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Leavenworth fire district gets green light

February 03, 2010
The Crawford County Board of Commissioners, at its meeting Thursday evening in English, gave the go-ahead for the Leavenworth Volunteer Fire Department to form a fire district.

Commissioner James Schultz, whose District 3 includes the proposed fire district, made the motion to adopt the ordinance presented by attorney Marcus Burger III that approves the request of the Leavenworth Volunteer Fire Department. District 2 Commissioner Randy Gilmore seconded the motion, and Larry Bye, president of the board, made the vote 3-0.

The department, the only one of the four in the county not to be a district, in December presented the commissioners with a petition signed by the required amount of freeholders requesting that a district be formed.

The property tax rate for the district would be 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, LVFD Assistant Chief Jeff LaHue told the commissioners at their December meeting. The department, he said, currently has little money to operate on, once it makes payments on its trucks and pays insurance and other costs.

Besides the town of Leavenworth, the district will include Jennings, Boone and Ohio townships and the town of Alton. There had been question as to whether Alton would be part of the district, but, in the past month, town officials agreed to do so.

The townships currently pay the fire department for service, but, once the district is operating, the department's budget will be funded from tax revenue only.

The commissioners also voted 3-0 to appoint the following to the district's board: Paul Miller, Alton; Gary Kemp, Boone Township; Carla LaHue, Jennings Township; Jeff LaHue, Leavenworth; and Gary Wiseman, Ohio Township.

In another matter, the commissioners received an update from Nathan Held of Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission on a grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs the county received to conduct a feasibility study for a health care facility.

The $40,900 grant requires a $4,600 match from the county, and Indiana 15 RPC will be the grant administrator at a cost of $4,500, which will come from the local match.

"The feasibility study," Matt Reuff of Shrewsberry & Associates LLC said, "would be to look at the health care needs, look at the potential for a feasibility that would help supplement existing care providers here in the county, to see if that would make sense independently or what the options would be perhaps with other regional providers."

The study must be completed by the end of October, but Reuff said a draft plan, with potential locations, should be available for the commissioners' review by May.

"So, we would be looking at possibly more than one (site) option that might be feasible?" Schultz asked.

"Correct," Reuff responded.

Held and Reuff were joined by architect Brent Williams of The Estopinal Group.

The commissioners voted 3-0 to approve the contract with Indiana 15 RPC contingent upon the county council providing the funding.

In other business, the commissioners:

•Were notified by Sheriff Tim Wilkerson that he is working on a procedure policy for having an officer staff the metal detector during open hours at the judicial complex.

Wilkerson and Deputy Shawn Scott have been working on the policy and plan to present it to the commissioners at their next meeting.

Guns, knives and other weapons are prohibited from the judicial complex and while a metal detector has been in place since the facility opened several years ago, it has been used sporadically. However, it has been manned for the past couple of weeks.

Wilkerson said the officer would be trained with full arrest powers. Although the officer would be under his department, the circuit court likely will provide the funding, he said.

•Voted, 3-0, to pay $69,248 for the relocation of sewer and water utility lines in the Milltown bridge project. While Crawford County is responsible for all of the cost of the utility relocation, Harrison County is paying 60 percent of the remaining cost of the project.

The two-lane bridge, which will connect Harrison and Crawford counties at Blue River, is expected to open in March.

•Voted, 3-0, contingent to the county council providing the funding, to approve a contract for approximately $143,000 to have the Recorder's and Auditor's offices linked. This will allow the county to complete its mapping — including the state-required 18-digit parcel numbers and soil types — so that it can complete its reassessment.

The firm doing the work will be bonded and expects the work to take six to seven months.

The commissioners will recommend that the project be paid for through the rainy day fund.

•Approved, 3-0, the purchase of four bridges from E & H Bridge and Grating Inc. The bridges, with costs, are for Bean Lane, $44,921; Magnolia Road, $46,239; Mount Sterling Road, $37,127; and Brownstown Road near Allen Lane, $25,634. The first three are on the fractured critical list.

The funding likely will come from the Harrison County riverboat gaming bituminous fund.

•Were thanked by Mark Woods, co-chair of the Concerned Citizens of Crawford County, a grassroots group that opposes construction of a biomass electricity plant near Milltown, for their request of an environmental impact study from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Woods said that, although IDEM officials have said they likely won't order one, he appreciates the commissioners' efforts.

Bye said the commissioners still are considering an ordinance that would regulate such facilities.

"We don't want to continue to let the ordinance issue continue to drag out," he said.

•Approved, 3-0, application for renewal of a Juvenile Accountability Block Grant from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. The grant program is administered by Hoosier Hills PACT, and the county acts only as a pass-through, providing no matching dollars.

•Voted, 3-0, to authorize a county map that had been adopted by previous commissioners to be considered official up to that time. The request was made by Reggie Timberlake, the county's surveyor.

•Voted, 3-0, to amend the county personnel policy to state that EMTs working a 24-hour shift are permitted to get five hours of uninterrupted, and eight hours total, of sleep.

There had been confusion with regard to the policy, which had stated the amount was eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. That was an issue because, if EMTs didn't receive that amount, then they were paid overtime for working more than the 16 hours within the 24-hour period.

Federal law dictates EMTs be allowed five hours of uninterrupted sleep.

The commissioners' next meeting will be Thursday, Feb. 25, at 6:30 p.m. at the judicial complex at English.

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