Clay County Commissioners Charlie Brown and Paul Sinders outlined some of the ongoing projects they are working on, as well as ideas for potential future development of the Interstate-70 and western areas of Clay County.
"It is our responsibility to take care of the physical assets in the county," Brown, who is president of the commissioners, said. "We have had some hard times with the flooding from last year and money issues, but we have a strong group of commissioners that I am proud to be a part of."
Brown added roads continue to be a major concern for many residents, but funding from the state gasoline tax to the county has been cut since he first became a commissioner.
"When I first started, the county received about $140,000 for each of the three commissioner districts for roads," he said. "Now, it's about $80,000 per district, which is enough to blacktop only one mile of road."
Sinders discussed some of the projects which have economically expanded the tax base of the county including Headwaters, KIHM Metal Technologies and plans for the opening of a bioenergy plant.
"We believe that future development in Clay County will take place in the western part of the county where the old Chinook mine was located, along with the I-70 area," he said. "You know, Clay County is really located in a key location in West Central Indiana. We have a major interstate bisecting the county, an airport located near us on the eastern side in Vigo County, and we are located fairly close to a new major airport and a major city, Indianapolis."
Sinders added the commissioners are working with the County Council, County Redevelopment Commission and the City of Brazil to do as much as they can to improve Clay County as a whole.
"This is the way it should be -- a team effort with everyone on the same rope, pulling in the same direction," Sinders said. "However, none of us have much money to spend, therefore, it must be a cooperative and team effort to use the money we have in the best way we can, and to stretch the money just as far as we can to make things happen."
Both Brown and Sinders addressed questions from members of the Chamber of Commerce regarding the appearance of the county.
"For the most part, we have been successful with the cleanup ordinance we passed a couple years ago," Sinders said. "Now we only have the authority to enforce it in unincorporated areas of the county, but if you are unsure about a property, feel free to contact us and we will look into it."
Outgoing Chamber President Ted Paris said the organization wants to be proactive in the appearance of the county and is going to "stick its neck out" to promote civil pride in the ownership of property in Clay County.
Sinders emphasized in order to improve and develop the county; a conscientious effort must be taken.
"We may or may not be successful at some of the things we are working on," he said. "But I know one thing for sure. If we do not try and make the effort, if we do not try and make a difference, I will guarantee you that nothing will happen in this county."