Potential changes to some county roads had residents questioning the Clay County Commissioners.
During Monday's meeting, residents voiced concerns and disapproval of the possibility of certain roads being reverted back to gravel.
Oak Ridge Golf Course Owner Jim Metz presented a petition signed by 210 customers and members who are against the change.
"Our employment is down and so is our membership," Metz said about his business, adding the change would negatively affect other residents along County Road 300 East.
Greta Johnson, who lives on County Road 500 East (near the Parke County line) expressed her displeasure with a potential gravel road, but understood blacktop may not be an option at this time.
"I have asthma, and I don't want to see the road back to gravel, but I am OK with patching and chip and seal," she said. "The road is in horrible shape, but I just really don't want it to be gravel."
Commissioners' President Charlie Brown said reverting a road back to gravel is the final alternative in determining how to repair a road.
"Gravelling a road is our Plan Z, which we only consider when everything else won't work," he said. "If we can maintain what we have without turning to gravel, that's what we'll do."
Commissioner Jack Withers informed those in attendance how small of a budget there is for road work and repairs.
Brown added the funding has decreased drastically in recent years.
"When I first started as commissioner about six or seven years ago, each district had about $200,000 available for road work, and now it's down quite a bit," he said.
Commissioner Paul Sinders said road funding comes strictly from the gas tax, which is set at a static amount regardless of fuel prices.
"It doesn't matter if the price of gas is $2 a gallon or $4, the rate is the same per gallon, so it doesn't increase like the price for gas," Sinders told the audience. "Another issue is while our funding for the roads is decreasing, the cost of the materials for the upkeep and maintenance are going up."
Withers said another major factor affecting county roads is the increased loads carried by semis.
"Years ago, the average truck load was about 10-15 tons, and now there are a lot of 40-ton trucks, which just tear the roads apart," he said. "Reverting certain roads back to gravel has been suggested by the Highway Department, but that's not necessarily going to happen."
Sinders added, "I would like to see some of the roads that had been chip and sealed at some point, on roads with no one living on them, be reverted back to gravel. But right now, we are looking into what other options are available for restoring the roads that fit into our budget."
Another resident approached the commissioners about posting a speed limit sign on County Road 950 North, near the intersection with Kennedy's Crossing Road.
"When school lets out, that road becomes a regular racetrack with cars going 60-70 mph, and some of them even get into the yards," Jack Elder told the Commissioners. "It's not always the kids being reckless, but there are times where people are riding their bikes in the road and there is a big concern for safety. The road itself is in bad shape, but what we are after is the speed limit."
Elder did not suggest a limit, but stated the road is currently unposted meaning the state statute of 55 mph would be in effect.
The commissioners agreed to conduct the necessary engineering study on the road in order to create a speed limit ordinance that differs from state statutes.
The next meeting of the Clay County Commissioners will be 9 a.m., Monday, May 2, in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse.