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April 9, 2013

Commissioners approve funding for county highway needs

GOSHEN — You have to give a little to get a little.

Elkhart County Highway Director Jeff Taylor went before the Elkhart County Board of Commissioners Monday morning to seek approvals for several additional appropriation and appropriation reduction requests.

Rental equipment

The first additional appropriation to be approved was for a request for $88,474 from the motor vehicle highway fund for equipment rental.

“These are funds that are the proceeds from the equipment auction we had,” Taylor said. “The equipment was either obsolete or not used very much. What we want to do is put that sum of money into an equipment rental fund, and when we need that kind of equipment, we’ll just rent it rather than own it.”

In explaining his request, Taylor said it has actually been costing the department more to own the equipment than it would to rent it on an as-need basis.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Commissioner Frank Lucchese.

Right of way acquisition

Also approved by the board was a request for $125,000 from the Economic Development Income Tax fund to purchase right of way for the C.R. 3/C.R. 32 intersection.

“We have federal funds to improve the site and visibility of that intersection,” Taylor said. The intersecton is about four miles north of Wakarusa. “The design is complete, and now we’re entering the right of way phase, and $125,000 is needed.”

Taylor said $75,000 was originally appropriated for the project, but a finalized appraisal of the project revealed that the cost would be slightly higher than anticipated.

“We have the actual documents now from the appraiser, and that makes a difference,” Taylor said. “When we first get an appropriation, it’s kind of a shot in the dark. $125,000, that should do it unless we encounter some difficulties.”

Drafting assistance

An additional appropriation for $30,000 from the EDIT fund for drafting assistance and environmental document preparation was also approved by the board Monday.

According to Taylor, one of his department’s engineers is away on maternity leave, requiring that the department contract for some additional help in drafting and environmental document preparation work until the employee returns in June.

Postage

The last of the additional appropriation requests approved was for $1,000 from the MVH fund for postage.

“We ran over on our postage, and we’ll probably run over again,” Taylor said. “We’re selling all of our old radio equipment on eBay, and every time you ship one of those it’s $15 to $20.”

Appropriation reductions

First to be approved for a reduction was a request by Taylor to put $30,336.60 back into the EDIT fund, close out the accounts for sections 2A and 2B of the new C.R. 17.

“2A is the section between C.R. 28 and C.R. 30,” Taylor said. “2B is between C.R. 30 and C.R. 32.”

Next to be approved was a reduction request from the EDIT fund for $89,543.75 to close out the Cleveland Road project.

“All of the right of way had been purchased, and it has to be closed out,” Taylor said. “We started with $200,000, so with all of the right of way services and purchases, it came to just over $100,000.”

 

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