WASHINGTON — The Daviess County Council approved several additional appropriations for more than $100,000 each, including an additional $111,000 for the Bennington Levee.
Most of the levee appropriation, $97,000, was for cost overages on fixing the north breach of the levee. Tom Graham of the Bennington Levee board told the council the costs to repair the breech were over the bid amounts, but under engineer estimates.
“If you need more to fill the hole, you get paid to fill the hole,” Graham said.
The cost overrun, Graham said, was not for labor but for materials. The north breach of the levee is being rebuilt after a settlement with the county, the levee board and three farmers, including Indiana Farm Bureau President Don Villwock, earlier this year. Settlement talks are still ongoing on the south breach.
Because of state law, if a board such as the Bennington Levee board cannot pay their obligations, the county is required to pay.
“We do have an obligation to pay them,” County Attorney Grant Swartzentruber said.
Council President Mike Sprinkle agreed, and the council approved the $111,000 appropriation, 5-0. Council member Dave Smith was absent and member Jack Graber had to leave before the vote.
Graham told the council the board has enlisted the services of Indianapolis-based firms Ice Miller and Umbaugh and Associates to research a bond issue the levee board would make to pay the county back. Graham said the bond would pay the amounts needed faster than just regular fees.
“We really appreciate (the county) doing this, but we have to reimburse,” Graham said. “We understand this.”
The $111,000 was not the only large additional appropriation made Wednesday as two other large claims were paid. The largest, $179,978, was the annual contract with the Daviess County Economic Development Foundation.
DCEDF Executive Director Ron Arnold said the funds will be used only if a need arises, like infrastructure.