Monday’s commissioners meeting doubled as a public hearing in regards to an application for an Office of Community and Rural Affairs grant.

No member of the public said anything in regards to the small business grant that Southeastern Indiana Regional Plan Commission (SIRPC) representative Mary McCarty presented at the meeting.

With McCarty’s assistance, the commissioners took the first steps to apply for OCRA’s $250,000 COVID-19 relief grant, which intends to help small businesses. This is OCRA’s third round of this grant.

At this time, the county will not match any amount of money in addition to receiving this grant, McCarty said. By contrast, the City of Shelbyville will match $80,000.

To meet language presented in the OCRA grant, the commissioners had to approve three additional ordinances: a fair housing ordinance, a drug free workplace ordinance, and a four-factor analysis.

Commissioner Kevin Nigh was present via phone, so he was not there to physically sign the documents McCarty needed him to sign. Nigh will sign them at a later date. The grant application is due March 11, and the county will find out in April if they received the grant.

The Commissioners also approved the Postage Meter Lease.

The lease pertains to a postage machine the auditor’s office uses to send mail. The price, which is paid monthly, increased more than $100 this year, totaling $238 each month.

Auditor Amy Glackman explained the price increased because in the past her office was using a refurbished machine, which allowed the lease to be cheaper.

“This postage machine has what’s called dynamic scale, so as you run the mail through it, it weighs it and puts the accurate postage on it, and that’s the one I would like to stay with because the auditor’s office does so many mailings, and we just run them through,” she told the commissioners.

Commissioner Don Parker praised the highway department’s handling of the snowstorm last week.

“Everyone wants to compare us to another county so I did the same thing,” he said. “My tour of the Rush, Bartholomew and Johnson, on that last snow, early in the morning, I could find very little significant difference. So I thought [our department] was doing all right.”

Parker also briefly mentioned HB 1381, pertaining to home rule and renewable energy. The bill passed through the Indiana House of Representatives last week and is now in senate committee.

He said he spoke to Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch about it on Friday, who is president of the senate, and he thinks she will have some influence in regards to the bill.

“I encourage everyone to contact their senators and let them know how we feel about this bill, 1381,” he said.

Drainage Board

The Drainage Board met immediately following the commissioners meeting.

This board heard a request for a drainage easement located at 5590 W. 900 North in Fountaintown.

Jeff Powell, a surveyor speaking on behalf of the owners, said he needs a 25 foot reduction in the easement in order to build a house on the property.

The Amos Ditch runs through the property, and the statutory requirement requires an easement of 75 feet around the ditch. The easement provides space for county officials to enter property and maintain the ditch. Powell said the ditch is not currently under maintenance.

Powell would like to reduce the easement on the east side of the ditch for the house.

“The most logical place to access this ditch anyhow is on the west side, to dredge it,” he said.

The board approved his request.

Then the conversation moved toward the Glessner Ditch, which lies south of McKay Road.

There’s a plan before the city to build a new apartment complex in this area, which would increase the drainage to the ditch. This area of land where the complex will be has provided main access to the ditch.

“That’s how we’ve been accessing that portion of the ditch, because we can drive off by the road and go down on that property,” County Surveyor Taylor Summerford said.

The ditch runs north of McKay road (i.e., city limits), so the commissioners maintain the part south of the road, and the city officials maintain the part north of the road.

“We need to contact the city to let them know we have concerns about that,” Parker said.

Board member Chris Ross suggested having the city completely take over maintenance of that ditch, since “there’s no doubt to the south they’re gonna keep developing.”

No action was taken on the issue.