Commissioners Table Bridge Agreement Over Costs

Kosciusko County Commissioners tabled a supplemental agreement for bridge work this morning after hearing that environmental requirements are adding almost $75,000 to the cost.
The county and the City of Warsaw are splitting the cost of widening a bridge on CR 300N over Tippecanoe River and adding a walkway to help kids get to school. But the widening part of the plan requires wetlands mitigation to protect a species of mussel unique to the river, Phil Beer, vice president of USI Consultants, told commissioners – an extra $29,500 to create one acre of additional wetlands as well as $45,000 for seven years of monitoring.
Commissioner Ron Truex remarked that the county and city haven’t yet discussed the cost of the bridge, and the mitigation represents extra cost just to be able to do the project.
“It’s frustrating to be regulated like this,” said Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer, who attended the meeting.
Commissioners tabled the agreement and may revisit it at a special meeting Dec. 22.
Also this morning, commissioners approved:
• The creation of the 30 West tax increment finance district, which covers a wedge shaped area between Warsaw and Etna Green between U.S. 30 and Old 30. Extra money captured within the district will go toward such uses as mainting county roads that cross U.S. 30. This was the last step for the TIF, which was approved last week by the County Economic Redevelopment Commission.
• Giving Bob Conley, president of the county commissioners, authority to sign an agreement with the Indiana Family and Social Security Administration, which would let the county receive Medicaid reimbursement for medical costs for county jail inmates, once a final draft is received.
• An encroachment agreement allowing James Sarll to rehabilitate a property in Hill Lake. Sarll wants to replace the foundation and a wall of the 60-year-old building, but was denied by the Board of Zoning Appeals because of an issue with the right of way of South Hill Drive, which the wall faces, said attorney Steve Snyder.
• Posting a 20 mph speed limit on county-maintained EMS lanes in Osborn Landing.
• The 2016 board appointments and department heads. Appointments are: Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, Gordon Vanator; Area Plan Board, Bob Conley and Kevin McSherry; Board of Health, Terry Owens; Board of Zoning Appeals, Lee Harman and Charlie Haffner; Kosciusko County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Commission, Kristy Plikerd and Mark Skibowski; Drainage Board, James Scott and Truex; Emergency Management Advisory Board, Truex; KEDCo, Truex; Bell Memorial Library Board, Dick Webb; OrthoWorx, Brad Jackson; Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals, Susie Stookey and David Knisely; Public Defenders Board, Steve Harris, John Hall and Alan Alderfer; Redevelopment Commission, Bruce Woodward, Max Courtney, Curt Hermann and Henry DeJulia; St. Joe River Basin, John Roberts; Wage Committee, Jackson; Weights and Measures, Larry Marner; Warsaw Community Development Corp., Conley.
Department head appointments were approved as: Area Plan director, Dan Richard; county administrator, Ron Robinson; county attorney, Chad Miner; GIS, Bill Holder; county highway superintendent, Scott Tilden; homeland security/LEPC, Ed Rock; system administrator, Bob Momeyer; veteran officer, Rich Maron.

(Story By The Times Union)