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Commissioners select bid for courthouse work

Council could approve choice on Monday
Commissioners select bid for courthouse work Commissioners select bid for courthouse work
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

The long-awaited construction project expected to take place at the Harrison County Court House seems to be moving along as the county commissioners approved a bid to be taken to the county council at its next meeting for consideration.

The bid chosen is from Parco Construction Group LLC for a total of $2,328,635, after adding in design fees and other additional costs.

During a joint meeting Friday, the commissioners and council reviewed the bids, and Commissioner Jim Heitkemper believes Parco’s bid is something everyone will be able to agree upon.

“I believe the council is fairly receptive to this plan, but I am sure they will analyze it more because not all council members were at the meeting on Friday,” Heitkemper said.

At Monday night’s meeting, the commissioners also unanimously approved a motion, made by Nelson Stepro, to allow Commissioner Charlie Crawford to sign the agreements regarding the project outside of a meeting in hopes that they will be able to complete the documents without having to wait for another commissioners’ meeting.

A representative of Webster Township Fire District approached the commissioners at the meeting as well to request the establishment of a cumulative fund for the district. The fund would begin in 2022.

The fire district had a public hearing at the beginning of April to notify residents of the district’s desire to establish the fund, but no one from the community attended. The fund would be used to help generate additional revenue in order to help pay for upgrades to equipment.

After Heitkemper noted that this was something they had to do in order to make the Webster Township community better, the commissioners approved this request unanimously.

Kevin Russel, the county highway engineer, updated the commissioners about some ongoing projects, noting that the Lanesville connector road is in phase 2A. He also explained in regard to that project that he had been in meetings with the Indiana Dept. of Transportation about potential funding options for the project, something he hopes to hear back on.

However, in order to be prepared to pay the invoice from the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources, Russel was requesting the commissioners make a motion for him to approach the council requesting $949,840 for this project cost. This would be the maximum cost for the project, but Russel hopes to receive funding from INDOT, in which case he would then be able to lower the request to the council.

The commissioners also approved Russel’s request for $324,955 for rights-of-way to be purchased for phase 2B of the project.

Funding for that, Russel noted, could possibly come from a rejuvenation line the county highway department has in riverboat money with $300,000 in it.

“Given the year we have had, I think everyone is in agreement that the county is in a tough spot,” Russel said. “If you all would like to offer that up to the council from the highway department, I think that might be a good thing to do, and it might relieve some of the burden on the riverboat account for the county.”

The $300,000 of that fund would then be put toward the rights-of-way payments, according to Russel, and then he would be able to reduce the original request to what balance remains.

He also told the commissioners he would soon begin the search to replace three employees at the highway department, after two highway crewmen voiced their resignations this week. This is in addition to the search for an operator for District 2, who resigned recently as well.

Both Heitkemper and Crawford were interested in reading through exit interviews from past employees in hopes they can find a way to decrease personnel turnover issues.

The commissioners are scheduled to meet again on Monday, May 3, at 8:30 a.m. at the government center in Corydon.