During the Clay County Commissioners meeting Monday, representatives from Endeavor Communications, a company that provides telephone, Internet and some television services, spoke with the commissioners about installing fiber optic cables in the Poland area.
Endeavor has been installing the new cables in areas such as Cloverdale, Reelsville and Monrovia. They want to begin the Poland exchange in January. The cables will follow all the way to the resident's home. An estimated 200 miles of fiber optic cables are to be installed in Poland.
Currently, the engineering phase is taking place, but in January, Endeavor wants to begin the drilling and plowing phases of construction. The fiber duct will be placed 30-40 inches deep, something that concerned Town Attorney Eric Somheil and Commissioner Paul Sinders.
Somheil and Sinders weren't sure if the measurements were deep enough, and they wanted Endeavor to hold Clay County harmless should there by any incidents with their normal ditching procedures.
"We're behind on ditching in this county," Sinders said. "We've made a lot of progress, but we'll be doing a lot more ditching in the next year."
Endeavor's representatives said they would try to work around culverts when they could and would be willing to work with the county highway department to make sure they do the work the county expects. There will be visible markers along the roadways. The representatives left a letter for review; however, Somheil plans to discuss the options with Endeavor's legal counsel before the commissioners sign anything. Representatives also said they would provide the commissioners with a list of roads where the fiber cable would be installed.
Meanwhile, Clay County Assessor Mark Barnhart introduced Larry Brandon and John Shelton of Tax Management Associates to the commissioners. If hired, Brandon and Shelton said they would work with Barnhart by doing personal business property return audits and training those in the assessor's office. The audits or reviews would correct any errors made during self-assessments, restoring the values to where they are supposed to be and possibly bringing in more money for the county and townships.
Tax Management Associates' fee is based on the size of the audit, but Brandon said a county never pays more than what it collects.
"Everybody always collects more than what they owe us," Shelton said. He estimated Clay County would have 300 audits done for an estimated cost of $300,000. He said the county would most likely collect anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000.
Businesses could also receive money back if they are paying more than they should be.
"We don't want people paying taxes they shouldn't be paying," Shelton said.
The contract is for a three-year period. Somheil will review the contract, and the commissioners will discuss it during their special meeting this month.
"Everybody needs to pay their fair share," Sinders said.
Further, Marty Weaver of United Consulting spoke with commissioners about a signage grant. He said there are an estimated 4,000 signs in Clay County, 3,300 of which are regulatory signs (red, yellow or white).
With the grant money, United Consulting could do a signage inventory of an estimated 2,600 of the signs. The contract does not include signs within Brazil or incorporated towns in the county, as they are responsible for their own signs.
The inventory would give the commissioners information on where each sign is, how it is mounted and what condition it is in, among other things.
The commissioners and town attorney plan to review the contract and discuss it at their upcoming special meeting.
In other news:
* The commissioners spoke about having a commissioner's sale this year and whether to have it online or inside the courthouse. Nothing was decided at this time,
* EMA Director Bryan Husband was unable to attend the meeting because he is volunteering in New York to help with hurricane relief efforts. At the special meeting, Husband will present a grant request,
* Staunton resident Chris Brown spoke with the commissioners about property lines after having problems with a neighbor. Commissioner Jack Withers and Sinders plan to look at the area,
* The commissioners approved highway bid specs. The bids are to be opened at the December meeting,
* Andy Carnegie of JMC Engineering spoke to the commissioners on behalf of AT&T phone lines during the September meeting. Carnegie contacted the commissioners to have the minutes of the meeting changed. He asked that "JMC Engineering" be removed as taking responsibility of roads and replacing it with "AT&T or the contractor." The commissioners approved the change in minutes after discussion,
* The Havel Maintenance contract was tabled until the next meeting in order to give Somheil time to review it,
* Clay County residents William Francis and Don Swearingen presented Ordinance No. 21-2012, which the commissioners approved, and
* Three bridges need repair work including Bridge No. 155, Bridge No. 14 and Bridge No. 225. The commissioners approved the bridge specs for each bridge and are requesting quotes for each bridge be turned in by Tuesday, Nov. 20, at 9:45 a.m., in order to be read at the special meeting. Anyone interested in specs can contact the Clay County Highway Department or the Clay County Auditor's Office.
The Clay County Commissioners will have a special meeting Tuesday, Nov. 20, at 10 a.m. to discuss the following:
* A grant request by Husband,
* A signage grant,
* Tax Management consideration,
* Havel Maintenance contract, and
* The opening of the bids for bridge repairs.