Letter: Help officials decide which route to follow

To the editor:

How to pay for maintaining our roads is something that has been of concern to us here in Brown County for some time.

Our state assembly passed two bills addressing road funding this year. We are all glad to see some focus on it, but the legislation presents some choices we have to make on a county level.

One bill, HEA 1001, sets up a grant fund administered by the Indiana Department of Transportation for local road projects.

The second bill, SEA 67, returns to us a portion of already collected Local Option Income Taxes (LOIT) that the state has been holding (over $1 million for all taxing entities in Brown County, with over $800,000 for the county itself); 75 percent of this money must be spent on roads.

Brown County can apply for up to $500,000 from the grant fund but must match the state-granted amount from one of three places: 1) raise our wheel taxes, 2) take it from the county’s rainy-day fund, or 3) take it from the money the state is returning to us from LOIT.

Since our elected officials must decide soon what options to pursue, they are eager to hear what the public thinks.

What are our road needs?

How do we go about establishing an “asset management plan” as required?

Should we pursue a grant? If we do, where should the matching funds come from?

The commissioners and the council will conduct a special joint session at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 16 at the County Office Building. The League of Women Voters will moderate a panel that will include subject matter experts, local officials and local citizens.

After a presentation of the legislation and our road needs by the panel, we’ll open the discussion to all those attending for questions, comments, additional ideas and concerns.

We hope you will come and give some input!

Julie Winn, president, League of Women Voters Brown County

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