Another change on the state level may also help get the project along. Earlier this year the state began distributing additional funds to local counties as part of a change in the gas tax. Daviess County has designated those funds to be used for the local match for Odon-Cannelburg Road. "Of the $2.9 million in local matching money, we have about $1.7 million in local highway funds set aside," said Cornelius. "The county council is going to cover the rest of the $1.2 million."
The council has also approved an addition to the Highway Department staff that could save even more money on the project. Members voted in favor of a request by Cornelius to add a county engineer. "By having our own engineer on-site to handle inspections we could directly save $253,000 on the project. We could also recoup as much as 80 percent of another $1 million set aside for federal engineering work."
While the engineering position is expected to help the county recover hundreds of thousands of dollars on the Odon-Cannelburg road project, officials believe an engineer can be a big cost saver in the future on other projects. "There are more and more regulations heading our way," said Cornelius. "Having someone on staff who can handle permitting and inspections is going to be a big deal. I see our county growing and more projects in the future. An engineer on staff can save us money in meeting regulations, in designing better projects, and completing inspections"
The money for the position will come out of the motor vehicle highway fund with the county putting up $55,000 for salary and the state kicking in another $20,000. "I think we need to approach this from a long-term standpoint," said Councilman Jo Arthur.
"I have a feeling we are going to have more than enough in the future to keep that person busy," added Councilman Mike Sprinkle.