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Funds approved for outdoor Christmas market

Council passes county budget for next year
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

After hosting the first reading of the 2022 Harrison County budget on Oct. 12, the county council voted 6-0 (Brad Wiseman was absent from the vote) Monday evening to approve the  budget as adopted. No changes were made between the first and second readings.

After the reading of the budget at the meeting on Oct. 12, Larry Shickles, superintendent of the Harrison County Parks Dept., approached the council to explain that, due to COVID-19, many maintenance repair fees and part costs have increased in pricing. Because of that increase, the additionals he requested are to get the department through the remainder of the year.

He requested $4,000 for the fuel line, $500 for hardware, $1,000 for plumbing and electrical, $4,700 for contractual services and $900 for unexpected repairs.

Finally, Shickles asked the council for $7,500, which will be matched with $7,500 from the Town of Corydon, and will be used to purchase equipment needed to support the outdoor Christmas market that will take place during A Merry Country Christmas, an event put on by the parks department.

The event is scheduled to run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting Nov. 26 and lasting until Dec. 12. Currently, the parks department uses wagons to drive people through a Christmas lights display along a portion of the Indian Creek Trail during that time, and Shickles said his intent is for this market to be another anchor point for what he plans to call Hometown Christmas.

“You will probably see more of this Hometown Christmas marketing next year,” he told the council. “We didn’t want to spend a lot of money to have people come to town just for lights, so our goal is to bring people in and then hope they stay to shop and spend money in restaurants and places downtown to help our economy.”

He also shared that once this event begins to generate revenue, his intent is to create a non-reverting fund that would allow additional funds from the event to continue the future of it year after year.

In a motion made by Kyle Nix, the council unanimously voted to approve the $7,500 to be taken out of the parks and recreation fund.

The other additional requests from Shickles at the Oct. 12 meeting were approved.

Also at the Oct. 12 meeting, Harrison County Circuit Court Judge T. John Evans approached the council in hopes of receiving additional money to cover FICA and PERF for a grant-funded position he was recently awarded.

During the summer, Evans explained, he facilitated numerous conversations with community leaders in regard to the mental health crisis. From those conversations, he expressed his desire to create a specialty court specifically for mental health. This is something only three courts in the state currently have.

The grant-funded position from the Indiana Supreme Court office would allow for a 12-month employment at $50,000 salary for a coordinator who would handle cases transferred from the superior court that deal with the mental health of a client.

The ideal candidate, Evans explained, would meet certain education levels as well as have at least three years in criminal justice or human services, or an advanced degree in either area.

The grant will be available to be approved for a second year but would require additional applications after the first stint. After that time, Evans said he would be interested in reviewing the success of the position and then evaluate if it should be continued.

The council has yet to vote on this request.

The council will meet next on Monday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. at the government center in Corydon.