Irving Materials, Inc., (IMI) representative Cliff Romas informed the commissioners that his company, located at 305 N. Murphy Ave., Brazil, produces a sand mix treated with calcium chloride which can be used as an alternative to salt on the roads during winter storms.
"Salt only works down to temperatures of 20 degrees, whereas our calcium chloride mix works down to negative 20 degrees," Romas said. "It can be used as a pre-treatment on the roads as well as after a snow or ice storm."
He added the City of Brazil has used the mix recently when it ran out of salt, and other municipalities, like Lebanon, has used it for about three years.
"One big benefit is that there is no need to stockpile it as it can be purchased as needed," Romas said. "As long as we have about a two-hour notice, we can prepare it and we can take it to the Highway Department, or they can pick it up here if they are working in the northern part of the county to save time and additional fuel costs."
However, according to Romas, if the mix is covered with a tarp or some other covering, it can still be effective for up to a year.
Commissioner Jack Withers inquired if this is the same material the state uses and if it would be effective in cutting down the creation of dust on gravel roads.
"I have received calls about the dust issue on county roads that are made up of gravel," he said. "With the aspect of funding for county road maintenance not what it used to be, we need to look at all the possibilities we can."
Romas said the mix could potentially reduce the amount of dust on county roads, but it is more effective than salt when it comes to breaking down snow and ice.
"Within about 30 minutes, you can see it start to eat into the snow and ice," he said. "Also, it is a little sticky so it holds to the roads and tires better."
As the commissioners looked through the product packed provided by Romas, they discovered the cost per unit is cheaper than the cost for salt, and it could save the county in another aspect as well.
"We have been talking about possibly putting up a shed to store the salt, but if we can buy this as we need it, it could eliminate that potential cost," Withers said.
Commissioners' President Charlie Brown said while the product appears to be more of a benefit compared to salt, he would like to see how it performs before making a determination.
"This is definitely worth looking into, but I would like to see just how well it works before we decide to go in that direction," Brown said.
Romas told the commissioners he could put together a five-gallon bucket of the mix that could be used at the courthouse should there be another round of snow come through the area this season in order for them to see the mix in action.
Other business during Monday's meeting of the Clay County Commissioners included:
* Approval of a credit application with MacAllister Machinery Company, which Clay County Auditor Mary Jo Alumbaugh said was needed to open an account for the company to perform work on the courthouse's man lift since it is no longer under warranty,
* Signing off on a letter of support for the City of Brazil, which is in the process of seeking a grant for decorative lighting along United States 40,
* Appointing Brown to the local Workforce Investment Board,
* Approval of the fiscal year 2012 positions through the STOP and VOCA grants. Alumbaugh told The Brazil Times salary ordinances for the positions would be up for Clay County Council approval at a later date, but prior to the start of the fiscal year July 1,
* Approval of a motion to proceed with setting the Health Fair for county employees on May 11, with the same arrangements for blood work as last year, and
* Alumbaugh informed the commissioners the tax rates and abstract have been approved, meaning the county is still on schedule for on-time property tax billing.
The next meeting of the Clay County Commissioners will be 9 a.m., Monday, April 4, in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse.