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Boone Twp. looks to buy new fire truck

Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

Jeff Hess, chief of the Boone Township Volunteer Fire Dept., approached the Harrison County Council at its meeting Monday evening to discuss funds he intends to use toward the purchase of a new fire truck.

The county has a gentleman’s agreement with the Harrison County Fire Chiefs Association, according to council chair Donnie Hussung. Normally, $500,000 a year is allocated to the fire departments, which then develop a plan for how to spend the dollars. However, during the recent budget sessions, the council decided to make a cut to that funding, decreasing what was $1.5 million over a three-year period down to $900,000 in that time frame.

Hess intends to use $250,000, as agreed upon by the fire chiefs, to fund a portion of the truck purchase. He has not placed an order for the vehicle yet but seemed content with Councilman Kyle Nix’s suggestion to return for the full amount in January when it is time to use the funds.

Eric Wise, who was representing the Harrison County Land Conservation Committee, was before the council requesting $45,000 on behalf of the committee to fund legal expenses in regard to an easement project. The request came from four individuals who would like to establish a conservation easement on a piece of property in order to better secure farmland preservation in the area.

However, after a motion was made by Councilman Richard Gerdon, to approve the funding, there was much discussion on if it was a wise decision or not.

Councilwomen Jennie Capelle and Holli Castetter both shared their hesitation with the funding, saying this would set a precedent that anyone who came before the council to receive this same style of funding would think they should receive it.

Capelle said she would like to see more stipulations and structure behind who can and can’t receive this funding. And, Castetter said she wasn’t sure if this is what Harrison County taxpayers’ money should go toward.

Wise mentioned two more similar requests would be coming to the council next year.

“I’m just not sure our taxpayers should pay for this,” Hussung said. “In our last budget cycle, we cut funding to schools and the fire departments, so I can’t see increasing the budget for this expense.”

Ultimately, the motion did not pass, 1-6, with only Gerdon voting in favor of the request.

Later in the meeting, the council unanimously approved funding requests from the Harrison County Parks Dept. Two of those will go toward completing the floating dock project at Morvin’s Landing near Mauckport, a project that has been going on since 2018.

One request, for $68,000, will go toward the purchasing of materials for the floating dock. This is funding the county had originally appropriated for the project but the commissioners had ultimately used it for the ​​Valley View project.

Another approved funding request pertaining to the project was the approval to use about $77,000 from the Morvin’s Landing farm revenue line that can only be used for enhancements to that area.

During county engineer Kevin Russel’s address to the council, he shared that he intends to apply for another Community Crossing grant to be used for another countywide resurfacing project. He is currently working on the list of roads that would be impacted.

Councilman Ross Schulz said he was pleased to hear that the grant would be used for that style of project.

Russel also said he had a couple of change orders that needed approval in regard to the Lanesville connector road, which were approved unanimously by the council.

Harrison County Sheriff Nick Smith’s request for $17,000 to be transferred to his department’s part-time line to cover costs while some employees are required to be absent due to military work was unanimously approved at the meeting, too.

The council’s next meeting will be Monday, Dec. 27, at 7 p.m. at the government center in Corydon.