Five of the seven grant requests before the Kosciusko County Commissioners on Tuesday were for county American Rescue Plan Act dollars.

The other two requests were to apply for state and federal grant dollars.

The county’s ARPA Committee approved the five grant requests, but they also must be approved by the Commissioners and County Council. The Commissioners approved all of the grant requests presented to them Tuesday.

Kosciusko Senior Services Executive Director David Neff requested $60,582 in ARPA funds to purchase an Americans with Disabilities Act van. He said they currently have five vehicles - a 2012 bus with 136,000 miles; a 2016 bus with 78,000 miles; a 2017 van with 71,000 miles; a 2018 bus with 23,000 miles; and a 2019 van with 33,000 miles.

“Our normal avenue for getting new vehicles would be to write a grant to INDOT (Indiana Department of Transportation) and they would go with Midwest Transit and INDOT would pay 80% of the cost of the van,” Neff explained.

He said he received an email from Brian Jones, program manager with INDOT, who said that due to the shortage of microchips, it is going to be three to five years before new vehicles are available.

The van Senior Services is requesting is from Superior Van Mobility and they are holding a van for Senior Services until a decision has been made on the funding. He said the cost is $60,582, but that’s likely to go up in the future.

Barry Andrew, Kosciusko County Community Corrections director, requested $25,000 in ARPA money for two new car radios and five new hand-held radios.

Jill Gross requested $29,465 for Mentone Four Way Ambulance Service for 10 new communication handheld radios.

Commissioner Cary Groninger said if Four Way Ambulance Service were to possibly not continue service in Kosciusko County for some reason, the radios would stay with the Mentone Fire Department.

“I hope that doesn’t happen, but if it does, we would just pass them on to the fire department,” Gross agreed.

Eric Lane, Fellowship Missions executive director, requested $158,874 for increased security at the homeless shelter and recovery hub, 1520 E. Winona Ave., and for six sets of washers and dryers.

He said they got two different bids for security and the chosen bid comes with a seven-year warranty for replacement of any equipment within that time period. The surveillance cameras would increase from 16 to 43 “just because of the uptick we’ve seen in mental health, addiction services that’s coming in our door. We’re noticing an uptick over the last two years.”

The cameras will be able to record audio and video in certain areas of the shelter. He said there’s a lot of traffic coming in and out of Fellowship Missions’ doors and they want to make sure they’re as safe as they can be. The equipment will all be Cloud-based versus having a hard drive on site.

As for the washers and dryers, there will be three sets on each side and residents do their own laundry. The current washers and dryers have been at the shelter for the last seven years and run about 10 hours a day.

The last ARPA request was presented by Groninger on behalf of Kosciusko County government. The $67,708 will go toward HVAC repair.

Judge Karin McGrath requested permission to apply for a $30,000 2023 Court Interpreter Grant through the state of Indiana.

“We have had a grant of this sort years ago, I’m told,” she said, but somewhere along the line it was determined through a cost-benefit analysis that the administrative costs weren’t worth it. However, she said it may be worth trying again.

“We currently do the best we can to provide interpreter services for our non-English-speaking litigants and also the hard-of-hearing/deaf litigants,” McGrath said, but sometimes they run into issues of finding quality interpreters. “Although much frowned upon, and we acknowledge that and respect that, there are occasions we have to rely on bilingual staff and family members to assist us, which, for obvious reasons, is not ideal.”

The grant would allow the courts some additional funding to pay certified interpreters regardless of the type of cases. Commissioner Brad Jackson asked if it was a matching grant, and McGrath said it wasn’t, it was a reimbursement grant.

“Anything we get is better than nothing,” she said.

The grant application was approved.

Highway Superintendent Steve Moriarty asked for permission to approve for a federal grant, which requires a financial commitment on the county’s part. The grant would be for bridge No. 139, which is on CR 700E across Eel River.

The estimated total project cost is $5.4 million. An 80/20 grant, the county’s share of the cost would be $1,121,800.

“This is a huge savings and a benefit to the county,” Moriarty said, noting that the county has applied for the grants many times in the past and received them. Most of the county’s bridges are covered under a federal aid project that allows the county to do them.

The county has received grants for five bridges previously. Bridge 139 is the largest bridge the county maintains and construction wouldn’t begin until approximately 2028, Moriarty said.

Along with approving the grant application, the Commissioners approved a financial commitment letter.

In other business, the Commissioners approved:

• The purchase of 35 new computers and 35 new monitors for $52,451.35 to replace aging equipment, as requested by Bob Momeyer, systems administrator.

• A 60-month lease agreement between Kosciusko REMC and the county for the county’s fiber connection to inter-connect the communication towers throughout the county’s system. The cost is $4,898.50 per month.

• Accepting all the annual highway bids as opened at the Commissioners’ last meeting.

 • For the Highway Department to purchase a John Deer 646 Wheel Loader for $248,788.57, which Moriarty said was in their budget and a savings of 37%.

• For the Highway Department to purchase a wheeled rubber tyre roller from White County for $50,000.

• To rezone 140 acres from residential to agricultural as requested by Don McCulloch through his attorney Steve Snyder. The property is in Turkey Creek Township, on the west side of Bishop Road and the south side of CR 1300N.

The Area Plan Commission unanimously recommended approval for the rezoning, Area Plan Director Matt Sandy reported. There were no remonstrators.

The next Commissioners meeting is 9 a.m. Dec. 6.