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Commissioners: Clearing up confusion about emergency levels

By Commissioners George Schrumpf, Don Amber and Tom Rethlake 

As we write this Commissioner’s update, spring is forty-one days away and according to Mr. Groundhog, more cold snowy days are ahead.  I’m sure we are all looking forward to the snow replaced with green grass and warm sunny days.
Along with “cabin fever," during our week of snow emergencies, there was also frustration and incorrect information throughout the county.  The past weeks have been difficult for our highway workers and law enforcement officials in clearing the roads for 30,000 Whitley County residents as quickly as possible.  Many hours were also spent in assisting motorists who had ventured out only to end up stuck in the snow.
We would be remiss if we did not extend a huge thank you to our highway workers, law enforcement and community corrections officials and the Emergency Management Department for the many hours of hard work and extra efforts extended to keep our county safe and operating as much as possible.
At the top of our agenda for our February 3rd Commissioners meeting was to clear-up incorrect information as to the emergency level designated by the county and the meaning of each level.  In the past, we have used numerical emergency levels (1, 2, and 3). Those levels will be replaced with warning, watch and advisory, which will allow us to be consistent with statewide levels. 

Advisory: All travel is permitted with caution on county roads.

Watch: Only necessary travel, including to and from work.

Warning: Travel restricted and for emergency only.  Law enforcement may ticket travelers when this level is issued. 

As in the past, these levels will be posted on the county website at www.whitleygov.com and all other media outlets.
Much attention has been given to Governor Pence and the Indiana Legislative Leaders in regards to the elimination of the Business Personal Property Tax.  Numerous publications have consistently ranked Indiana 1st in the Midwest in Business Climate and Top 10 in the nation for Business Tax Climate.  On January 10th, our Governor stated that “Indiana is the best state in the nation to start or grow a business.”  This statement seems to be very contradictory to the elimination of business personal property tax.  Last week, the Indiana Senate-SB1 and House 1001 both passed.  Senator Banks, Representatives Ober and Heuer also voted in favor of this bill.  As a result, Whitley County Government and Entities, all county libraries and our school corporations will receive approximately three million dollars less in state funding.
Numerous local government and school boards have sent letters to Governor Pence and State Legislators regarding the impact it will have on counties financially if this bill was passed.  It appears that our Resolution 2014-1 fell on deaf ears once again.  We will continue to watch this bill and if it becomes a law in July.


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