PRINCETON — While a proposed wind farm project is under study in Gibson County, there's also plenty of interest in solar energy projects here.
Gibson County Floodplain Management Coordinator Stephanie McKinney confirmed to Gibson County Commissioners Wednesday that she issued floodplain permits for a solar panel project on Coffee Island area in Wabash Township. McKinney said the project west of Gibson Generating Station would provide electricity for Mount Carmel Public Utility in Mount Carmel, Illinois.
Board of Commissioners President Steve Bottoms said companies are leasing ground on the east side of the county for solar projects as well. Gibson County Solid Waste Management District is considering a solar energy project for the Gibson County Recycle Center, perhaps in 2020, and the new Vuteq training center/warehouse facility south of Toyota has solar panels, as well as other businesses and homes.
The solar power project got the brief mention in Wednesday's board of commissioners session, prior to a longer discussion about a wind turbine project proposed for Gibson/Posey counties.
In other business at the meeting:
• Highway Superintendent Chuck Lewis reported the county's road chip and seal work should begin in Washington Township Monday, moving south around the county as jobs are completed. The highway department crews are expected to shift in June from a five-day eight-hour schedule to a four-day ten-hour schedule for summer paving and other road work.
• Commissioners endorsed Gibson County Public Health Nurse Administrator Diane Hornby's proposal to ask the Gibson County Council to appropriate some of the $121,848 in grant funding the department has available, to purchase a four-wheel-drive truck. Hornby said the health department needs something that can tow trailers to sites around the county, noting that the health department's employees use their own vehicles presently to make site visits for septic, animal, housing and other regular on-site inspections.
Hornby also got permission to ask Gibson County Council members to appropriate funds from a $25,000 emergency preparedness grant to employ a part-time nurse. Commissioners told Hornby the council it's up to the council to set wages for all county employees.
• Commissioners were informed in department reports that Gibson County Animal Services is sponsoring a pet wellness clinic in cooperation with Princeton Veterinary Hospital at the Princeton Veterinary Hospital on May 18 for low-income and elderly owners of pets.
Gibson County Sheriff Tim Bottoms reported the county jail housed an average of 126 inmates daily last month, and an average 43 work release inmates. The jail census Wednesday was at 128 in the jail and 41 in the work release facility.