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Company will auction county vehicles

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Second culvert upgrade added to plan to help wildlife

By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

TELL CITY - Perry County commissioners approved at a June 17 regular meeting the employment of a company seeking to auction off some of the county's surplus vehicles and a replacement of culverts to help wildlife thrive.

The News reported after a June 1 meeting Jeff Kemper of SRI Inc., of Indianapolis sought to take on the sales of surplus county vehicles. He told them then two Ford Crown Victorias sold by the county last year for $420 each could have fetched more than $12,000 apiece.

At County Commissioner Jody Fortwendel's request, the issue was tabled until he could talk to County Highway Superintendent Ed Feix, who'd already received queries about surplus trucks in his fleet. According to County Auditor Connie Berger, Feix wanted to follow through on their sale through a sealed-bid process.

"That's not to say he wouldn't use SRI for other vehicles," Fortwendel said at the recent meeting.

The commissioners opted to put the sale of an ambulance and another Crown Victoria in SRI's hands.

The other issue was reapproved in February after an effort launched last June fell to other budget demands.

Amanda Kunzmann, a fisheries biologist for the Hoosier National Forest, secured the commissioners' cooperation a year ago to replace a six-foot culvert under Limestone Road with one 28 feet in diameter.

She told them Snake Branch water rushes through the existing pipe too fast to allow aquatic organisms to pass through safely, and Forest Service officials in Washington D.C. directed the replacement.

"We want all life stages to be able to pass through, and the higher (water) velocities prevent the younger organisms from passing," Kunzmann explained at the time. The organisms involved could be fish, crawfish, salamanders, snakes and fur-bearing wildlife such as muskrats and raccoons.

Additional project money will allow a culvert under Apricot Road to be replaced, as well. A rusting 8-foot round culvert on an unnamed tributary from Sulphur Fork Creek east of Linden Road will be replaced with the same type of larger culvert, described as an open-bottom square concrete structure.