During Monday's meeting, Jim Hughes, owner of SRI, Inc., Indianapolis, presented a proposal for a new contract, along with suggestions for pricing options on the 138 parcels which were not purchased during the county-wide tax sale in October 2009.
Hughes told the commissioners the only major change to the contract was for the fee SRI would collect for each parcel sold.
"With the Commissioners' Tax Certificate Sales being new a couple years ago, we were getting a feel on what the right fee would be," he said. "So now, rather than collecting $120 per parcel sold like last year, the fee is now 15 percent on the purchase amount to be received. This will allow the county a little more flexibility in setting prices."
Elaborating on his point, Hughes said even if the price for a parcel is set at $50 -- and it sells for that amount -- SRI would only collect 15 percent of the $50 as their fee.
"The whole point of having a tax sale is to get all the properties back on the tax roll," Hughes said. "In order to do that, you sometimes have to sacrifice some of the taxes you could collect because if a parcel is in the tax sale year after year, the price will be too high and people will lose even more interest."
Commissioner Paul Sinders said each property is being looked at to determine the best possible cost to sell them, and suggested setting up a special meeting in order to review each parcel individually.
The commissioners agreed with the idea and will discuss the matter further at 10 a.m., Monday, Feb. 8, in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse. Hughes said the date of the meeting would be fine as it allows the tentative date of Wednesday, April 7, for the sale to remain on schedule with the advertising requirements.
Meanwhile, the commissioners approved an ordinance setting the procedure for designating an economic recovery zone within the county.
Attorney Lou Britton said as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Stimulus), a total of $25 billion in Recovery Zone Bonds have been allocated throughout the nation, and Clay County received a portion of the amount.
"For Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds -- which are for public projects -- the county was allocated $1,209,000 and another $1,813,000 for Recovery Zone Facility Bonds, which may be used by private businesses in designated recovery zones," Britton said. "However, an economic revitalization area must be declared before the bonds can be accessed."
He added there is no state or federal legislation stating how the determination of an Economic Recovery Zone should be made, which is why the ordinance was needed.
The commissioners unanimously suspended the rules and adopted the ordinance, and will conduct a public hearing and consider a resolution to designate an Economic Recovery Zone at 10:45 a.m., during the regular meeting in March.
"This is a lot more open-ended than a lot of bond projects, and it will help promote development in the county," Britton added.
In other business during Monday's meeting, the Clay County Commissioners:
* Heard a request from Scott Crowe of Crowe Equipment, Inc., Jasonville, about potentially closing a portion of County Road 1375 South at a dead end near CR 400 W for the purpose of constructing a lake. Commissioners' President Charlie Brown said the matter would have to go through the legal procedure -- including an official petition to close the road -- to ensure all interests are considered,
* Approved a Memorandum of Understanding resolution with the Clay County Soil and Water Conservation District to place an ATV and trailer purchased by the district on the county's insurance. The resolution includes a term that if either item is sold or traded in, the proceeds would go to the conservation district,
* Reviewed a presentation by Matthew Pierce -- an engineer with Hannum, Wagle and Cline Engineering, Terre Haute -- regarding a future right of way agreement, which would be needed before construction can begin on some of the City of Brazil's water system improvement projects. Some of the projects require either cutting into or boring under roads which would disrupt some of the right of ways on county property. The commissioners agreed they would like to have a five-year maintenance bond as a requirement to ensure the quality of the roads after work is completed,
* Approved service agreement contracts for maintenance at the Clay County Courthouse and Clay County Justice Center, Clay County Extension Office, a new copier for the Assessor's Office and E-911 equipment upgrade, and
* Approved an additional closing date for county offices for Friday, Dec. 31. With Jan. 1, 2011, falling on a Saturday, the Commissioners decided to follow its normal procedure and have its holiday closing the Friday before.
The next regular meeting of the Clay County Commissioners will be 9 a.m., Monday, March 1, in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse.