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County road crew ready for winter weather

The Hancock County Fiscal Court met on Monday, January 8th, their first meeting of 2024. HC Road Dept. Supervisor Dave Tindle reported that crewmen are ready to go when cold weather really begins to ramp up this winter.

“We’ve got the sand and everything in the trucks ready to go,” Tindle said. “We’ve got 2 employees that with the movement of the routes – we’re running those routes with them and teaching them where to turn around and where not to turn around, etc.

We’ll start trying to clean up some of these roads that are really busted up – Richardson for one, has really been busted up from logging. We’re cleaning up some tiles. With rain coming in here, we’re making sure we get these tiles cleaned up (to avoid flooding).”

Senior Services

“We were just busy with the holidays,” HC Senior Services Director Lona Morton reported. “One of the big things that has also been going on is GRADD is also trying to spend their ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds, and they got a vaccine grant.

Fortunately for us, they are passing the wealth down. One of the things they’re going to do is purchase us 10 round tables and 100 folding chairs to have. They’ve also purchased 4 laptops, one for me if I have to work from home to access everything. The other 3 are to be used for public use, with the contingence that we have some kind of classes for the seniors, like how to set up an email, online baking, etc.

One of the big things I’m excited about, we are getting a 75-inch smart tv to put into the dining room (hopefully, by next Tuesday). It will be capable of streaming from other centers, like if they have classes for example for tai chi or yoga, then all of them can do those at the same time. We can put educational things up also.

With the vaccine grant, we had a vaccine clinic this fall but they are pushing for us to do another one in the spring. Everybody can get the vaccine, a t-shirt, a chance to win gift cards, and their name put in the pot for a chance to win a tablet.

I’ve also done advertising for another driver because our Lewisport route has flourished. Right now, we are serving 17 clients on that route. We are under guidelines as far as time frames that we have to deliver the meals – from the time they leave central kitchen, and we have 4 hours.

With us having 17, it’s cutting it close for that time frame, and also having enough room in coolers to get the trays and cold items. Right now, I have 3 active drivers. I’m looking at splitting Lewisport up and then we’ll have 4 routes that will be more even.”

HC Senior Services has well over a thousand members and serves around 500 congregate meals per month, as well as delivering approximately 650 home meals.

EMS Report

Hancock County 911/EMS Director Damian Rice, ENP, CMCP said they are beginning the process of entering into a regional grant with Daviess and Webster County.

“It’s for a weather radio and hazard indication grant to be placed into all manufactured homes in each one of those counties,” he said. “We started the fact finding part of it – trying to get exactly how many mobile homes we have in each county.”


The court approved a $3,750 grant for weather sirens in the county. “Minus the estimated taxes on that,” Roberts said, “it gets us to $129,326,068. With a grant of $50K, it gets us down to $79K for the sirens, plus that will be shared with Commonwealth. The siren cost will be about $55K to get those replaced, for all of them.”

HC Clerk Report

Hancock County Clerk Trina Ogle brought before the court an estimated budget for 2024, and it was approved. “We have our rollout tomorrow (1-9-2024) of our new vehicle system so I’m pretty excited about that,” she said. “Basically, it will be more user friendly for the customer and us.

We’re going to be able to scan your driver’s license and pull up all of the vehicles you have in your name through a system that never got rid of any vehicles you’ve had in your name.

It’s going to be a lot of bumps in the road between now and getting things mainstream but things will be better for you as a customer and me as a clerk, to better serve the constituents. It will be in your favor because you get to keep your license plates.

What that entails is, if you have a vehicle that has a license plate that has a good registration on it, you get to keep it, and use your money out of that plate rather than passing it on to the vehicle that we had from the past.

If you buy a vehicle, you’re going to have to put a plate on it, and if you have one from previously, you won’t have to purchase one. It’s going to be a learning curve for everybody. It’s a long time coming. Our system was band aided together so we’re really looking forward to it.”

Dive Team Agreement

“The Dive Team has everything in order,” Judge-Executive Johnny “Chic” Roberts said. “I make a motion to approve that affiliation in regards to the Rescue Squad. I know they’ve gone through some membership changes. I think they’re waiting to get some other things in compliance, regarding statutory. We’ll wait on that but go ahead and make the affiliation agreement.

Everything that the Rescue Squad has done to this point will be taken care of through the fire departments until we get another look.” The motion was passed and it was approved by the court.

“We’re trying to make the training consistent across all emergency response entities,” Roberts added. “We’ve not always had that so this would kind of normalize that, with the Dive Team and Rescue Squad. We’re following about the same parameters. We want that to be pretty consistent with response to an emergency on our roads, they need to have the training.”

Rescue Squad

New Assistant Chief Gregory of the HC Rescue Squad reported, “We’ve recently undergone some new administrative changes. We’re currently working on redoing the bylaws to better suit the Rescue Squad and to better suit the county as a whole.

We are redoing our record system to make sure we can better keep our records accurately and to make sure they’re backed up in case of any event where they might be destroyed. I appreciate the chance to build ourselves back up before you make any decisions on the future of the department. We would all very much like to fight to keep the department open and we are working very diligently to make sure that happens.”

Animal Shelter

Ronnie York, HC Animal Shelter Director and Dog Warden, said he still has high numbers of dogs that need homes. He said there are currently 13 dogs, which isn’t normal for this time of year. The norm is around 5 or less for this time, he said.

Treasurer’s Report

County Treasurer Melissa Johnson’s report was approved, reflecting $854,134 before paid bills. “That’s down from $9,589,000 a year ago,” Roberts said. “Some of the change in this, is that we used some of the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds, finally.” (The occupational tax report will be announced at the upcoming night meeting.)

Sheriff’s Report

Hancock County Sheriff Dale Bozarth provided the court with an estimated budget for 2024. The receipts to date for the next year are estimated at $398,850, he said. The total revenue is $341,000, plus the state advancement of approximately $51K, which brings it up to $392,850. These along with estimates on costs for trainings, court security, salaries, etc., were approved by the court.

Economic Report

Mike Baker, Director of Economic Development for the HC Industrial Foundation, reported that, “The unemployment rate for November was 4.0, and the year to date is 4.48. So it’s been pretty consistent all year long, which is good.

Hancock County was the only county in the state where the unemployment rate fell in November, 117 counties went up and stayed the same. The unemployment rate in Nov. for Daviess was 4.0, Breck Bounty – 4.5, and Ohio County – 5.0.

The state of the county is good. All 3 industries are doing well. They’re all investing capital, and unemployment is steady – just dealing with attrition, retirements, aging-out, and that type of thing. Our Tier 2 manufacturers, they’re consistent and we’re even seeing some growth there. That’s looks like a good 2024, at this point.

Big Rivers has a new CEO that starts today (Monday, January 8th). His name is Don Gulley. He came from Southern Illinois Power so Bob Berry is retiring after many years. We hate to see him go. He’s been a good friend of industry in Hancock County. We wish him well and we’ll get to know the new CEO.

There are no new developments in Coleman (site) – no activity over there right now. The activity statewide on electric vehicle battery plants has kind of slowed down with some of the questions and uncertainties with that industry. The state of our county, right now, is that Hancock County is in pretty good shape.”

By Jennifer Wimmer


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