Commissioners: EMA move to Huntingburg unlikely

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

It’s unlikely the Dubois County Emergency Management Agency office will move from the Dubois County Courthouse Annex to the former Fox Metal and Truss building on West 19th Street in Huntingburg.

The county found out that a $125,000 allotment the city was intending to use for the project will be used for a different Stellar project. That change increased the cost to outfit the building for the EMA office to about $411,000, instead of the $286,000 originally estimated.

“That is basically the death of it,” Dubois County Commissioner Chad Blessinger said at the commissioners’s meeting Tuesday. “I believe it’s pretty much not going to happen.”

The Dubois County Council will ultimately decide if the money will be allocated. But, the council has advertised a $200,000 allotment to consider at its meeting on Monday afternoon. The council’s sentiments have been to try and decrease the amount needed to be less than the $200,000, if possible.

At a discussion meeting city and county officials had about a week ago, Mayor Denny Spinner told county representatives that a $125,000 donation the county is giving the city for Stellar projects will be used for another project, not for the EMA space.

Spinner said this morning that the money will likely be used for moving the city’s street department to the new building, thus getting the department out of a flood area.

“That is a high priority for us,” he said. “That’s a commitment that I need to meet. Our goal is to complete our Stellar projects. We’ve got to make sure we have the funds available to complete those projects.”

The county donated a total of $500,000 to Huntingburg, to be used on Stellar projects as determined by the city, such as the street department’s move.

“They understood my position,” Spinner said. “It’s not what we all hoped for. But based on where we are on other Stellar projects, we need to commit that funding to other projects on the table.”

Spinner said that he understands the county’s position as well. “If the county sees the value in that investment, it will still happen,” he said. “I’m still willing to work with the county to provide space for the move. The full move will depend on what the county council chooses to fund.”

Based on Tuesday’s discussion, the commissioners do not believe the full move will happen. The project will go back to having space in the building for a training room and for storing EMA’s trailers and generator.

“I wasn’t in favor where (the estimate) was originally,” Blessinger said. With this increased cost, he said that he really does not favor funding the idea.

“I know the mayor has responsibilities to his constituencies and so do we,” he added. “But it feels like we had the rug pulled out of the project.”

The council will make the final funding decision at its meeting on Monday. That meeting will start at 4:30 p.m. in the council room at the Dubois County Courthouse Annex, 602. Main St., Jasper.




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