Commissioners discuss veteran service office needs



New technology and the need for privacy have the man assisting the more than 2,500 to 3,000 veterans in Jackson County with their needs shopping for more space.

The Jackson County Veteran Services office shares a one-story building on Bloomington Road in Brownstown with the Jackson County Solid Waste Management District office.

During a meeting with county commissioners Tuesday night at the courthouse, county Veteran Service Officer Keith Boling said he feels that office has outgrown its current space.

Additional space is needed to accommodate the new technology that will need to be incorporated into the office’s current practices, he said.

Boling also said privacy concerns are behind his request.

He said to better assist veterans with things such as disability compensation, he needs to obtain personal and private information about their service time and lives after leaving the military.

Boling said it will be easier for veterans to share this type of information with him if they have a more private space that could make them feel a little more comfortable.

There are currently 498 veterans receiving disability compensation in the county who would potentially benefit from the creation of this new space, Boling said.

Commissioners discussed the possibility of moving the office into another county-owned building that would have enough space, such as the courthouse annex in Brownstown.

Boling, however, said that move wouldn’t be ideal because of it being potentially difficult for veterans to access the building.

Factors such as age or previous injuries from combat make it difficult for some to continually walk on inclines. The current office has no steps or ramps.

Commissioners also discussed the idea of adding onto the existing office building, which would provide the needed space while keeping it accessible for veterans.

The general view among commissioner was the building is old and likely will need to be renovated again or completely rebuilt.

That led to discussions about the option of building a new office, which would be shared by the solid waste management district. That idea was initially proposed by Commissioner Bob Gillaspy but was roundly supported.

“I love that idea,” Commissioners President Matt Reedy.

The district would finance construction. It receives its funding through a tipping fee charged for each ton taken to Rumpke of Indiana’s Medora Landfill and not property tax revenue.

Commissioners asked Debbie Hackman, director of the Jackson County Solid Waste Management District, to draft a more detailed plan, including an estimation for the budget for a possible new building. She was asked to present that plan during an upcoming commissioners meeting.

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