Now that the city of Madison has assumed control of State Road 56 from Jefferson Street to the top of Hanover, city officials want to exercise due diligence in take good care of it.
Earlier this month, it was announced the city had received a $5 million grant for work beginning in 2026. But until then, the city wants to keep the roadway in the best shape possible. That begins soon and will include using a sealant on the road surface. “That will get us to the bigger job in 2026,” said Madison Mayor Bob Courtney, who called the sealant “highly effective. “It rejuvenates and extends the life.”
Dave O’Mara Construction of North Vernon was the lowest bidder at $490,968, and Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff Mindy McGee said the bid was recommended for approval after being reviewed by the engineers. The contract was actually significantly lower than the approximately $700,000 Community Crossing grant the city received.
Courtney said he’s hopeful that with additional funds remaining from the grant “we can see what can be added to the project that can still be funded under this grant.”
Other bids were from All-Star Paving of Seymour for $492,389.60; Libs Paving of Floyd Knobs for $560,045.05; and Mac Construction of Columbus for $616,032.75.
Board member David Carlow asked about repairs to water leaks and other projects that require work in the roadway and sometimes affect the smoothness of the roadway. McGee said the city will strive to have the road surface “as smooth as possible before sealing,” which involves working to have those type of repairs completed before the sealing.
Courtney said the sealant “is not the same as new asphalt but it will extend the useful life of what we have” so the roadway remains in good shape until more extensive work will be done beginning in 2026. McGee said that everyone she has discussed the sealant product has provided a positive review the product.
“We have had good information coming back” that it is highly effective, she said.
In other business:
• Approved street closure requests for the Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art, beginning at 8 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 24 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 26. The actual event will run 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily on that Saturday and Sunday, but street closures will be before and after that to give vendors time to set up and tear down.
Kara Hinze, event coordinator of the Chautauqua, said there has been interest expressed in extending the event past 5 p.m. on Saturday, but currently no changes have been approved. “Many don’t want to stop shopping by 5,” she said.
Hinze said the street to be closed for the Chautauqua are the same as in the past, but the dropoff from the shuttle is being moved to First Street and Broadway Street, which she noted is the main entrance to the Chautauqua. Golf cart traffic will be on Second Street.
Courtney said he’s pleased the Chautauqua will return to downtown Madison this fall after being canceled by COVID last year. However, he noted that all festival events are subject to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s COVID orders at the time, but that he is hopeful conditions will continue to improve and restrictions will be limited.
• Approved closing Broadway Street between Main Street and Third Street for the Madison Farmers Market from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays from April 3 through Oct. 30. “There are no changes from what has been going on” in the past, said Austin Sims, executive director of Madison Main Street, which has recently taken over management of the Farmers Market.
“Thank you for taking on the Farmers Market,” Courtney told Sims. “The Farmers Market has been very important to our community for decades,” adding that the city’s Farmers Market is the oldest one in the State of Indiana, and an example of Madison’s leadership in what it has to offer to people in the community.
• Approved a PACE application for 612 West Main Street from Ellen Troutman of La Grange, Kentucky, for $6,600. Troutman will be restoring the original storm doors that were found in third floor storage, and also will be restoring the entry way. A PACE application was also approved at 735 Jefferson Street from Charles Requet III of Madison to repair masonry on the foundation and brick work.
• Reports were given on work done at three PACE projects including 520 Mulberry Street, a property owned by Nancy Crisp of Madison had received a $25,000 grant; 949 West Main Street, a property from Bobby Cook of Lexington, Indiana, had received a $7,500 grant; and 816 West First Street, a property owned by Bill Sexton of Hanover, had received a $7,500 grant. Also, a 90-day extension was given to John Schuring on the starting date for a PACE grant project at 1063 West Main Street that has been delayed due to the weather.
• Madison Police Chief John Wallace presented requests for updates to the police department’s Standard Operating Procedures manual on how soon officers may be eligible for promotion. The promotion to Captain will change from a current six year requirement to five years, lieutenants from five years to four years, and sergeants from four years to three years.
Wallace said the department is looking for ways to develop the best opportunities for promoting officers. He said that often officers will turn down promotions because they don’t want to work another shift. “I see this as being a real issue in the future,” said Wallace, who noted he’s hopeful efforts can be made to find a solution. He also said that adjusting the longevity requirements for promotions “sends a message that while longevity is important, it’s not the only thing” that may earn a promotion.
• Courtney commented on the American Rescue Plan Act that was signed last week by President Joe Biden, and the money that will provide to Madison and Jefferson County. He said Madison will receive $2.47 million and Jefferson County will get $6.27 million. “We have no shortage of infrastructure needs,” said Courtney, who said the city will look for ways to use the money for the betterment of Madison.
• Courtney had high praise for work by the city’s street department, police department, utilities department and parks department in cleaning Vaughn Drive after recent flooding. “It was covered in mud from the flooding and they got it reopened by the weekend. They did an exceptional job,” he said.
• Approved changes to property purchases at 213 Harrison Street, 822 East First Street and 1200+ Clifty Hollow that will delay closings to May 31. The city will pay $5,000 for the addendum to property owners Richard L. Peak and Michael J. Peak, which is part of the purchase price. The properties are part of the gateway to Madison improvement project.
• Approved changes to property purchases at 300 East Vaughn Drive, 301 East Vaughn Drive, 303 East Vaughn Drive, 305 East Vaughn Drive, 307 East Vaughn Drive and 701 West Vaughn Drive that also delay closings on those properties to May 31. Those properties are currently owned by Madison Coal and Supply Company.
One more death related to COVID-19 has been recorded in Trimble County, according to information released by Kentucky’s North Central District Health Department.
That brings the total COVID-19 deaths in Trimble County to six. There have been a total of 644 cases of COVID-19 in Trimble County with 19 currently active.
On Monday, it was reported Jefferson County had one new case of COVID-19 with the overall total now at 2,978. So far 15,019 Jefferson residents have been tested. The seven-day positivity percentage is currently 2.5% and the unique positivity rating is 4.9%. The total deaths in Jefferson County attributed to the virus pandemic is 76.
In Switzerland County, there were no new cases of COVID-19 with the total at 756. So far, 3,857 residents have been tested and the seven-day positivity is currently 1.4%. A total of eight deaths have been attributed to the virus pandemic in Switzerland County.
Overall the state of Indiana reported eight new deaths and 421 new positive cases. So far there have been 672,967 positive cases overall and 12,454 deaths.
A total of 837,233 Hoosiers are now fully vaccinated which includes 804,969 that received a necessary second dose, and 32,264 that had a single dose vaccination offered by Johnson & Johnson. There have been 1,276,777 statewide that have received a first dose of a two-dose vaccination series.
At last report, about 6,997 Jefferson County residents have received at least the first of two doses of the COVID vaccine. In Switzerland County, 1,305 have received at least the first of two doses of the vaccine.
Dr. John Hossler, health officer for Jefferson County, said Monday that the Jefferson County Health Department recently received about 200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that requires only one shot as opposed to the vaccines manufactured by Moderna and Pfizer that must be administered in two shots about three weeks apart. He said JCHD expects to continue receiving both types of vaccine in the coming weeks with an empasis on getting more residents vaccinated more quickly.
“Expanding vaccinations in Jefferson County, where there are about 30,000 people needing the shots, should be very manageable,” Hossler said. “We’ve just been plodding away. We’ll get there.”
Hossler said he anticipates issuing a release later this week reflecting on the one-year anniversary of the pandemic locally to look at how the county has handled the outbreak, what’s worked and not worked and looking toward the future.
In Kentucky, 445 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on March 14, according to the Kentucky Department of Health. There have been 416,215 positive cases overall and 4,982 deaths including 16 new deaths. Carroll County has reported 931 cases of COVID-19 with 10 deaths.
COVID vaccine and appointments for the vaccination are being taken by the Jefferson County Health Department for residents age 65 and older, first responders and health care employees. Appointments must be scheduled by visiting www.ourshot.in.gov or calling 2-1-1.
The West Carroll Water District Board — which has served customers in Carroll and Trimble counties since the 1970s —would be dissolved under a proposal sought by the City of Carrollton and its municipal Carrollton Utilities Company.
Carrollton Mayor Robb Adams addressed members of Trimble Fiscal Court Monday to let them know that in an effort to streamline management and oversight, the state is seeking the consolidation of smaller water districts — including those like West Carroll that have been managed by the city for more than two decades.
Adams noted that West Carroll was formed in the early 1970s to bring water to west Carroll County and portions of Trimble County but for the last 21 years Carrollton Utilities Company has managed and provided service to West Carroll customers as well as a number of smaller water companies in the Carrollton Utilities service area.
Adams said the state is asking that the West Carroll Water District Board be dissolved with Carroll taking over the district in all aspects of operation. The change will not be immediate but he wanted to give Fiscal Court advance notice that the issue was upcoming and will need resolutions from both Trimble and Carroll fiscal courts for approval.
“Our goal is to continue to provide clean water to those residents ... that’s the only part we’re going to play,” Adams said.
However, Trimble officials questioned whether the county would maintain any representation on the new board. Adams said while the Carrollton Utilities does have a board and there is a member representing West Carroll Water District, that position is not further defined by county residency. In addition, the board members are appointed by Carrollton City Council.
“West Carroll’s board member may or may not be from Trimble County but it will be from the district,” Adams said.
“We would like to see a Trimble residents on there but I’m sure Carroll Fiscal Court feels the same way,” Trimble Judge-Executive Todd Pollock said.
Trimble officials also asked if the proposal would have any impact on ongoing projects like the expansion of services to areas like Hardy Creek Road. Adams noted that operationally nothing would change because the district is already managed by Carrollton but that projects like Hardy Creek are also dependent on Community Development Block Grant funding and, if those grant applications are not approved by the state, then expansion of services could be delayed.
In other business, the court:
• Approved a $12,408 purchase for a new HVAC system for the Trimble County Courthouse rather than spending about $6,000 on a new compressor for the existing HVAC system that has been in use for about 13 years.
According to Bruce Pyles, the system has caused problems for several years and based on its age and cost for repairs, replacement offers a better value. He said the county has spent enough money on repairs in recent years to pay to replace the unit twice.
The county received five bids for the work with Turner’s Heating & Cooling, Bedford, selected for the project. The court said Turner’s bid was competitive and the business is local.
• Heard a request by Dena Riley, director of the Trimble County Public Library, to utilize a portion of the county’s facilities at the Trimble County Recreational Park for a branch digital library in the Tri-County Community Action Building. Riley said a 12-foot by 12-foot space would be sufficient to provide expanded digital library services to residents of that area and that the library would provide computers, furniture and network connection.
• Heard a report by Benjamin U’Sellis of Charter Communications on the communication company’s plans to expand internet services in Trimble County over the next couple of years as part of a multi-million-dollar statewide initiative to bring high speed internet to rural Kentucky.
U’Sellis said Charter was prepared to spend about $2 million of its own money with the rest funded by the state to bring high speed internet to Trimble County including the most rural areas along the Ohio River. The project most likely won’t begin before 2022 but, when completed, every household in the county should have access to at least 200 MB minimum download speeds.
• Held a preliminary review of a plat for a new subdivision on Brays Ridge Road where a 38-acre tract will be subdivided into 10 residential building lots ranging from 1.04 to 5.39 acres.