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Sewer district’s request goes to council

Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners moved numerous large project requests forward to the council at its meeting Monday morning.

One of the projects approved was the replacement of an effluent force main to help the Harrison County Regional Sewer District with its expansion plans for the Berkshire wastewater treatment plant near New Salisbury. This project has taken various shapes to receive approval from the county, and the current $250,000 request seems to have the most legs to get accomplished.

Commission chair Charlie Crawford said the commissioners had numerous talks with council members and others to determine the best way of funding this project, whether it be a grant from the Harrison County Community Foundation or from the county, but that they are hoping to get the project completed for the district.

Commissioner Nelson Stepro made the motion, which passed unanimously, to send the request to the council.

Later in the meeting, Harrison County Sheriff Nick Smith approached the commissioners to request $2,216,053 for a completely new radio and communication system for the county. This was a group decision made by officials from the police department, fire departments, emergency services, animal control, parks department and others who utilize the radio system in the county.

The bid chosen by the group, from Electronic Communication System, was nearly a million dollars less than other bidders and had a much shorter turnaround time from purchase.

Smith explained that they are currently working with the council to determine the best funding options for the restructuring, but, once approved and a down payment has been placed, it should only take about six months for ECS to make the switch.

The commissioners unanimously approved for Smith to approach the council with this request.

Smith also asked for an additional of $80,000 for the fuel line to get the department through the rest of the year.

“There is no way we can ever figure out what gas and fuel will be for the year,” Smith said. “And we normally have to return to ask for this additional even when gas prices haven’t increased, but they have significantly (increased), so that is why the number is so high.”

This request was unanimously approved 3-0.

Julie Moorman, CEO and president of the Harrison County Community Foundation, presented a report to the commissioners, which included updates on the ongoing town planning initiative the Foundation has been working on with each incorporated town.

“Lanesville, Palmyra, New Middletown and Laconia have already started the process of creating their town plans and are moving along really well,” Moorman shared. “This will be a three-year process that we hope the county can use for a countywide plan.”

Moorman was also pleased to welcome Zach Stephens of Mainstream Fiber Networks to discuss updates with the broadband service’s work for the county with the commissioners.

Stephens explained that currently there is the possibility for service for 10,300 areas in the county, and that 3,400 residential homes are currently using Mainstream as their provider for internet access. He also shared that Mainstream’s goal, in 2022, is to add 1,000 new areas of service for the county.

“Harrison County continues to be our No. 1 customer base,” Stephens said. “We intend in the next year to add a line down (S.R.) 135 into Mauckport to help provide more service to those residents as well.”

The commissioners thanked Stephens and Mainstream Fiber for the work they do in the community.

Kevin Russel, Harrison County engineer and highway department director, said that the sitework is underway for Amazon in Lanesville, but he doesn’t anticipate the work to actually begin until early spring.

He shared that after meeting with the supervisor for the project they both determined that it would be a good idea to decrease the speed limit along the road as to help reduce the possibility of accidents or other issues.

The commissioners agreed with Russel’s suggestion to put a temporary speed limit change to 25 miles per hour only directly around the site until the construction is completed. This motion passed unanimously.

The commissioners also unanimously agreed to approach the council to request monies to cover any fees regarding the project of making New Salisbury an incorporated town.

“This has been a long time coming; I’m glad we are moving forward with it,” Commissioner Jim Heitkemper said.

The commissioners’ next regular meeting will be Monday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. at the government center in Corydon.