By Valerie Werkmeister
Posey County learned last week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that it has been designated as one of 36 counties throughout the state that has been declared a natural disaster area due to the drought. Posey County Commissioner Jim Alsop made the announcement during the July 17 commissioner’s meeting.
According to a press release issued by the Indiana Farm Service Agency, (FSA) all qualified farm operators in the designated areas are elgibile for low interest emergency loans from the FSA. Farmers have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses caused by the drought.
The FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of the losses, security available and replayment ability. There are also a variety of other programs that may help eligible farmers to recover from adversity.
“The Summer of 2012 will not be long forgotten by those producers and their families that were negatively impacted by severe dry weather. USDA is here to assist,” said Julia A. Wickard, State Executive Director of USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Indiana.
Posey County Building Commissioner, Ed Battieger and attorney Adam Farrar announced they are currently working on an ordinance draft that will require licensure for construction contractors. They have contacted Vanderburgh County and discovered they use Ivy Tech as a means to facilitate testing for the licensure process. This will be a costly venture for Posey County to administer on its own and they are discussing a possible opportunity to collaborate with Vanderburgh County. They will update the commissioners on their progress in upcoming meetings.
Farrar informed the commissioners that he is working on a emergency service response mutual aid agreement with the City of Grayville in Illinois. The agreement includes payment to Posey County of $150 per response. He felt he would have a draft ready for review at the next commissioner’s meeting in August.
Kevin Steeley of Banning Engineering delivered a status update on work at Levee Unit 5. He stated that Division 1 has been completed and there were a total of three change orders, which have already been approved by the commissioners. A fourth change order is pending, however they are trying to resolve that with the contractor.There were no change orders with Division 2, which has also been completed. Work on Division 3 just recently began.
None of the cost of the scope of work being completed on the levee is coming from Posey County coffers. They are merely the facilitating entity for the purpose of the grant that was secured to fund the project.
A consolidated county zoning agreement is nearly complete after a year of review, according to Mindy Bourne of the Area Plan Commission. She stated the agreement will provide a cohesive and comprehensive plan that will be used throughout the county instead of each city having its own set of rules. New Harmony and Griffin are the only two towns in the county that will be excluded from the plan. New Harmony has its own plan commission and there is no zoning in Griffin.
In other business, the commissioners approved:
An additional six-month lease for the Community Corrections program office space.
A resolution that will require smokers to stand a minimum of 25 feet away from the entrances to county buildings.This is more restrictive than the state requirement of eight feet.
The next commissioner’s meeting will be Tuesday, August 7, at 9 a.m. in the Hovey House.