When it comes to some of the steadily deteriorating streets in Brazil, the city and the county are in the same boat.
The Clay County Board of Commissioners Monday approved a request from the City of Brazil for an "inter-local agreement" to address drainage problems and other concerns affecting a portion of Pinckley Street, which represents the dividing line between Brazil and outlying Clay County.
But the city council declined to vote on the issue at it's Tuesday session, as the city attorney and some council members said the contract doesn't require a firm enough commitment from the county.
Under the current language of the agreement, the county will pay $50,000 toward the project, with the city footing about $72,000 ($50,000 plus engineering costs). When combined, those contributions will represent the required match amount for a half-million dollar federal grant awarded to the city for the project.
According to Brazil's City Engineer Brian Pohlar, ownership of the street is divided right down the middle: city government holds sway over the northern half of the street, while the county is responsible for maintaining the southern portion.
County Commissioner David Parr agreed the county should be involved in the re-construction-- he and fellow commissioners Daryl Andrews and Charlie Brown voted unanimously to support the agreement.
"If the limits are on the street, the county is responsible," Parr said.
Primary funding for the project came in the form of a $504,000 state-administered federal grant, awarded to the city in January after a frustrating, years-long effort to round up the money to begin rebuilding its roads.
"It was actually kind of an unexpected grant," said Brazil Mayor Tom Arthur, whose applications for funds were denied in 2004 and 2005. Arthur said the city scaled back the scope of the project because the actual amount of the grant was less than what was requested.
"It's about half what we asked for, so that's why we're doing about half of what we were hoping," he said, adding that early plans included a longer stretch of Pinckley.
The agreement applies to the portion of the street between Batchelor and Hadley streets.
Current plans for the project include refurbishing the road from the bed up and replacing deficient storm drains, which aggravate drainage problems on the road.
"From what Brian (Pohlar) told me, the plan is to strip it down and build it all the way back up," Arthur said. City Attorney Joe Trout said he is largely satisfied with the language of the agreement signed by the commissioners, but suggested one small change.
"The only part I didn't really like was the 'out' clause," he said.
Councilman James Sheese also voiced reservations over the clause, which would allow either party to terminate the agreement with 30 days' notice.
Construction on the project won't begin until 2008, at which time one or more current county officials may have left office. Because the county cannot appropriate its share money until it prepares its 2008 budget, Sheese said, the county's willingness to participate may change with its personnel.
"If the county council changes or the board of commissioners changes, this could change," he said.
While the contract was signed by the board of commissioners, the decision to appropriate the funds for 2008 rests on the county council at that time. Trout said he has scheduled a meeting with County Attorney Eric Somheil in the hopes of making the agreement sufficiently binding.