Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 8, 2012

Public Eye - Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012

By Scott Smith and Ken de la Bastide

We shall see

It should be interesting to see how the vote is going to go Dec. 18 in Tipton County, when the Tipton County Council will need four votes out of six to pass a property tax abatement for the Prairie Breeze Wind Farm.

Here’s how it breaks down so far: President Scott Friend is leaning against, while member Suzanne Alexander is undecided. We don’t know how member Brad Nichols feels but we do know he has been pushing for a shorter abatement period, something the developers say would kill the project. Madonna Alderson is expected to abstain, since she stands to personally profit from the wind farm, Friend said this week. We haven’t spoken with Vicky McCorkle, Dennis Henderson or Beth Roach. Roach declined to speak to us this week, saying she was busy. Henderson didn’t return our call.

At stake is whether some 10 square miles of the county, between Sharpsville and the Clinton County line, gets covered by some 94 wind turbines, which can be up to about 325 feet tall. More than a dozen protesters spoke against the project at Monday’s council meeting.

No reserved parking

For years the Howard County Coroner’s office has had a reserved parking space along Union Street on the side of the Government Annex building, but that has all changed.

With the on-going battle between Kokomo and Howard County officials about county employees parking on city streets, the reserved parking sign has disappeared.

Removal of the sign did not sit well with the Coroner’s staff, which frequently carries supplies and documents back and forth from vehicles to the office inside the building.

There could be another change along Union Street after the first of the year when EMA Director Larry Smith loses his reserved parking space, which has been in existence for many years.

Remember guys there is a two-hour parking limit.

Waiting for action

Although the Tipton County Commissioners and Tipton Mayor Don Havens approved funding for the newly formed Tipton County Economic Development Organization for November and December, activity has been reported.

The $25,000 in Economic Development Income Tax funds was to be used for the hiring of an executive director and to lease office space for the economic development group.

At the time the funds were approved the hiring of an executive director was supposed to have been completed by Dec. 1.

Reportedly the group’s first choice for an executive director turned down the offer because of a lack of compensation in terms of salary and benefits.

Goodbye, Steve

The Public Eye was downhearted this week to learn of the death of Steve Barnett, the city’s longtime building inspector, a guy with a tough job and a good heart.

Steve had just recently taken time off work to help with the renovation work on a house owned by the city’s Urban Enterprise Association. He was like that. He did his utmost to return the inspection department to the high standards city residents expect, and he was always friendly, affable and a hoot to talk with. We will miss him.

“Steve was not only a great employee, but a great person,” said Mayor Greg Goodnight. “Steve’s passing was unexpected and he will be greatly missed by all employees of the City of Kokomo. We hope you share in our condolences to his family and friends.”