By Valerie Werkmeister
The extreme heat and drought conditions in Posey County forced the commissioners to issue an emergency declaration prohibiting open burning and the use of fireworks within the county. The decision came after some discussion during their regular meeting Tuesday, July 3.
Emergency Management Agency Director, Larry Robb, addressed the commissioners on the emergency ban stating that although the various county fire chiefs had issued a burn ban, there was no way to enforce it. If the commissioners issued the ban, it would give county law enforcement officers the ability to cite individuals who don’t comply with the ban. He acknowledged that most citizens were using common sense and not attempting to burn during these intensely dry conditions. He added that 85 out of Indiana’s 92 counties had issued a ban.
Robb also asked the commissioners to add a provision that prohibits shooting off fireworks. He stated that after consulting with the fire chiefs, a majority of the fire departments within the county agreed that it would be within the best interests of the county to include a ban on the fireworks.
The commissioners asked Robb to utilize the Code Red system to notify county residents of the ban that will be in effect until they decide to lift it.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as though it will be lifted anytime soon as the National Weather Service has predicted that July will also have below average precipitation levels.
A new state law that went into effect July 1, requires smokers to stay away from public entrances at least eight feet before lighting up. Signs must be posted notifying citizens that the establishment is smoke-free and that smoking is prohibited within eight feet of the entrance. It also prohibits smoking inside public buildings and requires ashtrays to be removed.
County employees are already required to stay back a minimum of 25 feet from public entrances. The commissioners have decided to include the public in this same requirement. They have asked attorney Trent Van Haaften to draw up an ordinance. The state law requirements will be observed until a formal ordinance is passed.
The wheels of the Narrowbanding project were put into motion as commissioners gave Sabrina Harms, E911 Dispatch Director the nod to move forward. The commissioners recently approved the $282,019 quote from J & S Communications. Narrowbanding is a federal mandate that requires all public safety and business land mobile radio systems that operate in the 150-512 MHz radio bands to stop operating at 25 kHz and begin using 12.5 kHz technology.
According to Harms, it will four to six weeks for the equipment to come in and an additional two months to install. The contract with J & S requires 50 percent of the cost to be paid when the order is placed, 25 percent to be paid when the equipment arrives and the final 25 percent to be paid at the completion of the project.
Commissioners approved a Disaster Debris Management Plan recommended by Robb. The plan outlines procedures that need to be followed in the event of an emergency or disaster for debris removal.
Don Koester Masonry and Construction was awarded the contract to construct a new salt storage building for the highway department. Koester’s company was the only one to bid on the project. The total cost for the project will be $89,970.
Ameresco representative, Dan Reninger, gave a presentation on his company’s energy efficiency audit services. He stated the company would analyze the windows and doors as well as other operating systems to ensure that all things are working as efficiently as possible. There was no action taken on his presentation.
A master agreement and tax sale work plan agreement with SRI were approved by the commissioners. They tabled a decision to sign an agreement for the homestead verification portion. Auditor Nick Wildeman stated he was trying to contact another vendor to schedule a presentation of his services.
A discussion on the insulation project for the Hovey House was tabled as Building Commissioner, Ed Battieger, was unable to attend the meeting.
Animal Control Officer, Chuck Mobley, submitted an activity report for the past month. He handled a total of 37 complaints, picked up 11 animals, had four animal bite calls, administered one rabies test and had to euthanize one animal.
In other business, the commissioners approved:
• Change order #3 for the Wabash Levee Unit 5
• A semi-annual grant report for the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs
• The appointment of Dee Brown to the Workforce Investment Board.
The next regular meeting will be held Tuesday, July 17, at 9 a.m.
By Valerie Werkmeister
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