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Commissioners sign interlocal agreement, solar resolution, reopen courthouse, set road limits

The Sullivan County Commissioners got a lot accomplished in a 15-minute time span during a special meeting – immediately prior to a joint meeting with the Sullivan County Council in an executive session – on Wednesday.

First off, the commissioners signed an interlocal agreement between the city of Sullivan and the county concerning Commonwealth Engineers Inc. proceeding with a capacity review/sewer extension for the possible site of a new jail north of the city.

Also, the city of Sullivan and the county agreed that if a proposed sewer cost option is acceptable to the county, that Sullivan would provide services for the proposed jail.

According to the agreement, the county will pay Commonwealth Engineers Inc. $26,000 for the engineering study; provide Commonwealth with assistance to complete the study; and be responsible and pay for the costs of extending the sewer line from the lift station, which is approximately 1,600 feet.

Commissioner John Waterman Sr. asked if the commissioners would talk to Shelburn about a second sewer service option, even though Shelburn has recently indicated that it is not interested.

“We decided not to do the engineering study,” commissioners’ president Bob Davis said.

Waterman mentioned maybe approaching the Shelburn Town Council on March 9 would be prudent just to communicate with them.

“If we want to go talk to them and see if they’re interested, let’s go talk to them,” Davis agreed.

The commissioners also signed a resolution in opposition of House Bill 1381, currently pending in the Indiana General Assembly

The resolution, created by the Indiana Board of Commissioners according to commissioners’ attorney Terry Modesitt, expresses support for local control on land use decisions for wind and solar farms.

The resolution says:

• Decisions regarding wind and solar development are best made by the citizens in the community, rather that by the wind and solar industry or state officials who live outside the community;

• If enacted, the legislation would disenfranchise the citizens of the ability to determine the conditions under which wind energy and solar energy projects would be allowed in their county.

Sullivan County Council member Jackie Monk asked the commissioners how many acres in the county are currently under contract for solar.

Commissioner RayMcCammon stated three companies for sure had signed papers.

Monk said she heard it was over 5,000 acres.

McCammon said, “That is a good possibility.”

In other business:

• The commissioners approved reopening the courthouse to the public with a caveat that all offices be fully-staffed. McCammon suggested courthouse security should add space on a sign-in sheet to better keep track of who is or who is not in the building.

• The commissioners approved a 10-ton weight limit be placed on all Sullivan Cunty hard surface roads, effective immediately.