Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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February 13, 2013

Complying with ADA has cost for LaGrange County

LaGRANGE —  At Monday morning’s LaGrange County Council meeting, County Information Technology Director Bob Murphy gave the council a “heads-up” regarding a recent development.

Murphy said there are some more regulations coming down the pike from the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act. His department has been in the process of readying for an inspection of compliance with the ADA regarding all county-owned property and buildings.

“This includes all county and non-incorporated towns. The incorporated towns have to take care of their own property,” Murphy explained.

He said his department had already budgeted for an engineering firm to assist them in assessing any violations or code infractions or updating that needed to be done by the county to pass the ADA inspection. He called the additional regulation another “unfunded mandate” from Washington.

“Now, we have been told that, we not only need an engineering firm, but that the engineering firm has to collaborate with an architect on any projects,” Murphy said.

Murphy added that the county has its first inspection next month. He has retained First Group Engineering out of Indianapolis because they have an architect who works with them. The initial cost to the county came to approximately $50,100.

Murphy said that if the county doesn’t have the firm and the architect on board when the inspections begin, then the county would be denied any federal money until it became compliant. The funds will be allocated at the council meeting next month.

In another report, LaGrange County Economic Development President Keith Gillenwater pointed out some statistics in his organizations end-of-year report.

In 2009, there were three projects, creating 118 new jobs, with an investment of $3.5 million; in 2010, there were eight projects, creating 351 new jobs, with an investment of $8.61 million; in 2011, there were eight projects, creating 477 new jobs, with an investment of $6.32 million; in 2012, there were seven projects, creating 75 new jobs, with an investment of $8.88 million.

The good news was the average wage countywide went from approximately $13 an hour in 2009 up to over $20.50 and hour in 2012. He also said the shell building project was proceeding smoothly. The full report is available by calling the LCEDC at (260) 499-4994.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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