PRINCETON — Gibson County Commissioners Tuesday endorsed increases in fees for some permits issued through the Gibson County Health Department. Gibson County Council members will consider the request before it takes effect.

Public Nurse Administrator Diane Hornby said health board members want to set the fee for tuberculosis skin tests at $20, which will cover the actual expense of the procedure. She requested that immunization fees be set at $25 to cover administrative costs, but noted that a limited number of hardship waivers would be available to those unable to pay.

The department requests that septic system permits be set at $100 to reflect the on-site work required by the health department before a permit can be issued. Septic repair permits are proposed at $75. Hornby said waivers for major hardships would be available on a limited basis for those fees as well.

Food catering/festival permit fee changes are also proposed, with a lower fee of $25 for one festival or $50 for a year proposed. The department would discontinue its $50 catering fee, Hornby reported.

During her monthly report to commissioners Tuesday, Hornby said influenza vaccinations are still available in limited supply at the department. She said the health department can bill insurance but is not a designated Medicare provider.

In other business at the commissioners' meeting Tuesday, Gibson County Animal Services spokesman Netah Roberts reported that GCAS Executive Director Brenda Foley expects to enter semi-retirement soon, limiting her work to about 20 hours a week and focusing on grant writing.

Roberts reported that Mary Essary will assume more administrative duties and board member Sharon Werne is very active with the operations.

She said a GCAS benefit breakfast is planned Saturday from 7-11 a.m. at Klinker's in Princeton, and reported the organization has a Gibson County Community Foundation grant to help provide some limited financial assistance to elderly pet owners. A GCAS online auction is underway on Facebook too, she reported.

And finally, Roberts made a pitch for adopting a guinea pig at the shelter that has a "Cadillac house," and offered some Christmas shopping advice. "Don't buy pets for Christmas," she said. "Get gift certificates and let them come out and make the choice."

Gibson County Floodplain Administrator Stephanie McKinney reported that Oakland City and the towns of Francisco and Patoka are participating in the National Flood Insurance Program, which gives residents of those communities an opportunity to purchase flood insurance. She said the Town of Hazleton has initiated paperwork and submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to also participate in the program.

Gibson County Engineer Matt Holden told commissioners the Gibson County Parks Board is working on creation of a lake, restrooms and ADA-compliant playground equipment at Hopkins Family Park. He said Toyota donated funds to purchase trees to be planted at the park, and also made note of an $85,000 donation by Toyota for improvements to the park and to the county's two covered bridges.

Tabitha Anthis of Gibson County Soil and Water Conservation District invited commissioners to the Jan. 30 SWCD annual meeting at the Toyota Events Center at the Gibson County Fairgrounds. Anthis said a performance actor will be in character at Theodore Roosevelt at the event.

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