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Sewer board seeks funds to aid expansion project

Sewer board seeks funds to aid expansion project Sewer board seeks funds to aid expansion project
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

Tom Tucker, president of the Harrison County Regional Sewer District board, and Bob Woosley of Heritage Engineering, approached the Harrison County commissioners at their meeting Monday morning to review a plant expansion project and gauge the commissioners’ interests in potential funding opportunities.

The idea of expanding the Berkshire wastewater treatment plant east of New Salisbury is not a new one, as the board has been discussing the ongoing issues at the plant for quite some time. However, this is the first time the sewer district board has approached county officials for assistance in funding the project.

The need for expansion comes from having a current capacity limit of 60,000 gallons per day. With the ongoing build-out of several residential developments and possible commercial real estate, the district will be required by Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management standards to expand the plant in order to supply enough water flow each day.

The expansion plan is projected to cost about $2.8 million.

Woosley said the district is still waiting to hear back on how much money, if any at all, will be received from the state revolving fund to contribute to this project, something the sewer board applied for recently. He said that number should be known by the end of July.

He also presented the commissioners with expected rate increases to customers in correlation with how much grant and funding dollars they receive. Currently, he said, the customers average about $76 a month on their sewer bill. Ideally, the sewer board would like to not see that rise by much as the state encourages districts to aim to keep those bills at around $70.

Woosley and Tucker both said they hoped the county would be able to use some of the money it will receive from the 2021 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act toward the expansion project.

However, Commissioner Nelson Stepro explained to the men that both county governing bodies had agreed to not commit to giving any funds from the CARES Act to any organization or board presently. He noted both the commissioners and council agreed to wait until the budget for 2022 is complete first, and then they can explore various avenues to disperse funds.

Commissioner Charlie Crawford said they plan to know more about where and how funds will be spent from the CARES Act by September or October.

“This expansion project will help maintain affordable housing at the Berkshire Mobile Home Park that services 120 units currently and has room for more growth,” Woosley said. “It will also help promote growth with the oncoming build-outs in the community. If we don’t get funding, we can’t allow these expansions, so we really would appreciate any help we can receive.”

In other business at the meeting, representatives of Leadership Harrison County’s class of 2021 detailed its class project to the commissioners. The class is working with Harrison County Hospital to bring a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program to the county.

With the completion of the program, registered nurses will have specialized education and clinical preparation in the medical forensic care of a patient who has experienced sexual assault or abuse.

Currently, Harrison County does not have this so any victim of sexual assault or abuse needing forensic care must travel to Floyd County or to Louisville.

Through the partnership with the hospital, Leadership Harrison County will provide the funding for the equipment and training for the nurses, and the hospital agrees to work on managing and sustaining the program.

Julie Moorman, CEO/president of the Harrison County Community Foundation, explained the class is not seeking any dollars from county funds, but did encourage those who feel compelled to donate to Leadership Harrison County’s project to do so on the website.

The class has a goal of raising $10,000.

Nathan Broom, executive director of LHC, also noted that applications for the 2022 LHC class will open Friday. The cost is $500 for a full year of tuition if chosen. Those interested in applying can find the form and more information on LHC’s website.

Kevin Russel, engineer and director of the Harrison County Highway Dept., approached the commissioners with a couple of personnel changes after having an employee recently resign, which caused internal shifts for other positions after an internal hire.

He also noted that the construction at Doolittle Hill Road is complete and the road is fully operable now.

Russel said he expects to hear back this week on the decision regarding his recent Community Crossing grant application.

The commissioners’ next regular meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 19, at 7 p.m. at the government center in Corydon.