By CHRIS MORRIS
NEW ALBANY —
The Floyd County Parks Board moved forward Monday night on a plan to purchase 30 acres of land adjacent to Northside Christian Church for a new park.
On Tuesday, the Floyd County Commissioners gave the plan a thumbs-up.
The parks board will hold a public bond hearing May 28 for the project. The price tag on the land and infrastructure, which sits next to the church at 4407 Charlestown Rd., is $1.2 million.
“I like the idea of a park in that area. It’s part of our master plan,” said Commissioner Chuck Freiberger.
Several neighbors have voiced their concerns over the New Albany Little League’s plan to build a new facility on the site. That plan is still in the works and Little League officials are trying to secure funding.
“If the Little League comes in, we want to make it comfortable with the neighbors,” Freiberger said. “We need to work with the neighbors. We don’t want to get into their personal space.”
Floyd County Commissioners’ President Steve Bush also supports the land being developed into a park.
“I think it will be awesome,” he said. “The Little League is one issue, but the other is having a park and green space in that area. I think we will be able to work out the issues with the neighborhood.”
CLARK SWORN IN AS AUDITOR
Republican Scott Clark was sworn in as Floyd County Auditor on Tuesday, and was approved for bond coverage on the same day, Floyd County Attorney Rick Fox said Wednesday.
Media reports last week questioned whether Clark — who took over for Darin Coddington — would be covered with a surety bond based on comments allegedly made by the county’s insurance agent.
Many elected officials such as auditors are required to be covered by bonds as a financial-security mechanism. Fox told the News and Tribune on Thursday that Clark had yet to apply for a bond, therefore he couldn’t have been turned down. He said the rumors that Clark would be or had been denied bond coverage were politically motivated.
Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson swore Clark into office on Tuesday, and Fox said there are no issues surrounding the new auditor’s bond coverage.
“He met with our bonding agent on Tuesday and the bonding agent had him approved on Tuesday and transferred the bond,” Fox said, and added Clark’s bond didn’t cost the county any more than Coddington’s.
“It was never an issue,” Fox said.
Clark was selected by the Floyd County Republican Party during a caucus last month to finish the remainder of Coddington’s term. Coddington stepped down in the midst of a budget shortfall and claims that his department failed to accurately report financial information to county officials.
WATER BASIN AT 4-H?
Floyd County Director of Operations Don Lopp said he plans to schedule a meeting with New Albany Stormwater Board members to discuss a proposed water basin which would be built on the 4-H Fairgrounds property off Green Valley Road to help alleviate drainage issues in the area.
While the property is owned by the county, the city has authority over stormwater issues.
The storm basin would be constructed in the rear of the property and be four to five acres in size.
“I have some very big concerns with this,” Freiberger said. “That could make it that much harder for the 4-H to grow its programs and may be detrimental to what they are doing out there.”
Lopp said members of the 4-H fair board are concerned with parking space being taken up by the basin.
“That is taking away a lot of space for a retention pond,” Bush said. “This is coming at a time when we are trying to build up programs out there and make it grow.”
COUNCIL APPROVES BUDGET
Prior to the commissioners’ meeting, the Floyd County Council voted on several appropriations, according to Council President John Schellenberger. Now that the additional appropriations have been made, the council will send them to the Department of Local Government Finance for certification. The appropriations total around $12.3 million.
Prior to making the appropriations, Schellenberger said the council rescinded its previous budget and started from scratch.
The council has been dealing with budget issues since it was revealed the county had a $2.4 million deficit. Council members said wrong figures from the Floyd County Auditor’s office is what led to the problem late last year when figuring up the 2013 budget.
The additional appropriations were hammered out at a work session two weeks ago.
The original budget of $11.2 million that was submitted to the DLGF was rejected because it did not have the revenue stream to support it.
However, council members hope after two months of number crunching and cuts, the new appropriations of $12.3 million will be approved.