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County passes fair housing ordinance

LaGrange County Commissioners passed an ordinance that meets the requirements of new federal standards at Monday’s meeting. The ordinance says that pursuant to 24 CFR Part 5.403 and 24 CFR Part 574.3 the definition of “family” is revised to include families regardless of the actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status of its members.

Commissioners Jac Price and Garry Heller voted in favor of adopting the ordinance with Commissioner Larry Miller opposed. The motion to waive second reading had a similar vote.

This means a second reading will occur at another meeting of the commissioners. This meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 10.

At stake is thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars from the federal government. The grant applications call for the inclusion of a copy of the housing grant at issue.

Region III-A Community Planner Kristine Christlieb conducted a public hearing for the benefit of Lima Township and the Howe Fire Department at Monday’s county commissioners meeting. She noted that the survey of income in the Howe community showed that 54.9 percent ($82,350) of the $150,000 grant will benefit low to moderate income families in the community.

The grant will be used along with $79,200 from the Lima Township Cumulative Capital Fund to purchase a new 3,500-gallon tanker truck complete with a pump. This will replace a 2,000-gallon truck that is 38 years old and in need of major repairs. The tank leaks badly and it is very hard to find repair parts for the vehicle’s engine and chassis, according to Howe Fire Chief Larry Watson.

Christlieb reported having many letters of support from the community that indicated there is a real need for the new firefighting equipment. There have been over 1,000 fire calls for the Howe Fire Department since 2008, including many calls for toll road fire service.

Lima Township Trustee Tom Smith said that all financing is in place to purchase the new fire station and pay the township portion of the new truck. “There will be no new taxes as a result of this, due to saving by previous trustees,” he concluded.

LaGrange County will be the fiscal agent for the grant and will be responsible for requesting bids on the new fire truck. This project can be started as soon as the grant is awarded, which will be the end of June 2015. The grant application is due April 11 and will be on time providing commissioners pass the waiver of second reading motion at their meeting Thursday.