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Commissioners End The Year Hearing Praises Of Their Service

Last updated on Wednesday, December 28, 2016

(BEDFORD) - After more than 12 years of serving Lawrence County, Commissioners Bill Spreen and David Flinn said good bye Tuesday morning.

But before the close of the meeting they heard praises from each department head and those they served.

"Dave and I have been able to accomplish a lot over the 12 years," says Commissioner President Bill Spreen. "We have worked hard over the years."

New commissioner Rodney Fish added that he appreciated the men's hard work.

"I would also like to recognize their families for putting up with you and the job," Fish added.

In other business:

The commissioners heard from Randy Smith, a senior associate with 39 Degrees North.

Smith told the commissioners there were 34,357 individuals that visited the site in 2016. Many of those were local residents and included visitors from Bloomington, Indianapolis and Louisville. Of those 27 percent were new visitors.

Mobile phone users and other mobile devices visitors increased from 3,114 to 5,574.

Commissioner Spreen asked about photos on the site that showed items in people's garages and barns, which could lead to thefts.

Smith told the commissioners that those photos are taken by the county assessors and he would look into it and have any that contain those images be removed.


Miles Parker, with Parker Group, presented the commissioners with a renewal contract for the county's property and casual coverage.

Parker is also looking into the county's cyber liability coverage. Especially with the threat of a ransomware threat. Madison County Commissioners had to pay a ransom after an unidentified attacker left police, fire and other government staff locked out of their computers.

The commissioners also voted to extend the primary care program for three months, while Parker and the steering committee work on lowering the cost.

Parker told the commissioners that they found the cost of appointments was a "little high."

The steering committee is looking at dropping the hours of care.

Currently employees can visit both IU Health and St. Vincent Dunn Hospitals two hours per day during the week. They would like to drop that to one hour a day at each facility in hopes to reduce the cost.

The commissioners approved the extension which will end on March 31. Services will remain the same until that time.


Tug Beal, a member of S.T.O.P. (Save Taxes and Our Property group) presented the commissioners with a letter requesting to make any plans promoters of extending trails from Bloomington south toward Oolitic and other areas within the county to present "full and complete hard copy documentation of their plans for public inspection at the Bedford Public Library."

Beal says there are currently 103 land owners against the trails crossing their properties. Members of S.T.O.P. continue to express concerns about infringement of property rights and safety issues.

Beal says many of those affected by the recreation trails do not have internet access and making the plans public at the library will allow landowners to access the information.


Lawrence County Highway Superintendent David Holmes reported crews are ready if winter hits.

Crews continue to cut brush and replace culverts.

The commissioners awarded Duncan Robinson the contract to build bridge 25 at Otis Park, near the tennis courts.

They submitted the lowest bid at $357,527.60. That bid was $10,000 less then what the engineers estimated.

Holmes says crews will begin work the first week of January.

Crews have removed Bridge 54 on Jasper McKeaigg Road. The truss bridge was taken to Vincennes where it will be sold.


The commissioners signed a contract with Spice Valley Landscape & Garden to do the yard work at the courthouse at a cost of $4,580 a year.


Sheriff Mike Branham reported there were 129 inmates in the jail Tuesday morning. Of those 20 were females, 10 Level 6 felony convictions and 2 were Department of Correction holds.

Sheriff Branham says the body scanners are in use and have all ready prevented contraband from entering the jail.

"We have had a handful of incidents," Sheriff Branham reported. "Now they are trying to get it into the jail from outside the fence."

The department also received a grant for drug intervention. Last year the department received around $35,000. This year they received $85,955.

The money will be used to purchase new computers for the police vehicles, replacing the ones they currently have that are six years old.

The money will also pay for training, purchase field testing kits and pay overtime hours to allow officers to stop drugs from being transported to and from the county.

The repairs to the ramp outside of the jail have been put on hold.

The lowest bid received was from Lindsey Lumber for $273,000 that is about 70 percent higher then what DLZ engineers estimated the cost should be.

Sheriff Branham has contacted DLZ to review the project and see where the department can cut costs.

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