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Small step taken toward start of Federal Bridge Projects

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Paul Sinders
A small step was taken Monday toward the start of construction on the Federal Bridge Projects.

During a special meeting, the Clay County Commissioners approved the purchase of land and rights-of-way for one of the projects.

For the project on Bridge No. 1 (located on North Meridian Street, Brazil, near County Road 1100 North), a total of 0.31 acres were purchased across four parcels at a total cost of $27,385, which includes $3,385 to relocate an electrical box.

While rights-of way have already been purchased for Bridge No. 84 (located on East Pinckley Street, near County Road 400 East), the commissioners were hesitant to give the go-ahead for construction to begin.

One reason for waiting is the uncertainty of how much the county would have to put up for the projects.

"I want to make sure we have the hard facts to see just how much we need to put in the bucket before proceeding with construction on the bridges," Commissioner Paul Sinders said. "We need to find out if these are 80 percent/20 percent or 90/10 reimbursements, and if the engineering costs are included as part of our match."

Clay County Auditor Mary Jo Alumbaugh informed the commissioners there is currently $681,000 in the Cumulative Bridge Fund, and the estimated cost (including engineering) for the completion of the bridges is $1.2 million apiece.

Meanwhile, the commissioners approved contracts with Havel for maintenance at the Clay County Courthouse and Justice Center.

The contract for the Justice Center is $20,000 annually, which includes maintenance on the radio communications tower and its generator, while the courthouse contract is $4,600 annually, which includes maintenance on its generator.

Alumbaugh said both contracts were the same amount as in 2010.

In addition, the commissioners tabled taking action on a contract to transport a steel bridge, which was constructed by Purdue University and being donated to the county.

Kevin Loiselle, senior project manager with Clark Dietz, Inc., Indianapolis, told the commissioners the contract would also include design services for the relocation of the bridge.

"The total cost is about $70,000, which includes the field survey, engineering and purchase of rights-of-way," Loiselle said. "This project was in two phases, study and design, and the bridge is designed to be stable for a 100-year storm."

Commissioners' President Charlie Brown said he would prefer to wait on making a final decision until other factors are finalized.

"At this time, with two Federal Bridge Projects in the wings, I would prefer to wait and see how much funding we will have available," he said. "Plus, we are still looking at the options on where to place the bridge."

The next regular meeting of the Clay County Commissioners is 9 a.m., Monday, March 7, in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse.

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This all sounds good but what about the condition of the roads leading to the bridges?????????

Blow a tire before before you reach the bridge.

-- Posted by buddry55 on Wed, Mar 2, 2011, at 7:13 AM

I wish they would redirect some money away from the School Corp for one year to fix the roads in the county. According to my tax preparer Clay County has one of the highest tax rates in the state. Where does all of our money go? We pay and pay and see nothing in return. The road I live on has completly fallen apart. They will probably come out and throw more patch's on it instead of really fixing it correctly. Government efficiency at its finest.

-- Posted by Schraderfan on Wed, Mar 2, 2011, at 7:32 AM

Clay county roads are in the most deplorable condition EVER... and they way the commissioners handled the icy roads was shameful. Vigo county didn't seem to have a problem clearing their roads. Driving Rio Grand road, it wasn't difficult to tell where the clay/vigo county line was. Charlie Brown is a nice good ol boy, but it's time for him to retire.

-- Posted by tenspeed1984 on Wed, Mar 2, 2011, at 8:53 AM

Isn't it obvious has it correctly. There are still a group of us who feel that adding on to school buildings when population is decreasing instead of adjusting school boundaries would have been more responsible thing to do so we could eliminate the cost of operating at least one school building...But no. the majority wanted those pretty buildings which we now have in addition to school employee costs of about 90% of total budget. That is WAY over what is manageable fiscally even in communities that are doing well.

Not until we invest in the community so others will want to live here will it get any better.

It's not the school buildings. It's the other things that indicate a community that has goals to always improve the lives of it's citizens.

We don't have a county wide library to encourage addiction to reading and therefore higher literacy rate by the time kids are in Kindergarten. We don't have county sponsored trash drop off sites so people who don't want to pay for trash pick up still burning and dumping. We don't have 7 period day in high school so students can be competitive with 90 other counties in Indiana. We don't have building codes and occupancy certificates to insure that structures are up to standards when people look into buying a house. we don't have zoning to protect those same peoples' investment from a dump site moving into neighborhood thus decreasing property values. We don't have dog licenses that puts the financial responsibility of dog ownership onto the dog owner so control and shelter can be paid for out of the revenue. Add to that pertinent fines being charged for those who don't have licenses, and more fees for those who don't neuter their pets and more fines for those who let their dogs run loose. We could PAY for a dog warden dedicated only to doing this by having a license of $10 a year for nuetured dog and enforcing the leash and licensing laws. Make it $30 for intact dog. $50 for dog who is caught running loose and another $50 for one that isn't licensed when he is bailed out of shelter. Then how about enforcing gas tax laws? Now I know many ethical farmers who used taxed fuel for their cars but what about those who don't? When traffic stops are made is fuel checked in those cars? Is non taxed fuel and different color?? It's those taxes that help pay for roads....I would hope that those huge semis that sit on the road in the fall being filled are using taxed fuel as they are rough on the roads.

The money has to come from somewhere people and we need to not ignore the elephant in the room that to be desirable to others we need to improve what we have.

Schraderfan: If we don't put even MORE into actually educating these kids [not just having pretty buildings] the NEXT generation won't have jobs for that needed tax revenue. There is nothing to keep those graduates here as once they go to college somewhere else they will know how deficient Clay County is and won't want to raise their own kids here.

Wisconsin is complaining that 82% of their budget is spent on employee costs....At 90% I'm afraid that Clay County may have already crossed the point of no return. I wouldn't even want to buy local gov bonds here. The road condition is just the tip of the iceberg. Only a symptom of our county's failure.

Not until we ALL truly invest in the education/literacy of its children AT ALL LEVELS will we ever start to attract business and individuals to Clay County. If we want our whloe community to be richer we need to invest in the future of all of it. Not just those who are related to us.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Wed, Mar 2, 2011, at 1:10 PM

Schraderfan: Your tax preparer is only telling you part of the equation.It's true that with a 2.25% local income tax, that is among the highest in the state. HOWEVER--a large part of that 2.25% goes directly to property tax relief and Clay County has some of the lowest property taxes in the state, especially on residential property. If you own your own home, compare your 2009 property tax against your 2010 rate, it probably dropped by 45 to 50%.This is a direct result of the Local Option Income Tax passed by our County Council in the fall of 2009. So' if you take all of this into consideration, the statement made by your tax preparer is only partly accurate.

-- Posted by open minded on Wed, Mar 2, 2011, at 7:12 PM

OPEN .. I'm assuming that's for property OUTSIDE city limits? My house in town is still outrageous and no where near a 45-50% drop in the yearly taxes. I wish, though!

-- Posted by Emmes on Fri, Mar 4, 2011, at 12:08 PM

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