News Column

New Washington focus of meetings with Clark County officials

February 17, 2014

By Matt Koesters, The Evening News and the Tribune, Jeffersonville, Ind.



Feb. 17--NEW WASHINGTON -- If you're a New Washington resident, the Clark County Commissioners want to hear from you.

The commissioners are planning to hold two public meetings to get input from locals in New Washington and Washington Township on a plan to build sidewalks along major arteries near area schools and a separate proposal to impose a tax rate to raise funds for the New Washington Fire Protection District.

The commissioners approved a contract with engineering firm Clark Dietz to perform a preliminary study for the sidewalks. The $9,200 contract will also cover the cost of applying for a Safe Schools grant through the Indiana Department of Transportation to help fund the sidewalks. The grant would be worth up to $250,000, of which the county would be responsible for $50,000.

"There is a need for sidewalks in that area," said Commissioners President Jack Coffman. "Even though it's an outlying area, it's still a growing community."

The construction of sidewalks would also alleviate drainage issues in the area, said Commissioner John Perkins.

"We've had a really bad drainage problem up there for years, because there basically are no storm drains," Perkins said. "With this safe schools grant, I think we have a great opportunity."

The commissioners want public input on where the new sidewalks would best serve the community, but the focus will be on Ind. 62.

The New Washington Fire Protection District has asked the commissioners to consider implementing a 3.3 cent per $100 valuation property tax rate to raise funds for capital improvements and new equipment. The commissioners plan to ask the residents the new tax rate would affect for their opinions.

"I'll review my vote for [the tax rate] based on what the citizens want," said Commissioner Rick Stephenson.

Coffman and Perkins agreed that ensuring the public finds the tax increase palatable is important prior to implementation.

"Some of these fire trucks can cost as much as $400,000 to $600,000," Perkins said. "That is a volunteer fire department, and therefore, the operating costs are not as much as a paid department. But the equipment costs are the same, so at some point in time -- and this is why we want input from the residents -- what level of fire protection do we need, do we deserve, do we want? And we'll find that out at those public hearings."

The dates of the two public meetings have not been announced. The commissioners said they would like to have the meetings within 30 days.

COMMISSIONERS DENY CHANGE ORDER

The commissioners unanimously voted last week to deny a change order requested by MAC Construction for the Star Hill Road construction project.

MAC, the contractor for the project, requested a geotechnical survey be conducted to differentiate between soft rock and hard rock in the project area. The contract with MAC for the removal of rock doesn't differentiate between the two, and two geotechnical surveys have already been conducted, Stephenson said.

"If there's an issue with it, then I think the company that did the survey should be responsible and not the citizens of Clark County," Stephenson said. "Also, in the contract, it just says they will haul off so many tons of rock. It doesn't say what types of rock. It's not my problem if it's harder or softer rock."

WELCOME BACK, SINGLETON

The commissioners voted unanimously to make Tony Singleton their appointment to the Clark-Floyd Counties Convention & Tourism Bureau board of directors.

Singleton previously served as a representative of the town of Clarksville, but his appointment was not renewed this year. Singleton replaces Ash Padhya as the commissioners' appointment.

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(c)2014 The Evening News and The Tribune (Jeffersonville, Ind.)

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Source: Evening News and The Tribune, The (Jeffersonville, IN)


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