County Council considers 2019 funding request

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The Switzerland County Council met for its regular meeting on Wednesday, February 13th. Those present for the meeting included members: Lisa Fisher, Lance Collier, Mike Bear, and Todd Chase, and County Auditor, Carolyn Green. Council members Rachel Schuler, Andy Haskell, and Elizabeth Jones were absent.

  The council at the meeting focused on a number of donation requests that had been made by various entities that provide services to the county.

  Those requests included:

  • $1,000 for the Switzerland County After Prom event.

  • $8,000 for the Switzerland County Cemetery Board, requested by Carolyn Miller.

  • $5,000 for the Historic Hoosier Theater, requested by Tonya Krall.

  • $7,500 for the Heart House shelter, requested by Craig Beckley.

  • $15,000 for LifeTime Resources, requested by Sally Beckley.

  • $10,000 for the Children’s Advocacy Center, requested by Stephanie Back.

  • $9,024 was requested for Safe Passage.

  • $15,00 was requested for the Swiss Wine Festival by Joe Parham.

  After the council held some discussion on the various requests, Bear made a motion to approve all of the requests, but included in his motion that the Swiss Wine Festival should receive $10,000 — not the requested $15,000. That motion was seconded by Chase, and passed.

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  Jeff Darling of the East Enterprise Volunteer Fire Department told the council that his department would like to build a fire training facility, which he estimated would cost approximately $300,000. He also stated that the department’s ISO rating (which is used in part to help determine insurance costs for homeowners) was helped by giving a percentage of funds back to the county so that the 911 Department could hire a dispatcher. That lowering of the ISO helps every homeowner in the area that the East Enteprise Department serves.

  Also discussed in terms of fire safety in the county was the fact that the Posey Township Volunteer Fire Department is currently covering for the Patriot Fire Department — whose status has still not been resolved, and OSHA requires training.

  Darling said that the East Enterprise Volunteer Fire Department is asking that the funding decision from the last meeting be reconsidered.

  At Council’s January meeting, a motion was approved to reduce the amount of money going to the Fire Chiefs Association by $32,000. The Fire Chiefs Association has received $300,000 yearly in Belterra gaming funds since 2016.

  The reduction from the council was centered on the Patriot Volunteer Fire Department, which is no longer in operation. When it was in operation, Patriot VFD received approximately $32,000 (11.3-percent) of the funds. The council’s motion was to reduce the amount going to the operation in light of one of the departments no longer being in operation.

  At the February meeting, Fisher stated the county had paid $123,000 for one of the trucks, and she did not feel that she could reconsider her vote. Chase suggested that since three members were not present at the meeting, the topic should be tabled.

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  Annual Reports were presented to the county council by Carolyn Miller of the Cemetery Board; Aaron Bell of the Southeastern Indiana Solid Waste District; and Sheri Works for Switzerland County Tourism.