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Commissioners fret about funding for road projects

Commissioners fret about funding for road projects Commissioners fret about funding for road projects
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

At the Harrison County Board of Commissioners’ meeting Monday evening, Commissioner Jim Heitkemper expressed concern that the county council would not approve highway director Kevin Russel’s request for $900,000 to go toward paving roads throughout the county.

The budget for paving projects in Harrison County, appropriated by the council, was about $1.5 million last year, and the county has appropriated about $600,000 thus far this year.

“We can’t keep expecting Community Crossing grants to fund the paving of our roads,” Heitkemper said. “We need to move forward and take care of our roads. If nobody plays politics, we can get this done by the end of the year.”

Heitkemper proposed pulling the paving of Doolittle Hill Road off the table, in order to ensure other roads he believes are in worse conditions will receive treatment from the highway department.

Russel expressed that even if each district’s commissioner removed roads from the list, it would still add up to quite a bit of funds he would be requesting from the council, which he wasn’t certain they would approve.

He also informed the commissioners that, based on scoring, they have chosen SJCA, an engineering and surveying group, to lead the repairs on Bridge No. 25 on Corydon-New Middletown Road. He received a unanimous vote to approach the council to request $182,185 to be moved out of the cumulative bridge fund for this project.

While agreements and contracts are still being worked out between the county and SJCA, Russel said the amount will not exceed the fund request, and, if anything, the cost could possibly go down.

Julie Moorman, president and CEO of the Harrison County Community Foundation, and Derrick Grigsby, the Foundation’s chief financial officer, approached the commissioners to give them a quarterly update on the Foundation and its investments.

Moorman explained she is moving forward with her town planning project by working with Jill Saegesser, vice president of economic development at The Wheatley Group.

She also noted that a photo contest is currently taking place with the HCCF to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Participants are encouraged to submit photos in three categories: around the county, faces of Harrison County and conservation. Moorman said entries must be submitted online by 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8, and five winners will be selected. To learn more, she advised those interested should go to hccfindiana.org/25th-Anniversary.

In other business, an additional request of $5,300 was made by Harrison County Animal Control for expenditures made from travel, overtime, animal fees and other supplies. This request was unanimously passed on to the council.

Darrell Voelker also approached the commissioners to present them a resolution he hoped to get Commissioner Charlie Crawford’s signature on. The resolution would allow Voelker to state that Harrison County is participating in the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) for Indiana regions to promote investments.

Voelker said if this resolution is approved, he would submit a proposal for an infrastructure project he hoped to get funded by this initiative.

The commissioners agreed to take Voelker’s request under advisement and get him more answers at an upcoming meeting.

The commissioners’ next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Aug 16, at 7 p.m. at the government center in Corydon.

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