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Permission needed before rights-of-way work

December 12, 2012
The Crawford County Board of Commissioners at its Nov. 29 meeting at the judicial complex in English adopted an ordinance that requires written permission before private companies can locate utility poles, wires or cables onto county rights-of-way or easements.

The ordinance, which passed 3-0, was in response to a complaint about a company placing power lines on existing utility poles without the county's OK.

David Jones, a former member of the county council, in October approached the board, saying that many residents are unaware that companies do not automatically have authority to access easements on personal property, including utilizing existing poles.

The ordinance requires private commercial entities to submit a written request, including a plan depicting the location of installation, to the county prior to doing any work. The county then has the right to approve or reject the proposal.

"I think this is probably overdue. It probably should have been going on since the get-go," Jim Schultz, president of the board, said.

District 2 Commissioner Randy Gilmore, who seconded the District 1 Commissioner Daniel Crecelius' motion to approve the ordinance, said if residents see someone laying utility lines, they should contact the Crawford County Highway Department.

In other business, the commissioners:

•Voted 3-0 to approve the annual contracts with Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission to administer the county's two revolving loan funds.

"They've done a wonderful job with the Revolving Loan Fund," Gilmore said.

•Voted 3-0 to approve Schultz, as president, signing a letter of support for a brownfield project. The approval is retroactive to Nov. 9, the date Schultz signed the letter.

•Reappointed, 3-0, Gilmore as their representative to the Indiana 15 RPC Board of Directors.

•Established a 30-mile per hour speed limit along Riddle Road, from its intersections with Dillman and Magnolia roads. Sheriff Tim Wilkerson, who previously made the request because of an Amish school in the area, said his department's crash report funds can be used to purchase signs.

•Approved, 3-0, at the recommendation of Circuit Clerk Edna Brown, a four-year contract with ES&S to provide election software at a cost of $23,085. The contract, however, requires no advance payment, as the county would only pay for services as it receives them, albeit at a lower rate.

However, later in the meeting, after Brown had left, Crecelius moved to rescind his original motion after it was asked if the contract allowed an out in case the state requires different equipment to be used. The other two commissioners also voted to rescind the motion and to table the matter until their next meeting.

•Approved, 3-0, a memorandum of agreement with state historic preservation officials that stipulates the county will document, including through photography, Bridge No. 129, also known as the "curved bridge" near Milltown, prior to replacing it.

The commissioners also voted 3-0 to authorize Schultz to sign a letter to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management stating the county will adhere to the environmental regulations in place throughout the replacement process.

The project will cost $2.7 million and will be funded by an 80/20 federal grant administered by the Indiana Department of Transportation. The county's portion will be $569,122.

•Voted 3-0 to approve a construction engineering contract with Beam, Longest and Neff regarding the Bridge No. 80 replacement project.

The entire project is estimated to cost $2.6 million, and, like the Bridge No. 129 replacement, will be funded through an 80/20 federal grant through INDOT, meaning the county should be responsible for approximately $566,000.

•Were informed by county Emergency Management Agency Director Larry Allen that all of the county's radios have been narrowbanded prior to the Dec. 31 federal deadline.

However, the highway department has 16 radios that were unable to be narrowbanded, while the sheriff's department has six, Allen said. To replace them will cost between $350 and $500 each, he said.

In addition, he said, narrowband frequencies do not travel as far, potentially as much as 50 percent less, meaning additional repeat-ers likely will have to be installed throughout the county.

Allen, at his suggestion, was given permission from the commissioners to send a request for proposals to companies to determine what exactly needs to be done.

•Voted 3-0 to place county employee Tammy DeWeese, who has been the secretary at the Crawford County Extension Office in English, under the supervision of the county EMA director, who works in the same building.

DeWeese was to continue working at the Extension Office, but, as of last Thursday, had been moved to the Auditor's Office in the judicial complex.

•Approved, 3-0, a $428 maintenance quote for the Surveyor's Office.

•Voted 3-0 to give non-emergency county employees the afternoon off on New Year's Eve. They already were scheduled to be off New Year's Day.

•Approved, 3-0, amendments to the county personnel handbook.

•Having received a complaint about people smoking near the entrance to the judicial complex, voted 3-0 to allow security personnel to enforce the state law that went into effect in July requiring smokers to be at least eight feet from business entrances.

•Approved, 3-0, a request from Betty Parke, director of the Court Appointed Special Advocates program, to approve its use of the county annex on Dec. 10, as well as Feb. 11, April 8, June 10, Aug. 12, Oct. 14 and Dec. 9 in 2013, for state-required training of volunteers.

Each session will begin at 6 p.m.

•Were notified by county attorney John E. Colin that the county still is waiting official approval from Leavenworth regarding an agreement to house an Emergency Medical Services crew and ambulance at the firehouse in the town.

•Announced that their next meeting will be Monday, Dec. 31, at the judicial complex. A closed executive session will begin at 8 a.m. and will be followed by the public meeting at 8:30. In addition, the commissioners will open 2013 supply bids at 9:30.

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