PRINCETON — The organizational meeting of a newly created Gibson County Advisory Planning Commission is scheduled at 6 p.m. Dec. 11 at Wirth Park in Oakland City.
The new panel created by Gibson County Commissioners last month is charged with exploring a comprehensive plan and zoning within the county. County Attorney Jim McDonald said Tuesday morning that the first meeting will involve election of officers and establishing by-laws. Two other meetings are tentatively set for Dec. 18 and Dec. 28, if the panel chooses to meet again on those dates.
The panel was created as one of the first public steps in county government to explore zoning. The topic was re-introduced in private discussions with landowners on the east side of the county, with an interest toward protecting development along the Interstate 69 exchanges within the county. It's been a controversial topic among property owners on the east side of the county. Commissioners promised that public hearings would follow the creation of the advisory panel.
In other business at Tuesday morning's regular meeting of the board of commissioners:
• Gibson County Animal Services Director Brenda Foley reported the agency is promoting "Home for the Holidays Feline Frenzy," offering cats for adoption for a reduced fee of $55. Foley said the shelter houses about triple the amount of cats to dogs. She said the shelter has received funding that would waive the fee for adopting about a dozen cats. The adoption process involves an application and screening. A blind draw determines how the fees are waived. Board of Commissioners member Gerald Bledsoe pledged to sponsor two more cats himself Tuesday morning.
•Gibson County Veterans Service Officer George Pickersgill reported the van used to transport veterans to medical appointments is in need of replacement in the near future.
•Gibson County Public Health Nurse Diane Hornby said the health department administered 147 immunizations last month, conducted three lead tests, performed two pregnancy coordination programs, 12 tuberculosis skin tests, 18 communicable disease tests, 35 food department inspections, responded to reports of four dog bats and one bat, issued 48 birth certificates and 94 death certificates.
•Emergency Management Agency Director Terry Hedges reported he's received about $8,000 in funding for materials to clean up a potential hazardous materials spill near a federally protected waterway along Interstate 69. The county's local emergency response plan requires mock disaster training to plan for such an incident.
•Sheriff Tim Bottoms reported the jail census averaged 122 inmates last month, with 32 in the work release center. He said 135 inmates made court appearances, 122 of them by video link from the jail and 13 by transport to the Gibson County Courthouse.
He reported the department is looking for a replacement for a deputy who retired and moved to a position as bailiff at the courthouse, and is also filling an additional corrections officer position at the jail approved by the council.
Bottoms said the annual Shop with a Cop event serving about 40 local children is scheduled for 10 a.m. Dec. 16.
• County Engineer Matt Holden said the $670,000 Community Crossings grant contract has been approved. The county did about 13 miles of paving work with the funding.
•Commissioners agreed to make application for a $120,000 loan on behalf of the Blair Ditch District through the Indiana Finance Authority at a rate of 2.5 percent interest, with an eight-year payback schedule from ditch tax revenue. The Blair Ditch District covers 17,300 acres in Gibson County, about 686 land parcels.
•The board opened and approved low bids for fuel, stone, paving materials and bridge materials.