VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – Vigo County Council came together Tuesday night. For some, it’s their last meeting before the new year, and for others, it’s their last meeting ever.
“In my four years on the council, I’ve always looked at ways of giving back,” said President Rick Burger,” and that’s what the council voted on tonight. They looked on those opportunities.”
Those opportunities start with Prairieton Road. That’s because the council voted in favor of purchasing the site, formerly home to International Paper, for $600,000.
“That would bring us back as the owners of the property, and along with the owners, you heard tonight we are going to get the back taxes on it too,” he said, “So everything that’s owed on it will be in part of the deal here too.”
While it’s not set in stone as to what the site will become, it’s been suggested to the council that it be used for recreational, environmental and/or commercial purposes.
“I hope that we can look down the road here, in just a year or so maybe who knows, and see something come out of that,” Burger said, “This 65 acres on the river, we have control of it, I think there could be opportunities for the county with investors, or investors that come in, to really develop something neat there.”
The drug court also received some good news Tuesday night. That’s as the council also voted in favor of appropriating $50,000 to fund it.
Previously, the council looked at possibly doing away with the court due to budget restraints. Since then, many have come together to make sure drug court remains present in the community.
“The program’s great, I’ve never argued that the program was not great,” Burger said, “It was costing money for the county, that’s what brought all of this about, but my vote stands firm with it tonight. It’s the right thing to do.”
For Burger, as the council continues to better the community, it’s also ending his term on a positive note.
“I just want to say to this county, I’m real proud of this county, it’s a great county,” he said, “and I’m still going to be around, I’m going to work hard as a Duke Energy manager and all the boards I have the privilege to serve on.”
“It’s a great county,” he said, “I think Earl Elliott put a letter in to the editor the other day ‘be kind to people, smile’, we need more of that. It’s here, we’ve got a great community, I believe in this community and I’m here, I’m here to help.”
Before Tuesday’s meeting ended, Burger read a statement out loud to his council members, new members and residents:
I would like to take this opportunity to show my appreciation to those I have served beside throughout these past four years. To my Council Team, the Commissioners and Auditor’s Team, thank you for serving with me. I believe we have made much progress in our great county, yet, there is still so much to accomplish.
We are fortunate that at this time the county remains in a positive cash balance. However, it is my opinion you must continue to be diligent with each and every tax dollar as there are challenges ahead in the next two to three years.
I have put my heart and soul into this responsibility and found that it has not been easy. Looking back, I stand behind every vote I cast and remain true to the decisions I have made. My promise to this county is that I will continue to work hard in my position as Duke Energy’s Manager and work to make a positive impact on the several boards I have the privilege to serve on.
I believe in Vigo County! I am confident that by working together anything can be accomplished while fighting within has no gain. I encourage you to work hand in hand and embrace the challenges which lie ahead.
To our new council members, I offer my congratulations and wish you much success. You have a great opportunity and awesome responsibility to continue to move this county forward.