Sheriff Asks For Federal Help For Prison Repairs | Sun News


ALBION – Noble County Sheriff Max Weber would like to take a large chunk of the US bailout money for jail repairs and upgrades to the facility’s heating and cooling systems.

Weber appeared before Noble County commissioners on Monday, bringing a list of projects he would like to see funded from ARP funds set aside by the federal government for Noble County.

Noble County received a payment of $ 4.6 million from the federal government to be spent on projects directly related to the coronavirus pandemic. Another payment of $ 4.6 million is expected to be received next June.

The first payment was received last June, but county officials were reluctant to allocate part of the money due to ambiguous demands set by the federal government.

County officials have attended several statewide sessions on how the money can be spent, but answers vary.

“They continue to say the situation is fluid,” Noble County Commissioner Anita Hess said.

“Things are constantly moving,” said Commissioner Gary Leatherman.

Weber worked with Noble County coordinator Jackie Knafel to determine which projects might be acceptable to the state.

In Monday’s meeting, Knafel said a $ 124,000 project to install a new crusher in the prison’s sewage system had at least one tentative deal from Indianapolis law firm Ice Miller. . The chopper will help chop items that inmates sometimes throw into the sewer system, such as clothing, that can clog sewer lines and lifting stations.

The same company asked for more information on a proposed $ 1.1 million roofing project from the prison before commenting on the likelihood that this type of work would be applicable to the ARP.

Weber would also like to see $ 1.6 million in heating and air conditioning upgrades made to the facility. The prison is 21 years old, he said, and “it hasn’t seen much improvement since that time.”

Weber said the federal grant is still taxpayer money, but “the whole country pays for it, not just Noble County.”

Some of the $ 2.8 million aggregate items could potentially wait, but some could fail tomorrow, with prison boilers and coolers already exceeding their expected life expectancies.

The federal criteria for the award of ARP funds are as follows:

• to respond to the public health emergency or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses and non-profit organizations, or assistance to affected industries such as tourism, travel and the hotel industry;

• to respond to workers performing essential work during the COVID-19 public health emergency by offering a bonus to eligible workers;

• for the provision of government services to the extent of the reduction in revenues due to the COVID-19 public health emergency compared to revenues received in the most recent full fiscal year before the emergency; and

• make the necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure.

Knafel would send additional information to Ice Miller and then report his recommendations to the Commissioners.

Leatherman said that over the next five to six weeks, he would like the application process to be open to local groups interested in ARP funding.

One area that has received a negative conclusion from experts on funding is that of trail networks. During a meeting Hess and Leatherman attended, someone from another county asked for ARP funds that could be used to build trails. This person was told no.

Also at Monday’s meeting, commissioners approved a new order that would slow traffic on the Oak Shore Subdivision in Orange Township. The order will lower the speed limit from 30 to 20 mph.

Randy Mull, president of the Oak Shore Property Owners Association, spoke out in favor of the change in a public hearing held Monday before the official vote.

“It’s a matter of safety,” said Mull.

The commissioners also waived a standard 10% payroll deduction for new employees of Brady Truex, a former Central Noble teacher who became the second assistant surveyor in the Noble County Surveyor’s office.

“He has all the skills I need for this job,” said surveyor Randy Sexton.

Leatherman said he had known Truex for years.

I think we’re very lucky to have it, ”Leatherman said.

Noble County Roads Department engineer Zack Smith said work will begin soon to raise a section of CR 600S, just east of CR 300E, to prevent water from pooling so badly in this area.

Smith also reported to Commissioners that eight of the 17 plots needed to expand CR 400N from SR 9 to CR 150E have been obtained by the county. Four more packages will be available soon, with the rest expected to arrive in the coming weeks.

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