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County to use ARP funds for new radio system

Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer [email protected]

The county is finally making use of its American Rescue Plan dollars it has received, as the Harrison County Council unanimously voted at its meeting Nov. 22 to use the funds for a radio and communication service system to span the county.

The request for the $2,216,053 project was made by Harrison County Sheriff Nick Smith on behalf of all emergency services, the parks department and others who use radio systems in the county. When he requested the funds at the council’s prior meeting, on Nov. 8, he explained that it is nearly impossible to get replacement parts for the current system, as it is so old they are no longer in production, thus, making it a serious problem if it were to fail.

After councilman Brad Wiseman seconded the motion to approve the funds, made by Holli Castetter, he said each council member has said at one time that public safety is priority No. 1, making this project of the utmost importance.

“This is a big amount of money,” council chair Donnie Hussung said. “I believe we really need to do it, as our current system is failing the county.”

After approving the multi-million dollar project, the council then moved on to approve a $250,000 loan for the Harrison County Regional Sewer District. This money will fund the effluent force main replacement project at the Berkshire Wastewater Treatment Plant east of New Salisbury.

In another motion made by Castetter, and agreed upon unanimously, the loan for $250,000 will be for five years at 0% interest.

Larry Shickles, superintendent of the Harrison County Parks Dept., approached the council in hopes of finishing portions of the initial Morvin’s Landing project from 2018.

The remaining portions of the project would be to construct a floating boat dock, along with establishing a new lights and cameras system in the parking lot area.

Shickles asked for an additional of $68,700 from the riverboat line to fund this project. He also shared that this request comes in the form of a loan that the parks department will pay back over an approximate 10-year period. Initially, the parks department had about $68,000 left in its fund for the project at the time; however, in December of 2019, there was a shortfall for the Valley View Bridge project taking place that needed these funds. This request would be to replenish the funds used for that.

The reason Shickles wanted to begin this project now is based on the price of parts and materials constantly rising. He said that when the department was able to quote the price earlier this year, the aluminum needed for the boat dock had a price tag of $34,000, and that as of last week that same dock would cost $47,000. He said the goal is to get the parts for the dock ordered by this year so that the price can be locked in before the cost rises again.

In other business, the council unanimously approved an $80,000 request for fuel for the sheriff’s department. They also heard Smith’s request for $17,000 for his overtime line. He shared that the department has this amount in a regular fund but, due to guidelines, they are not able to transfer it. Smith assured the council that the county will see even more than the $17,000 returned at the end of the year.

The council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. at the government center in Corydon.