News and Tribune

February 15, 2013

Clark could save up to $1.5M on Star Hill Road

A few buildings, trash piles still need attention in tornado aftermath

By MATT KOESTERS
matt.koesters@newsandtribune.com

JEFFERSONVILLE — If the Clark County Commissioners decide to take up MAC Construction, the county could stand to save up to $1.5 million on the construction of Star Hill Road, which will connect Borden and Starlight. 

MAC’s proposal calls for a re-evaluation of the construction plan for the road, which could reduce the cost of the project by up to $3 million, the company claims. Given maximum savings, the county would receive $1.5 million in construction credits from the Indiana Department of Transportation. MAC construction would earn the other half of the savings in cash. Strand Associates Inc. of Louisville did the initial design.

The commissioners authorized board President Jack Coffman to meet with MAC to discuss the proposal further and give the commissioners’ response. The hiring of MAC to do the cost-reduction analysis would add a cost of $175,000 to the project. The commissioners would not be under any obligation to accept the proposed changes that come from the cost-reduction analysis.

“It would be stupid to approve [the analysis] and not accept the plan at the end,” Commissioner Rick Stephenson said. 

The total cost of the construction of Star Hill Road currently stands at $13.7 million. The project is being paid 80 percent by INDOT, with the balance paid by the county. INDOT construction credits can be used by the county on projects where there is an 80-20 split of the costs between INDOT and the county, respectively. 

Coffman will meet with MAC Construction representatives to discuss the company’s plan further and give the commissioners’ answer by noon Monday.

 

HENRYVILLE CLEANUP

Nearly a year after a tornado ripped through Henryville, Marysville, New Washington and other parts of Southern Indiana, remnants of the storm still remain. 

Clark County Building Commissioner and Enforcement Officer Tony Semones told the commissioners that 15 houses and one commercial building still have “moderate or severe” damage that needs to be address, while 12 piles of trash and debris are still scattered throughout the county and are in need of attention.

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. 

In a separate matter, the commissioners unanimously approved distributing $4,000 to each volunteer fire department in Clark County, paid out of its share of a timber distribution it received two weeks ago from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry. 

 

COUNTY EMPLOYEES TO RECEIVE REIMBURSEMENT

The commissioners voted unanimously to cut reimbursement checks to eligible county employees for overpayments on health-care coverage during the 2011 plan year. 

The county will issue $41,274 back to the employees. The Affordable Care Act mandates that medical insurance providers pay no more than 20 percent of premiums on administrative costs. 

 

CARL POPP RIDGE RECOMMENDATION WITHDRAWN

The commissioners voted 2-0 with Perkins abstaining, to withdraw a recommendation made by the previous commissioners to rename a portion of St. Joe Road to Carl Popp Ridge Road in Sellersburg.

Perkins and former commissioners Ed Meyer and Les Young voted to make the recommendation at the last meeting of 2012. The Clark County Planning and Zoning Commission tabled the recommendation at a subsequent meeting.