Seven communities joined Wayne County in its Stellar Pathways application.

Commissioner Jeff Plasterer told Wayne County Council members May 1 that the Wayne County Foundation that day would submit a letter of intent to the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. Four finalists will be chosen to submit complete applications, and two will be selected for about $8 million in state funding.

Centerville, East Germantown, Economy, Fountain City, Greens Fork, Hagerstown and Richmond opted to join the county effort. Centerville, Fountain City, Greens Fork and Hagerstown did not join the county’s Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program effort.

Plasterer also said that the HELP downtown revitalization program has launched. Letters were sent to each business in the identified areas of the participating HELP communities. A business may apply to receive up to $100,000 in grant funding, and will need to provide a match equal to one-third what it receives.

During their May 1 afternoon meeting, commissioners, as council did that morning, unanimously approved an interlocal agreement with Cambridge City involving a HELP project. The county is contributing $10,000 to the town’s fundraising campaign that will update the Creitz Park playground. If Cambridge City raises $50,000, it would receive a $50,000 state match.

Plasterer also announced to commissioners that the Indiana State Department of Health was making up to $75,000 available for participants in the HELP program’s third cohort.

Because the application is due May 10, Plasterer said allowing Bridges for Life to apply for funding of its work addressing substance abuse issues made sense.

Commissioners voted 3-0 to permit Bridges for Life to apply for the funding.

Other actions

Commissioners unanimously approved a septic ordinance that requires contractors to register with the health department for $250 annually in an effort to improve communication between the department and contractors. They also approved modifications to the fee schedule that includes one-time septic payments rather than tiered payments and initiates a fee for septic holding tanks.

A resolution that transfers a sheriff’s department vehicle taken out of service to Milton’s police department was passed 3-0.

The county’s health fair will be June 14, and commissioners approved 3-0 guidelines for the health fair and rates for screenings employees may have at county expense during the fair.

Plasterer updated council members about the Gov. Oliver P. Morton statue in the Wayne County Courthouse. Private donations have paid for a new thumb and forefinger on the statue’s right hand.

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A version of this article appeared in the May 8 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.