation of $100,000 was withdrawn, it should have been established that the project was going to exceed that limit; a formal quote process should have been adhered to,” Hussung said. “Didn’t happen.”

Hussung said discussions about the generator included talks about bids and quotes, which he admitted has different meanings. Since the last meeting, the council has determined that projects between $50,000 and $150,000 require quotes, according to Indiana state code. Although Hussung admitted the legal interpretation in state codes varies in opinion, like this situation regarding the purchase of the generator.

Hussung said the county has to go with the lowest quote received or can reject all quotes it receives.

The council unanimously approved the project, and Hussung acknowledged a possible disagreement between the council and board of commissioners due to renovations at the downtown Corydon courthouse, where some members of the council believe they were left out of the loop regarding the scope of the project, which is costing more than first estimated.

“The drama created by the downtown courthouse fiasco has strained the relationship between the two bodies of county government,” Hussung said.

Hussung added it has been challenging to move past the situation.

“We need to stop second guessing the intentions of each other,” he said.

In other county business, on Monday morning the Harrison County Board of Commissioners had a special meeting to sign a memorandum of understanding regarding the Harrison County Small Business COVID-19 Loan Relief Program, following legal review. The board’s legal counsel, Chris Byrd, suggested another attorney look it over because Byrd said he likely would be applying for the loan as the owner of Corydon Cinemas.

The loan program has at least $300,000 in funds to help businesses. The Harrison County Community Foundation board will meet Monday to decide whether it will contribute to the fund. The county has promised to match $100,000 to bring the fund’s total to $500,000.