2013-11-05 / Front Page

Owen Commissioners Discuss An Array Of County Business

Patricksburg Road Will Be Closed For Next 60 Days For Bridge Work
by Michael Stanley
Staff Writer

County bridge #84 on Patricksburg Road is scheduled to be removed and replaced with a new structure. The project expected to take 60 days to complete, weather permitting. (Staff Photo) County bridge #84 on Patricksburg Road is scheduled to be removed and replaced with a new structure. The project expected to take 60 days to complete, weather permitting. (Staff Photo) A variety of county business was addressed Monday morning by the Owen County Board of Commissioners.

In an update from the Owen County Highway Department, the board was visited by employee Chance Brewer in the absence of superintendent Joe Pettijohn. Brewer noted that work has been complete to wedge and level a section of Little Flock Road, where a damaged culvert was also replaced.

He noted both pothole patching crews are busy in different areas of the county, with the county’s hot mix patcher slated to make its way to Pottersville and Egenoff roads in the coming days. Brewer also mentioned that spot paving is taking place on Franklin Road, with plans in place to soon follow up with a top coat of asphalt at the county courthouse’s north parking lot in Spencer.

Brewer said many of the department’s various road signs are being replaced. He was asked to provide a sign inventory to county attorney Richard Lorenz.

He also mentioned ditching work recently completed on Vandalia Road and said salt and sand have been mixed in preparation for winter weather.

The board was also told of on-going work by contractor CLR, Inc. to finish the east approach to the new county bridge #174 on Lingle Road and of work beginning on county bridge #84 with a Monday closure of a small section of Patricksburg Road. Work is expected to take up to 60 days to replace the 52-yearold bridge, weather permitting.

The commissioners, who announced their choice to contract with United Consulting for the county’s annual bridge inspection, were also visited by representative Shane Floyd. Floyd noted that 12 of the county’s 111 bridges are currently considered fraction critical or in dire need of replacement or repair, two of which have been closed. The board mentioned Palestine Cemetery and Romona Road bridges, which will likely never be re-opened.

The commissioners also voted 3-0 to approve a request from Brewer for he and office assistant Linda Davis to stay one night in French Lick for an annual training seminar regarding the computer software utilized by the department. The board’s motion was to pay for the $200 hotel stay.

The commissioners also voted 3-0 to impose a second, level one sanction on a county highway department employee, whose name was never mentioned.

The board also held a conversation with Owen County Tourism Board President Mike Spinks, who said he and Lorenz are in the process of forming a new entity, the Sweet Owen Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc. The new entity will have non-profit status with the State of Indiana in a matter of weeks, however, federal 501c3 status will take several months.

The commissioners also voted 3-0 to approve the payment of $180 to the Indiana Department of Environmental Services for testing of the county’s underground gasoline storage tank. Another 3-0 vote was passed for the county to continue its annual contractual services agreement with Purdue University for the Owen County Extension Office.

Owen County Recorder Peggy Robertson received a 3-0 vote to approve a request to contract with ePN E-Record Partners to allow all nontransferable files to be electronically filed at no cost to the county.

The commissioners also spoke with Medical Accounts Services’ Linda Trader and Dr. Layton Wall, whose company has handled all Owen County EMS billing since 2004.

The board and Owen COunty EMS Director Cris Lunsford also briefly discussed a future change to the service’s fee schedule, noting prices have not been adjusted since 2006.

Lunsford also said the county will no longer receive a 20-percent ‘rural community’ bonus from Medicare, due to the county no longer being considered a “rural community.”

The commissioners later spoke with Owen County Emergency Management Agency Director Jack White and Sheila Reeves from the county health and building departments regarding upgrade preparations for new offices to be relocated to the former Bean Blossom Patricksburg Water Corporation building, which will total $8,000. The board gave its blessing for the pair to approach the county council to utilize funds from the health and building department cash balances to cover the expenses.

In other business, White also informed the commissioners that a recent assessment by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security resulted in a $5,200 grant award.

County maintenance supervisor Sam Hobbs noted that he is in the process of receiving quotes from vendors Mid-American Elevator and Schindler for maintenance contracts on the two courthouse elevators. He also requested office holders inform him of items they would like to keep and which to discard from the county armory building.

Hobbs also provided the board with receipts for work and materials totaling more than $12,300 related to the county courthouse Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility improvement project paid from the commissioners’ future building fund and said he would approach the county council for a possible reimbursement to that line item for future project expenses.

In an update from Lorenz, the commissioners signed an application agreement with WTH, which will pay a $750 fee to interface with the county’s mapping department’s eGIS.

The board also set a work session with the county’s information technology committee for Thursday, November 14, beginning at 8:00 a.m. in the Commissioners’ Room, located on the second floor of the Owen County Courthouse.

The commissioners also voted 3-0 to designate county auditor Mike Wood as a customer liaison for New World Systems, and cast a 2-0-1 vote for commissioner Donnie Minnick to serve as the ADA representative for the county highway department.

The Owen County Board of Commissioners will meet again on Monday, October 18, beginning at 4:00 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Room. Members of the board include Donnie Minnick, Marc Ruble and Tony Voelker.

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