Commissioners approve LifeTime Resources funding

Cindy DiFazio - Staff Writer

The Ripley County Commissioners met in regular session on Monday, May 21. Commissioners Robert Reiners, Chuck Folz and Lawrence Nickell, plus County Attorney Neil Comer and County Auditor, Mary Ann McCoy were present.

Sally Beckley, Executive Director of LifeTime Resources, came before the commissioners to request $28,000 in funding from Ripley County for the agency. The request is the same as has been approved in the past.

Beckley told commissioners that LifeTime’s public transportation program now includes Jennings County. She said that the program is working very well here because of the tremendous amount of local support it receives. Beckley said that unlike similar programs in other locales, there is no waiting list for meals or other services provided.

Commissioners’ president, Rob Reiners asked, “Why is the Versailles Senior Center no longer getting meals?” Beckley stated that because the facility is not ADA accessible, LifeTime Resources could no longer cover it. She went on to say that the restroom situation in the current building would be extremely difficult to resolve. Beckley also said that if another facility became available, LifeTime Resources would look into serving it again. “I will follow up on that with Julie Berry,” Beckley concluded.

A motion was made by Lawrence Nickell and seconded by Chuck Folz to approve LifeTime’s funding request and passed unanimously.
Insurance coverage on Ripley County’s two covered bridges was discussed. The Busching Bridge at Versailles State Park recently underwent a complete restoration bringing its value to $2.7 million. At present, the county has it insured for $800,000. The covered bridge in Holton is insured for $500,000. At issue was whether the Holton bridge should be replaced if it was destroyed. The $500,000 can only be collected if the bridge is replaced.

Some of the perils listed for bridges are arson, lightning and overweight vehicles. Two that are not covered on the current policy are flood and earthquake.

Reiners said of the Holton bridge, “I think we would replace it. It’s historical and there are only two in the county.” Later in the meeting, however, Attorney Neil Comer pointed out, “It doesn’t make sense to replace it. It would no longer be historic. It would just be a new bridge that goes nowhere.”
A problem that was pointed out by commissioner Chuck Folz was overweight trucks using the Busching Bridge as a detour when there are wrecks on Highway 50. Herman Strumpf, present to address the commissioners on a separate matter, suggested putting a height bar on the bridge to keep trucks from using it.

The insurance matter will be addressed further after an underwriter from the current insurance company physically inspects the bridges in the near future.

Herman Strumpf addressed the commissioners regarding the matter of the planned water board. He reported that Indiana First is set up to get the first crack at the well field under the Indiana Army Ammunition Plant in Charlestown. The group has obtained a three-year first right of refusal, allowing concerns in Indiana the first option on that water.

Strumpf said that an Indianapolis law firm would charge $150,000 to research the question, “What is the way that the water board should be set up?” Folz responded, “I can answer that. It’s being set up by the state.”

Strumpf also praised Ripley County commissioners and council for taking on an active role in the proposed water board. “That’s an act of political courage,” he noted. He went on to say that commissioners have incurred administrative if not fiscal hassles by agreeing to assist with the water board.

Commissioner Folz noted that there will be a public meeting regarding the water board in Osgood at the end of June or first of July.

Doug Thayer of Osgood thanked the commissioners on behalf of the Ripley County Fairgrounds for the help of the highway department. Thayer also said that the fairgrounds would like to run a new road at the back of the property so that the back entrance will no longer run in front of the playground. He further stated that they eventually want to hook into Osgood’s storm sewer system to help keep the fairgrounds dry.

Commissioner Reiners shared a letter from the owners of Scenic Road Rallies, LLC concerning the recent Scenic Road Rally that wound through Ripley County on April 28. In it, Satolli and Beverly Glassmeyer complemented Katherine Taul of the Ripley County Tourism Bureau as well as Geneen Ostendorf and the Osgood Merchants Association.

Of Taul, the Glassmeyers wrote, “she did a fantastic job of organizing everything on her end in order for the county to have a successful road tour.”

They also wrote, “Ostendorf and the Osgood Merchants Association provided a great gift basket for the winners of the road rally and put together a very entertaining Jazz Band Concert that coincided with the tour through Osgood.”

Pictures of the event are at

In other business, commissioners appointed Anthony J. Wood to the Friendship Regional Sewer District.