Madison County Historical Society Director Nancy Dever spoke with passion about the work the organization is doing and its benefits to the community, especially in educating our young people about the county’s history and heritage.

She was equally passionate when she asked County Commissioners Tuesday that she be paid for the work she does.

“I wanted to come here and thank you,” she told commissioners. “We have had a great year.”

After discussing the Historical Society’s accomplishments, including its Pioneer Camp for students, partnerships with businesses and schools, and working to build a strong board, she addressed the issue of salary.

“My request today is for a wage. I would like for you to pay me a wage, and this wage would give me credibility and support that when I look down this long road to another year, I know the work it takes. It is all-consuming. It is a worthy cause, and everyone benefits from the museum,” she said.

She told them that commission and the community can benefit when, “I am given a voice. That’s what I need, a voice that can be heard; a voice with credibility.”

“I think your credibility has been verified by what you have accomplished. You have established the credibility already,” said Commissioner Mark Forrest.

“I agree,” said Commissioner David Dhume. “Continue doing what you are doing now, building relationships, quality board members, which are very difficult to find. It is one of the most difficult things in the world to keep a good quality board in place,” he said.

Dever pointed out that the board has “tremendous members.”

“And I believe that,” said Dhume. “I believe that the relationship that we have, the funding deal we made, really sparked energy and created a catalyst. My hope that this is creating something that will just naturally take off. It may, but it is always going to be a constant struggle. Working with business is a great idea. Businesses coming into our community receive incentive packages and part of that is contributing to the community. Some do, many do not. We need to work hard with business partnerships. We can work with the Chamber on this.”

However, commissioners were concerned about funding the Historical Society director’s position.

“Giving you a wage would make you a county employee. The Historical Society is a nonprofit. We have never gone down that road before Nancy, so you are going to have to give us some time to think about that issue,” said Dhume. “We may be able to give some budget consideration for the Historical Society, but it may be very difficult to make you an employee. It’s going to take a lot of consideration.”

“I don’t know if this organization is ready for a full-time employee,” added Forrest. “There is so much need for so many things. Unfortunately everyone on the board has been non-paid and all of you love doing it. Unfortunately, that is how these organizations go. I don’t see a paid employee being the best thing for them at this time.”

“We are tickled to death with what you are doing,” said Dhume. “We want you to continue to do it, because it is healthy for our community.”

“This is my baby and I love it dearly,” she said.

In other business, commissioners worked to “clean up” issues involving the proposed annexation to West Jefferson of 130 acres of Jefferson Township land adjacent to U.S. Route 40 and the west end of the village.

While commissioners did not indicate any problems approving the annexation requested by property owners All-Star Limited Partnership, there were concerns about the possibility of an “island” of land on U.S. Route 40 where its status and jurisdiction might be in doubt.

County Engineer Brian Dhume told commissioners that the parcel in question does go to the center of the road, which is what had been pre-approved by his office in March. “U.S. 40 is more complicated, because the westbound lanes were the original U.S. 40. The eastbound lanes were added where the old railroad tracks were,” he said.

“No one has any problem with this annexation, we just want it to be correct,” pointed out Forrest.

Sheriff Jim Sabin pointed out that in cases like this it becomes very confusing for law enforcement as to whose jurisdiction you are actually at when you are on the roadway. “Are you in the village or not in the village? Obviously for the sheriff’s office you are in Madison County, we are certain of that. But the question would be who is responsible for a crash (in that area),” the sheriff said.

In looking at the county map, commissioners determined that the annexation property “was clean” but they needed a plan to make sure that other properties have proper boundaries to not leave any “islands.” Under normal circumstances, this is not an issue, it is just Route 40 and the right of way, Dhume said.

Commissioners determined there was nothing that was needed to be done Tuesday on the annexation request.

Commissioners also went into executive session for the discussion of economic development.

By Gary Brock

Reach General Manager/Editor Gary Brock at 937-556-5759.