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County officials interested in Pinckley St.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Clay County is still interested in cooperating with the City of Brazil on a project that would restore a portion of Pinckley Street in 2008, according to Board of Commissioners President Charlie Brown.

A proposed inter-local agreement to restore Pinckley Street between Batchelor and Hadley streets stalled late last month when city council members declined to sign off on a county-approved version of the agreement. The board of commissioners passed over the issue at its April 3 meeting, and Brazil Mayor Tom Arthur later said the city would proceed with the project on its own.

But Brown said Wednesday that county participation in the agreement is not a dead issue.

"The inter-local agreement is still possible," he said. "I'm willing to sit down and do whatever needs to be done to accomplish this."

The commissioners approved an early draft of the agreement at their March 6 meeting, pledging to contribute $50,000-- half of the match amount for a half-million dollar federal grant awarded to the city for the project.

The version they approved included a 30-day "out clause," which would have allowed either party to terminate the agreement with a month's notice. City council members cited that clause as the primary reason they declined to approve the deal when it was presented to them.

"If the county council changes or the board of commissioners changes (before construction begins in 2008), this could change," said Councilman James Sheese.

Brown said Wednesday the county's insistence on an out clause did not reflect a lack of commitment to the project.

Rather than await the results of an engineering study outlining the specifications of the project, Brown said he was advised by Jim Coffenberry, an adviser to the Clay County Economic Redevelopment Commission, and Brazil City Engineer Brian Pohlar to proceed with the agreement but include an out clause.

"I want to see the engineering-- exactly what they want done," he said.

The city and county share responsibility for portions of Pinckley Street, some of which represent the dividing line between Brazil and outlying Clay County.

For that reason, Brown said, he hopes an agreement can be reached.

"Whatever's my responsibility, I want to take care of it," he said. "I want to be a team player."

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