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County seeks proposals for administering housing grant

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By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

TELL CITY - Perry County Auditor Connie Berger told county commissioners last month she is seeking proposals for a grant administrator to oversee a housing-rehabilitation grant provided through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

If the grant is approved, it would fund the rehabilitation of approximately 17 homes in Perry County. A legal advertisement outlining requirements prospective administrators must comply with, including a Nov. 3 deadline, appeared in the Oct. 2 issue of The News. Bids will be opened at the commissioners' Nov. 3 meeting, Berger said.

Commissioners also approved an interlocal agreement county attorney Chris Goffinet prepared at the request of the Perry County Port Authority designating Tell City the lead agency in a proposed project to improve a road leading from Indiana 66 to River Road. River Road from that intersection to the Port of Tell City will be improved in a later project, and once work on the entire route is completed, the up-grades will allow trucks going to and from the port to avoid using Tell City streets.

Those approaching the port from the south will also cut 1.25 miles in travel, said Dick Neumann, vice president and chief executive officer for the port authority and Hoosier Southern Railroad.

As The News has reported previously, the port authority is working to coordinate the connecting-road project with work planned by the Indiana Department of Transportation to improve Indiana 66 in 2010. If they're successful, INDOT can incorporate turn or deceleration lanes into their project, Neumann told the commissioners.

He sought and received approval from the Tell City Common Council at their regular meeting Oct. 6 and from Cannelton officials Oct. 13 because the road is within that city's limits.

Cannelton's mayor and one councilman attended a port-authority board meeting Sept. 10 and were told the interlocal agreement would relieve the city of maintenance responsibilities.

Access to the road will have to be controlled so people don't use it to illegally dump refuse in the area, the CEO said. Parts of River Road are closed to the public because that has been a problem in the past.

Neumann told the commissioners approximately 80 percent of the 40 trucks accessing the port each month will use the improved road. That traffic will increase once a barge manufacturer goes into production at the port.

The commissioners also approved a $60,000 appropriation from the county's road-and-street fund requested by Highway Superintendent Ed Feix. He said he'll use the money to stockpile stone, which he said will save fuel costs. As the commissioners eyed a $25,000 transfer into the department's fuel line item from professional services, Commissioner Jody Fortwendel asked if that will be enough to provide fuel for the rest of the year.

"There's no way to know," Feix said. "The storm really hurt us, and after a dry season like this, we have to add a lot of rock to the roads. It's going to be close."

Commissioners also approved a bond for the planning and zoning commission secretary and voting locations for the general election, which Berger said have not changed from the May primary. They also approved a Qualified Tax Exempt Obligation certificate requested by the Perry County Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees.

"We do this occasionally," Goffinet said. "It certifies that not more than $10 million in tax-exempt money will be issued per year. The hospital is getting tax-exempt financing for land they're purchasing."