KOSCIUSKO — Kosciusko County Emergency Management Director Ed Rock requested approval to apply for a 2019 SHSP UAS grant in the amount of $90,000 for unmanned aerial systems at the Kosciusko County Commissioners meeting held Tuesday, May 14.
Rock stated they would add three drones to augment the one currently in the county and would also train people to operate the drones.
“In reality, the training on this is costing just about — not as much as the equipment, but it is significant,” said Rock.
Commissioner Bob Conley asked if the drones could be used by any department. Rock confirmed that is the intent.
“It will be managed under the sheriff’s department program, which is already in place, rather than reinvent a wheel,” said Rock. “We’ll just augment that system, build on it.”
Rock stated that the drone operators do not have to be law enforcement and said the grant is 100 percent reimbursable.
Conley agreed that he could see the need for the drones but expressed concern about appropriate use.
“There are pieces in the training that cover specially that,” said Rock, “and also in the procedures that have already been written. The public privacy is a huge aspect of it.”
“That’s my major concern,” said Conley, “because I’ve seen online drone videos and some are very disturbing. I know that our people are morally and ethically sound enough that they wouldn’t do the types of things that are being seen or being done and that’s a major concern.”
“Having voiced that and heard your answer, I would make a motion that we accept your request,” Conley stated. Commissioners unanimously approved Rock’s request.
County Highway Superintendent Scott Tilden requested approval to apply for a distribution of funds through Michiana Area Council of Governments and South Shore Clean Cities Inc. out of northern Indiana from a Volkswagen litigation settlement.
“There is money for new trucks and equipment starting after Aug. 26, 2019, on invoiced vehicles, and that would be for a 25 percent qualifying vehicle reimbursement,” said Tilden. “There is substantial money to gain if we would apply for this and we get a reimbursement off of the new trucks that would be invoiced to me sometime after the 26th of August.”
“Instead of only getting about $13,000 for trade-in allowances, we stand a chance of getting over $130,000 through this litigation thing for Volkswagen,” Tilden told commissioners, who gave approval for Tilden to proceed.
Bids were opened for projects at CR 800W, from US 30 to SR 19, approximately 6.5 miles, and CR 1000W, from CR 700S to CR 1000S, approximately 3 miles.
For the CR 800W project, bids were received from Niblock Excavating Inc., Bristol, in the amount of $1,521,321; Phend & Brown Inc., Leesburg, for $1,186,352.40; and E & B Paving Inc., Rochester, for $1,535,220.60.
For the CR 1000W project, bids were received from Niblock Excavating Inc. for $478,656.20; Phend & Brown Inc. for $420,348.76; and E & B Paving Inc. in the amount of $509,128.76.
Tilden said all bids came in under the engineers’ estimates. Commissioners approved Tilden’s request for permission to review the bids and return at the May 28 meeting with his recommendations.
- Joel R. Light, Warsaw, was recognized as veteran of the month.
- Prosecuting Attorney Dan Hampton requested approval for a proposed 2019 Senior HUB grant for $20,000. Hampton said the funds from this grant would go toward administrative costs, such as paying personnel and expenses for office supplies. This was approved.
- Commissioners approved an annual report for the congressional school fund presented by County Auditor Michelle Puckett.
- County Attorney Chad Miner reviewed the contract with Pyramid Consulting for the public safety communication system and found it to be acceptable.
- Commissioners approved a petition submitted by Miner for vacating alleyways near the Kosciusko Justice Building parking lot.
- The next regular meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 28.