Commissioners Approve Annual Williams Covered Bridge Dinner

Lawrence County Tourism Director Tonya Chastain asked the Commissioners Tuesday morning permission to host the Annual Williams Covered Bridge Dinner on Saturday, September 11, 2021. That is if COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

“If the social distancing restrictions are not lifted we will not be able to host the event, but we are hopeful,” said Chastain.

Between 250 to 300 people attend the annual event.

In other business:

The commissioners appointed Spring Mill State Park Manager Mark Young to the Lawrence County Tourism Board.

The commissioners appointed Commissioner Dustin Gabhart to serve on the Community Correction Board. Gabhart will replace former Commissioner Gene McCracken.

The commissioners approved an attorney fee addendum for the assessor’s office. The fee increased from $150 an hour to $175 an hour.

“It is for our tax attorney and only used when absolutely needed,” said Assessor April Collins.

The Commissioners approved Clerk Billie Tumey’s request to renew the yearly Microvote contract for the maintenance of the voting machines.

Community Corrections Director Chad Shew requested permission to apply for a Department of Correction Juvenile Problem Solving Court grant for $32,226.

He also informed the commissioner, community corrections received an $11,124 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant for officers safety and a $500 United Way Grant for employee health wellness.

Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham reported there were 141 inmates this morning in the jail. Of those 117 were males, 24 females, and eight Department of Correction holds.

“In 2019 and 2020 we were in the 160, 170 range,” said Sheriff Branham. “In 2017, when the numbers were in the normal range we were at 126. We are in really good shape now. We appreciate the courts working with us.”

Highway Superintendent David Holmes reported highway crews are ready when and if the snow hits Lawrence County.

“The snow trucks and crews are ready,” he said. “But we are hoping it doesn’t come.”

Work continues on Bridge 150 on Mill Creek Road. Holmes has secured contracts between the railroad, the county, and INDOT to move forward with the project. There were some issues with placing bridge piers in the railroad right of way.

Holmes said he will be seeking Community Crossing Funds to replace the Bridge on Oolitic Road and Sand Pit Road.

Holmes thanked Community Correction crews for helping clean up the former Avoca Fish Hatchery area.

“Their crews have put in a lot of hard work and the area looks nice,” he added.

Emergency Management Director Valerie Luchauer reported she continues to monitor local COVID-19 numbers.

The commissioners signed the contract today with AT&T for call handling equipment for the county. That proposal is for approximately $330,000 over a five year period. The money is being paid out of the Emergency Management budget.