City of Brazil Mayor Brian Wyndham discussed the possibility of imposing a wheel tax to help generate funds needed to improve road conditions.
"A wheel tax is obviously an option," Wyndham said. "A wheel tax is not a fee per wheel, but per vehicle."
He added proposed costs are estimated at approximately $25 per vehicle.
"So if you have two cars and a pick-up truck, it's $75," Wyndham explained. "We are the only county in the area not imposing a wheel tax. The state legislators have given this tool to help towns raise money (to repair the roads.)"
Wyndham added if the city applied for a grant but didn't impose a wheel tax, the state could make it more difficult to receive funding by saying the city hasn't used a tool the state already put in place.
"It's a bitter pill to swallow. No one likes taxes," Wyndham said. "Let's not do something that will barely maintain us. Let's maximize it and put 100 percent of the money toward road repair. It's inevitable."
In addition, Wyndham said obtaining state and federal grants sometimes cost more than paying for a project without the aid.
Others attending the meeting, such as Clay County Council President Mike McCullough and Chamber board member Steve Kidwell, were in agreement with Wyndham.
"I agree with (Wyndham)," McCullough said. "We should maximize it."
Kidwell added, "It's not by accident that our roads are in the condition they are," Kidwell said, "and we are the only county without a wheel tax."
Wyndham said if taxes had to increase he wanted to make sure it would be enough to repair all that needs fixing, including 59 miles of road in Brazil alone, and 660 miles of road in Clay County.
"We met with Vigo County officials, and they are sorry they didn't maximize their wheel tax," Wyndham said. "We're looking for money, and we'll do the best we can with what we've got."
Clay County Commissioner Paul Sinders told those in attendance it costs between $60-70,000 to repair one-mile of road.
"Good roads have to be chipped and resealed every 10-15 years," Sinders said.
Meanwhile Wyndham told constituents he is dedicated to helping the city progress in other ways as well.
"So many times during my campaign, I heard people say we need more industry," Wyndham said, but we've already got a good industry for the size of our town. We need to form some type of marriage with the industry we already have so we continue to grow and progress."
For construction to begin, the Clay County Council must pass the motion through majority vote by July 1, 2012, which would allow road construction to begin in January 2013.
A show of hands showed the majority of Chamber members supported the idea of a wheel tax.
In other news:
* Wyndham told those in attendance the water tower located by the Interstate 70 exit is up and running. He also said once all water towers are online, the old water tower will be demolished. Currently, there is no set date,
* The county is looking into several project adjustments concerning the project for United States 40. Wyndham said there is a possibility there will be fewer "No Turn on Red" signs throughout the city. The Indiana Department of Transportation will revisit the issue and conduct a study to help make the decision. In addition, Wyndham said Jackson Street needed to be added to the plan as a high traffic area because it serves as a by pass of U.S. 40, and
* The city is in the process of finishing the "detention pond" on the east side of Brazil. After the project is complete, the state can come make their contributions to the project.