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Fate of WWTP up in the air

Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

The Harrison County Council will have an impactful decision to make at its next meeting, as it was able to hear the Harrison County Regional Sewer District’s request for $250,000 during its meeting Monday evening.

The funds requested would cover the immediate need to replace a force main and an effluent pump near the Berkshire Wastewater Treatment Plant, an area that has caused tremendous trouble for the district.

Ultimately, however, Tom Tucker, the sewer district board president, said the entirety of the cost for rebuilding and doubling the capacity of the treatment plant in New Salisbury would be a $3.5-million project. However, he said that it was obvious the small amount of customers they currently have could not field the payments that would increase up to 66% if this project were to continue without any county funding.

If the district isn’t able to continue with the project, it will not be able to allow new developments to continue or add new construction in the New Salisbury area.

To reconstruct and put in new lines under the mobile home park, the area that is causing the majority of the problems, would require the district to be in control of that system, which is currently owned by SSK Co. Communities.

SSK has agreed to turn over that system to the district, but Tucker said it is important to him that the contract both parties agree to hold them accountable for some portion of the repairs and replacement projects.

Without that contract being complete, many council members voiced their fears that SSK would not agree to what the sewer district hopes for.

Councilman Brad Wiseman said he believes other parties really needed to play a bigger part in this. He would like to hear how the sewer district board plans to approach this contract.

Council president Donnie Hussung explained that his problem with the project is the regional sewer district bought this system, agreed to treat the sewage there and now is finding out it’s outdated, and “now the county is being asked to fix that for them.” However, he did say he sees the importance of having this system fully operable.

“I feel that putting our resources into projects like this is better than putting our resources together to continue to build things that cost us nothing but maintenance continually,” Hussung said.

“We have to get this down to where the customer can afford it,” Tucker responded. “This is economic development and will be beneficial to everyone in the county. All we are asking now is $250,000 to get an effluent line in.”

The council is expected to vote on the request at its next meeting, which will be Monday, June 28, at 7 p.m. at the government center in Corydon.

Kevin Russel, county engineer and director of the highway department, approached the council to request to appropriate insurance funds for a repair on his company truck after he was struck by a deer recently while driving. The council should vote on this matter at its next meeting.

Jeff Hess, chief of the Boone Township Volunteer Fire Dept., presented the council with the requests for upcoming years of funding for the county fire departments.

The nine fire departments in the county are on a rotating schedule to receive funding, with Boone Township, Palmyra and Lanesville agreed upon to receive the funding for next cycle by the fire chiefs. The request should come to a vote at the next council meeting.

Larry Shickles, superintendent of the county parks department, asked the council to allow him to move $7,000 from a non-reverting fund to purchase a lawn mower the parks department has been renting. The request is expected to be voted on at the June 28 meeting.

In additional requests for advertisements, the council denied a $1,890 request in the part-time line for Harrison County Animal Control that would go toward raises for employees at the facility. Councilwoman Holli Castetter said they had previously decided to revisit this at budget time and would like to continue on with that decision.