The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

May 9, 2013

County’s riverboat fund running low due to levee

WASHINGTON — The Daviess County Council learned Wednesday a key account in paying bills for the Bennington Levee is now close to zero.

Since the breach of the levee in 2011, the county has used money from the Riverboat Fund to pay for repairs. Due to state law, the Bennington Levee board had to pass its expense to the county to get the levee back in shape.

Wednesday, the council had to table at least one bill, $24,901, for a pump at the levee due to the depleted fund. The council also tabled legal fees and mediation costs incurred by the levee board. Last month, the commissioners also tabled the bills.

Council member Jo Arthur asked why the board submitted a $695 claim for mediation when they have over $700 in its account.

“I see no reason why they can’t pay their mediation costs. I don’t see the reason to pay their attorneys at this time,” Arthur said. “We don’t have the money in riverboat (fund) to pay for the pump.”

Currently, the fund has $27,669 according to Auditor Gail Doades. It used to have $579,000 before the levee broke in 2011.

Although the county has received funds from a settlement from the board and three individuals for their part in the 2011 levee breach, the board still owes the county a substantial amount for costs to rebuild the levee.

The levee board is due to receive their spring portion of income taxes in June, Doades said. She estimated the levee will receive between $30,000 to $35,000 from property owners along the levee.  Council members said the payment for the pump should come from the levee board when their taxes come in.

As for continued repayment, county attorney Grant Swartzentruber said he is not sure how it will be paid.

“We have a variety of issues right now,” Swartzentruber said.

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