The Daviess County Commissioners met in regular session Tuesday.

Mike Schapker,owner's representative, was first on the agenda with an update on the annex construction project. He reported that the HVAC installation has begun and should be complete by the middle of next week, and the permanent glass windows have replaced temporary covers so that Jasper Lumber can install cabinets without them being damaged by heat and humidity.

In an attempt to assuage the commissioners' frustration with the continued project delays, Schapker emphasized that many of the delays have been impacted by a limited supply of the necessary building materials along with the failure of Jasper Lumber to coordinate the "stacking of contractors" in an efficient manner.

Although Schapker attempted to be diplomatic, he admitted that working with Jasper Lumber on this project is not easy.

"I get disappointed about every day over there," he said. Schapker shared that there was going to be a job progress meeting later in the day, and the commissioners pressed him to request a revised timeline for the project at the meeting. Additionally, Schapker shared that one furniture shipment had arrived and is being stored until the interior of the annex is complete.

In regard to future renovations to the courthouse, he presented a request to accept a bid of $26,000 to complete the entire project, including coordinating with the State Historic Preservation Association, to ensure the best materials are used to maintain the building's historical integrity. He also reported that a thorough inspection revealed that the building was in much better overall condition than anticipated. The board unanimously agreed to accept the bid.

Highway Superintendent Phil Cornelius reported that Phase 3 of the 900 East project is complete. He also presented a budget request for Phase 4 on which the board unanimously agreed.

The board also passed his requests for additional funding for a consultant services agreement with Lochmueller Group, a protection study, the purchase of a piece of equipment, four dump trucks, and one crew cab truck and special pricing for fill stone.

Kathy Sullender, Daviess County public health nurse, followed Cornelius with a request to apply for a federal grant for funding to allow the health department to contract with Kellie Streeter for additional help with Daviess County's emergency preparedness project. The board approved Sullender's first request, as well as the second, which was for approval to pursue qualifying the Daviess County Health Department as an Immigration Clinic.

The board recommended proceeding cautiously to prevent area employers from taking advantage of the program and transporting immigrant employees to Daviess County's clinic resulting in a shortage of supplies, staffing and funding. It was determined that the clinic should be set up in the short term with a review of it in a year's time to ensure Daviess County doesn't end up funding the needed service for the five surrounding counties without a similar program.

Sullender also reported that Dubois County already sends all adults without insurance in need of immunizations to Daviess County for service because its their policy to only immunize children without insurance. Sullender's last two approved requests from the health department were to apply for a Title IV grant to allow the department's Community Health Liaison Guerrero Volsy to be promoted to full-time with benefits because her skills are required in excess of her current part-time status and a request to contract with the hospital for services outside the health department's capabilities.

Greg Jones with SIDC gave a report of the organizations work and requested continued funding. The board unanimously approved the funding after Jones shared this comparison of funding and SIDC's influence on economic development in the county.

"For every $1 Daviess County invests in SIDC it gets a return of $278," Jones said.

Daviess County Economic Development Corporation next presented a service contract for approval that the board approved with only one alteration recommended by the city attorney.

Ray Crawford's resignation from the WestGate Board was approved as was the recommendation of Samantha Crawford's appointment to finish his term.

Securing a smooth and fair transition from Southwest Ambulance Service to Daviess Community Hospital was the board's next goal. It was unanimously determined that the county would pay double this month to catch up its payments to Southwest, and then, in gratitude for the quality of service Southwest provided the community since 1984, continue their contract throughout the year with Sept. 1 being the latest date for the transition to be complete. A representative from Southwest said, "Joan and Wayne wish the best for the community, and they aren't going anywhere and will always be willing to jump in and help when it's needed."

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