County Commissioners hear progress of extension building

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The Switzerland County Commissioners met for their regular meeting on April 18th.

Issues that came before the Commissioners included:

– Jon Bond of Switzerland County Economic Development told the commissioners that he should have all of the closing documents for the new extension building, which will be constructed at the site of the old county highway garage on Seminary Street, by the end of the week.

He said that nothing has really changed since the commissioners approved the project back in December, except that the interest rate now stands at 5.95-percent. Jon Bond told the commissioners that the county council wants to pay off the building within five years, but will not use property tax money to make those payments.

- Chris Clerkin, Switzerland County Highway Superintendent, told the commissioners that the countywide cleanup was a success and that the dumpsters that the county rented were full.

He told the commissioners that the roof over the offices at the county highway garage was leaking; and if the county highway workers do the work, it will cost approximately $8,000.

Commissioner Craig Bond suggested getting quotes on the job; and noted that everyone needs to quote the same specifications.

Chris Clerkin also said that a track hoe is needed to replace 18 culverts on Goose Creek, but the one that the county owns is currently being used on Long Run and Mennetts Hollow. He asked the commissioners about renting one, which would cost approximately $6,000 per month.

Commissioner Brian Morton told Chris Clerkin to see how much money is in the highway budget for equipment rental, and if the money is there, go ahead with the rental.

– T.J. Justice, executive director of Switzerland County Tourism, gave the commissioners an update on some of tourism’s projects.

The Phoenix Hotel renovation is now complete; and he invited the commissioners to stop by and see the improvements.

He also said that a feasibility study has been started on the Ohio River, which involves an in-depth analysis of the market conditions for tourism development or amenities and services.

He also told the commissioners that he appreciated the county’s support of the Cabela’s fishing tournament.

T.J. Justice said that Switzerland County Tourism has received a pledge from the state of $100,000 to support a revolving loan fund program. He said that tourism hopes to start this program later this year, and will look at small businesses and entrepreneurs to provide them with fixed asset financing to help them start a new business or expand a current small business.

He said that Tourism has another application into the USDA for another $100,000; and if that is approved, they hope to launch that program in the fall.

- Ron Hocker, representing the Southeastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, told the commissioners that they have four appointments for the SIRPC board, but have only made one for this year, Pete Furnish.

Ron Hocker said that anyone who is a resident of Switzerland County can be appointed; and he told them that if the commissioners did not have anyone else in mind, he would be willing to serve again. He noted that Sarah Brichto and Commissioner Robbie Smith were also willing to serve. Currently residents K.C. Banta and Ann Mulligan are serving on the board.

The commissioners appointed Ron Hocker, Sarah Brichto, and Robbie Smith to fill the three vacant seats on the board.

– Jon Brofft of Innovative Energy Solutions spoke with the commissioners about replacing the boilers in the Switzerland County Detention Center.

He told the commissioners that replacement parts for the four boilers that are currently in the jail cannot be found; so new boilers need to be purchased. The will be paid for out of casino funds and the Cum Cap Fund.

Since the project is over $50,000, commissioners attorney Wil Goering said that bids will need to be taken.

The commissioners agreed to pay for the new boilers.

– Brian Morton said that he was approached about the commissioners making a donation to the local “Relay for Life” event.

He suggested giving $1,250 to the “Relay for Life” and $1,250 to the FOP, instead of giving $2,500 to the FOP. The commissioners stated that if there was a courthouse team, it would receive this money first. That suggestion was approved.

– Terry Scudder, who runs the Switzerland County Animal Shelter, gave the commissioners his notice that he was leaving his post. He told the commissioners that he was resigning due to health reasons.

– Carla Burkhart of LifeTime Housing spoke with the commissioners about the county being granted an owner occupied rehabilitation grant. LifeTime Housing has currently served six homes here, and is in the process of serving a seventh home.

She asked the commissioners to sign off on a letter requesting additional grant money for a home in the county. She noted that the grant has already spent $14,000 on this home, but it needs to be connected to the town’s sewer lines.

This request was approved.

She also had property declarations, where the property owners receiving grant funds would agree that if they sold the property in the next two- to three-years, they would only sell it to someone who would qualify for the grant money. The commissioners also agreed with this.

– Lindsey Crabtree spoke with the Commissioners about receiving permission for her company to provide a quote for county employee health, dental, vision, and short-term disability insurance. The commissioners gave their permission for her to proceed.

– County auditor Gayle Rayles had a question about who got the mowing job for the Switzerland County Health Department. She was told that the bid was approved for D.C. Turf, as it was the lowest bidder.