Posted on

Council narrowly reverses decision to fund HCLL

Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

The Harrison County Council met last Wednesday to make more budget adjustments for the coming year, including reversing its decision on funding the Harrison County Lifelong Learning center.

Councilwoman Jennie Capelle brought numerous documents with numbers and facts proving the need for the center in the community. One document she introduced was put out by Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Workforce Cabinet with a section that read, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, state data shows Hoosiers have a heightened interest in Next Level jobs. The Next Level jobs website has seen over 100,000 site visits from January to June, and the daily average for site visits has doubled during the pandemic.”

“This document just kind of highlights the need for Lifelong Learning and how the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet is putting things in place to try to soften the blow of people being out of work and trying to get back to work,” Capelle said. “Our people have to go somewhere to get these different trainings. It is a benefit for our community to have that in our back door.”

After much discussion among the councilmembers, Capelle made a motion to fund Harrison County Lifelong Learning $85,000 for 2021. The motion passed with a 4-3 vote, with Holli Castetter, Gary Byrne and Ross Schulz opposing the motion.

Two full-time positions were also discussed and approved at the board meeting, one for the Harrison County Parks Dept. and the other with the sheriff’s department.

Larry Shickles, superintendent of the parks department, presented to the council a request for a full-time aquatics manager position. Salary for this position would be $42,500 plus benefits.

Brad Wiseman made the motion, seconded by Capelle, to approve the aquatics director position. The motion was approved 4-2 with Schulz and Castetter opposed.

The Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept. was approved to hire another full-time dispatcher, at a salary of $33,628.

According to Councilman Kyle Nix, Sheriff Nick Smith has said many officers are working overtime to compensate for this position’s duties and they just simply need someone to take this on full time.

The funding for the dispatcher position will be taken out of the E911 fund.

This motion passed with unanimous approval.

Workshops for the 2021 budget began July 31. The final budget for next year is expected to be formally adopted next month.