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The Daviess County Commissioners have put a burn ban in place. The move came at the request of the Daviess County Emergency Management Agency.

“We have had an uptick in runs on field and brush fires,” said Daviess County EMA Executive Director Scott Myers. “The fire chiefs contacted me on Friday and requested this.”

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security lists conditions in Daviess County as very dry and the National Weather Service has issued fire warnings for the area because of the extended dry weather, winds and low humidity.

“We will keep this until we get a rain that can make a difference and then we will take it off,” said President of the Daviess County Commissioners Nathan Gabhart. “We will still allow a campfire if it is in a fire ring and people can use a burn barrel if it has a screen cover.”

Daviess joins Martin and Lawrence counties with active burn bans.

The commissioners didn’t just concentrate on fire, they also took on a request involving water. The Bennington Levee Association requested the county’s help in fixing a pumping station. The association asked to borrow $200,000 to pay for a project that would bury electrical lines and put in new transformers at the Smothers Creek station.

“We have had repeated lightning strikes and it keeps knocking out our transformers,” said Benninington Levee spokesman Tom Graham. “We want to update this from 1949 when it was built to a more modern operation.”

The Levee Association would repay the loan with a special levy on property owners. The estimate the project could start in December. It would be paid off in six years.

“We need to go ahead and do this to keep in compliance with the Army Corps of Engineers,” said Commissioner Tom McCracken, who also sits on the Levee Association Board. “They have given us satisfactory reviews but have told us we need to fix this problem. We do not want to get out of compliance with them.”

In other business the commissioners discussed yet another federal project along CR 900 E. This one would extend from the Odon town limits north to the intersection of SR 58 and a couple hundred feet north of that. The county will have discussions with the Odon Town Board about that potential project.

The commissioners approved several COVID related items. They voted unanimously in favor of an updated county COVID policy presented by the Health Department.

A grant from the Secretary of State’s office for the county clerk’s office of $3,695 was approved for COVID related expenses related to the primary election.

The commissioners received $1 million through the CARES Act. The approved spending $4,135 for overtime for the county health department, $1,900 for sanitizing supplies for the county jail and $202,750 for a body scanner for use in the county jail.

“That has been installed and it is working well,” said Sheriff Gary Allison. “We’re excited about having it.”

The commissioners also approved the bids of E&B Paving and Milestone Construction for paving projects and materials, agreed to the voting locations for the November election, and joined with five other counties as part of a Brownfield Assessment Coalition managed by the Southern Indiana Development Commission.

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