GREENCASTLE, Ind. - Andy Thomas was given lots of advice about Indiana's economy Tuesday. But, he asked for it.
The newly-elected 44th District State Representative convened an Economic Development Summit in the DePauw University Student Union. He plans to make it an annual event.
Nearly 40 people attended the afternoon sessions, but observers and participants came and went all day, so it is difficult to get an accurate number. The meeting was open to the public.
Mayor Kenny Crabb, Clay Community Schools Superintendent Thomas Rohr, representatives of Deakins Metal Spinning, Great Dane, Morris Manufacturing, Clay County Farm Bureau, Clay County Internet, Clay County Chamber of Commerce, Clay County Commissioners and myself were asked to participate in panel discussions. The mayor participated in a discussion of challenges facing cities and towns in the 44th District and the school superintendent and I were on a panel discussion concerning Indiana's "brain drain" -- how to encourage more young Hoosiers to stay in Indiana after graduation from college.
Crabb was concerned about reassessment.
"We've been told we'll probably get only one tax draw next year because reassessment in Clay County hasn't been completed," the Brazil mayor said. "(The City of Brazil is) going to have trouble paying our debts next year."
Crabb said he may have to rely on borrowed funds if the second tax draw doesn't come through.
He also talked about unfunded mandates. State and Federal laws require municipalities to do certain things without providing the money to do the work. As time passes, the job of mayor becomes more demanding, the mayors of Brazil and Greencastle agreed.
Hired as a part-time mayor, Crabb hopes the City Council will continue to increase the mayor's pay package to attract someone who wants to be a full-time mayor in the future.
Also in attendance was J. R. Cooprider of Clay City. He asked Patrick Kiely, president of the Indiana