The only commercial building that still needs to be addressed is actually county-owned — the old Marysville schoolhouse. The building has been without a functional roof since the storm.
The county does not have an ordinance that permits it to condemn buildings. Commissioner John Perkins asked County Attorney Jake Elder to draft one for the board’s consideration.
Semones pointed out that while he knows of numerous ordinances drafted for municipalities, he didn’t know of one another county in Indiana had on the books.
Stephenson instructed Semones to use a personal touch in contacting owners of some of the damaged homes. He also asked that Semones call the owners of a property near Interstate 65 where debris from the destruction of Henryville’s schools rests to address removing the waste.
Semones said he recognized that those affected by the tornado had been hurt financially and in other ways, but that with the one-year anniversary of the tornado looming, action needed to be taken to finish the county’s cleanup effort.
“At some point, I’m going to have to play the bad guy,” Semones said.
NEW WASHINGTON FIRE LEVY INCREASE?
New Washington Volunteer Fire Chief Randy Burton appeared before the commissioners to ask for an increase to the cumulative capital fund levy of .333 for the New Washington Fire Protection District.
Burton told the commissioners that it’s the first increase that the NWFPD has requested since it was formed in 1991. The New Washington Volunteer Fire Department has the second-largest coverage area in Indiana, Burton said.
The NWFPD needs money for capital purchases. New equipment is needed, and the purchase of the equipment would give the district collateral for future loans.
The commissioners agreed to advertise and hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Feb. 23 at NWVFD to hear the concerns of residents about a potential rate increase, which would increase property taxes by about $33 per $100,000 assessed valuation. The increase would raise an estimated $58,000 per year, Burton said.