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Commissioners discuss road, bridge issues

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Clay County Commissioners had a plateful of road and bridge issues to discuss during its monthly meeting Monday.

Beam Longest and Neff, LLC, Indianapolis, Project Manager Scott Kluesner provided an update on the two current Federal Bridge Projects.

"Things are moving along on both projects, and right-of-ways are being put in place," Kluesner said. "As of right now, letting for Bridge 84 should be in March or April, with letting for Bridge 1 to come soon after."

Kluesner added the final plans and project estimates are still being worked on, and the financial responsibility to the county could vary.

"The current estimates include a split in which the county's end would be 20 percent of the engineering costs," he said. "However, if the bids come in below the estimates, the county can use the extra federal funding toward its engineering costs, meaning it could create a 90/10 split."

As part of the projects, the commissioners approved the submittal of three claims for real estate transactions (purchasing right-of-ways) for a total of $5,765, and authorized Commissioners' President Charlie Brown to sign off on the closing of the transactions.

Meanwhile, the commissioners heard concerns regarding county roads.

Richard Woodley and son, Rick, approached the commissioners about the recent graveling of County Road 300 North, just north of CR 600 N, which was previously blacktopped.

"Now the gravel has been ground to dust, and it is creating a type of fog bank over the properties in the area," Rick said. "It affects the quality of life of families, especially those with health issues like asthma and COPD."

Rick also recommended that the commissioners reconsider who will be affected with the potential graveling other roads.

"I know the county needs money for roads and I am supportive of any option or added tax which would help improve these roads," Richard said.

Jerry Stearley, who has approached the commissioners numerous times in recent years, made another attempt to request the opening of a road.

"I don't care if it is turned into a dirt road, but I have got to get access to my property," Stearley said about opening a portion of CR 100 E, south of CR 600 N. "I've been trying to work with (the commissioners) for more than six years, and right now, I have 40 acres of land that is completely worthless."

Stearley and his family inherited the land after his father passed away in 2003. While the road appears to be platted to CR 500 N, there was an unsuccessful attempt to close that portion of the road in 1899.

"The road has never been opened, but it was never closed either," Commissioners' Attorney Eric Somheil said. "We have to look into the matter further, and no action will be taken today."

Stearley agreed to provide Somheil further information about the area in attempt to move forward, but was visibly frustrated with the situation.

"Time keeps flying by, and all this runaround is not getting us anywhere," Stearley told the commissioners.

In other business during Monday's meeting, the Clay County Commissioners:

* Passed an ordinance on the first reading, with suspended rules, to release a large portion of the Economic Recovery Zone Bonds allocated to the county, back to the Indiana Finance Authority. To this point, no companies had expressed interest in the funding, which is part of the Stimulus, and the deallocation allows other counties in the state to utilize the funds. The commissioners released all of the Recovery Zone Bonds and half of the Recovery Zone Facility Bonds, with the other half to be released in November if no interest is created for them,

* Renewed an interlocal agreement with the City of Brazil for potential work to be done on Pinckley Street,

* Allowed the county's liability and auto insurance to be renewed with Gasway Insurance Unlimited, Inc., with an approximate $4,400 decrease in premiums,

* Approved the polling locations for the 2010 General Election, which remain the same as the May Primary, and

* Approved the purchase of Point N Pay credit card machines to be placed on the counters in the Clay County Treasurer's Office for property tax payments. There is no charge to the county for the machines, but a 2.75 percent charge will be levied on taxpayers for the usage of the machines, which is less than the rate for those utilizing the claytax.net site or phone service to make payments. The acceptable payments may be made with Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express credit cards.

The next meeting of the Clay County Commissioners will be at 9 a.m., Monday, Nov. 1, in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse.

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Fixing Pinkley would be a great start, but what about the other streets. I'm sure the dust from the gravel does affect people with COPD. The city streets also affect people with neck & back issues. I know because I have degenerative disc disease and driving on some of these streets can really hurt.

-- Posted by th1953 on Wed, Oct 6, 2010, at 5:48 PM

Attention all county councilmen and county commissioners, any tax increase for any reason is not an option, we as tax payers cannot go to our employers and say give us more money because we cannot pay our bills and this is what you would be doing. Go to the counties around us and check out their roads, a wheel tax has done nothing for their roads, $ 200,000 is not going to fix Clay county roads. Vote for a tax increase and we should vote you out next election.

-- Posted by geewowwe on Wed, Oct 6, 2010, at 9:39 PM

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