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3/6/2019 5:49:00 PM
Jasper County Commissioners talk solar power, state grant

Nick Fiala, Herald Journal

RENSSELAER — The Jasper County Commissioners voted to approve a draft of the county’s solar power ordinance as law on Monday.

This draft had previously been approved by the Jasper County Plan Commission. Amendments to the county’s wind power ordinance, which the commissioners also passed into law earlier this year, will be discussed by a special committee later this week.

During Monday’s meeting, plans were also discussed for a grant application that could help cut county general fund spending by as much as 20 percent.

The plan commission originally met to discuss the solar power legislation in January, and that discussion was continued until a public hearing Feb. 25. At that time, the commission voted to positively recommend the amendment. The vote was unanimous at 7-0, albeit with two members being absent.

The county has not previously had such legislation for solar power, but it was recently been planned, since several companies have shown interest in putting solar farms on county property. Jasper County Building Director Mary Scheurich said no solar power company had input in the planning of the draft. It was instead drafted by a special committee.

Corrections grant request

Bill Wakeland, director of Jasper County Community Corrections, approached the commissioners to discuss details of his application to the Indiana Department of Corrections State Grant. In his application, Wakeland is requesting a grant increase of $35,841.

The reason for this is that the commissioners recently asked Wakeland to cut county general fund spending by 20 percent. He hopes to accomplish this, or nearly accomplish it, by covering partial salaries for the community corrections employees through the state grant. if successful, he would get the money from the grant instead of through the county’s general fund.

“You told me you’d like to see me cut the general fund by 20 percent,” he told the commissioners on Monday. “This cuts it by 19 percent, if they’re allowing us to do that. So that’s what I’m proposing to do this year with the state grant.”

If approved by the state, the total state grant for this year would be $338,105.

The commissioners approved his request to increase the amount he asked for in the grant application. Wakeland said he will hear about whether or not this grant application was approved sometime in May.

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