There’s a new chairman in Harrison County.

At their first meeting in the New Year, the Harrison County Board of Supervisors appointed a new chairman – John Straight. Supervisor Tony Smith was appointed vice chairman.

The board also recognized Lorie Thompson for 25 years of service as Harrison County Recorder.

After the railing was repaired around the second floor rotunda, Harrison County Auditor Suzy Bonham requested the board approve refinishing the remainder of the stairway railings.

The board received an estimate from Zach Ridder of Square One Home Services of Woodbine to remove, refinish and reinstall all the railings. The board approved the work and the estimate of $9,875.

Following the organizational meeting of the Board of Supervisors, the board heard a secondary roads report from County Engineer Steven Struble.

Three bridge projects were put on hold temporarily so contractors could enjoy the holidays, according to Struble.

While bridgework continues on Easton Trail, county crews are taking advantage of reduced traffic on the closed road to remove trees along the roadway.

Struble reported that the department has picked up two new pickup trucks in Harlan over the past couple of weeks.

“They are Chevy, quarter-ton, four-wheel-drive crew cabs,” Struble said. “They were quite a bit cheaper than Woodhouse, and a little bit cheaper than the last set.”

The vehicles cost approximately $38,800 each.

One of the old pickups has sold at auction for $400, and the other still needs to be sold.

Supervisors encouraged Struble to speak with Harrison County Emergency Manager Larry Oliver, who has a 2014 pickup truck with about 80,000 miles on it.

Supervisor Tony Smith said that Oliver reported trade-in value for that vehicle is just more than $17,000 – more affordable than a new vehicle with a lot of good use left in it.

Struble asked Oliver to let him see the truck before he trades it in.

Finally, Struble reported that his department is preparing for budget time.

“Because of the extra half to three quarters of a million we spent on flood control this year, we will end up spending less money on equipment during March,” he said. “So, we want to move money from the construction program over into maintenance to rebuild our rock salt piles that were depleted last year. “

The department’s $1,215,000 construction budget was bumped down to $825,000 for that purpose.

He proposed that the capital budget for the shop would include $120,000 to pay for land purchased north of the current county engineers property in Logan.

“That was a good move, getting those two houses,” Supervisor Walter Utman said. “I was all for that.”

Also included was $120,000 for the following year for consulting fees and to move existing buildings off the newly-purchased land.

With a $1,000,000 construction budget, doing the proposed shop in one year would eradicate that budget, and Struble is not willing to do that.

“We will do it in stages,” Struble said.

While renovations are necessary, the board questioned whether a new shed is needed at such a high price.

“I have never been in your shop, and I can’t get it where you are going to put this thing,” Utman said. “I don’t know if I am behind a $1 million shed.”

“I am not. I have already said that,” Straight agreed. “The old part does need replaced though.”

The matter is in early stages, and it will be considered more in the future.

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