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September 25, 2012

Proposed rail siding tabled by commissioners

WASHINGTON — The proposed rail siding near Plainville was tabled again without a decision by the Daviess County Commissioners on Monday.

Officials from Indiana Southern railroad, the company asking to close CR 900N and Division Line Road for a proposed $2.1 million siding, were not at Monday’s meeting, even though they were asked to attend.

“They were requesting something in particular and we’ve still got questions,” Commissioner Tony Wichman said.

The proposed siding would extend the service at the Boyd Grain Plainville Mill and during a commissioner’s meeting last month, the railroad said it would service the Bear Run coal mine and the Duke Energy plant. A $1.6 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration is helping to pay for the proposed siding.

But for the commissioners can sign off on the road closings, they needed some questions answered first, like on how long will the roads be closed. One property owner, Roger Nowling, would also like some answers.

“Everyone seems to be compensated except for the people who live there,” Nowling said.

Sheriff Jerry Harbstreit did answer one question, per state law. The siding can be closed for only 10 minutes.

But, other questions will have to wait until Indiana Southern returns to the commissioners.

“(I am) personally disappointed they didn’t show up,” Commissioner Larry Wilson said.

One issue that was resolved was an agreement between the county, the town of Montgomery and the Daviess County Landfill, on CR 650E.

The road, one of the major arteries in the town of Montgomery, also runs to the Daviess County Landfill. It is need of some repair and the county is willing to take it over, providing the town kicks in some funds to help.

“I don’t have an issues against maintaining it, because it needs it,” Wichman said.

Representatives from the Montgomery Town Council were present, and said they would work with the county on the approximate 1/2 mile stretch of road.

An agreement is being drafted.

Wellness Program

County Health Nurse Kathy Sullender reported there will be changes to this year’s wellness program for county employees.

Instead of having employees visit the department at a certain location, health department employees will visit departments in hopes of getting a better turnout.

“It is hard for a lot of people to leave their office (when there is a lot of work to do),” Sullender said.

The commissioners liked the idea.

“We’ve got to do something to cut our health care costs,” Commissioner Mike Taylor said.

Utility Permit

The commissioners granted a utility permit to RTC Communications for digging work throughout the county.

Representatives from the company said they plan to lay fiber optic cable in locations near Alfordsville, Pennyville, Cumback and Cornettsville.

2013 Calendar

The meeting calendar for commissioner’s meetings in 2013 was approved Monday, but with a 2-1 vote.

Wichman voted against the calendar, saying there should be some evening meetings for some constituents that have to work.

Taylor said if the need arises, the commissioners can move some of their meeting times.

The 2013 holiday calendar for county employees was also approved.

Bridge Update

Commissioners heard from Highway Department head Phil Cornelius about progress on the Washington overhead bridge on SE 15th Street.

Cornelius has contacted two engineering firms about work on the bridge with federal funds. The commissioners also directed Cornelius to look into using local options for bridge repair.

County Attorney Grant Swartzentruber said he worries that CSX, the railroad that owns the bridge, were using the federal option as a stall tactic.

“I’m just saying if they continue to stall, we might be coming back to start legal action,” Swartzentruber said.

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