Shawn Carruthers

Shawn Carruthers

NEW ALBANY — The Floyd County Commissioners meet at 6 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.

But if you are unable to make it to the Pine View Government Center for the meetings, there is another option available about how you can share concerns or get updates on county news.

On the second Saturday of every month, the commissioners will host coffee talk from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at various locations. In February, the event will be at A Nice Restaurant, 404 Lafollette Station in Floyds Knobs.

Each year the Floyd County Commissioners attend the Indiana Association of County Commissioners to hear about "the good, the bad and the ugly," happening in the other 91 counties across Indiana, according to commissioner John Schellenberger. He said the idea of a coffee talk was brought up a few years ago, so he and fellow commissioner Shawn Carruthers decided to give it a try.

"The key is to communicate," Schellenberger said. "Shawn and I, and the new commissioner when he or she comes on board next month, will be able to continue to meet with people to discuss the issues."

Carruthers said there was a good crowd of people at the first coffee talk last Saturday, including various elected officials who took advantage of the opportunity to speak with the commissioners.

"It's a way for us to get out in the public and talk to people," he said. "Last week we had a good time talking to people. We chatted about some things they wanted to put on our radar. They wanted to know about paving and patching in their neighborhoods."

Carruthers said the goal, beginning in March, is to move the monthly event to various locations in the county. He hopes the March coffee talk will be in New Albany.

"It's always good to be available to the public," County Councilman Dale Bagshaw said. "Whenever you have access to elected officials, it's a good thing. That is why I always try to be available to talk to people."

Former commissioner Billy Stewart resigned in December due to job obligations, and his successor will be chosen by caucus when Republican precinct leaders meet Jan. 23 at the Calumet Club.

At last week's first meeting of 2020, Carruthers was elected president of the commissioners as Schellenberger made the nomination. Carruthers said he is excited about what 2020 will bring to the county.

"It's an honor to be selected president," he said. "I don't take it lightly. I just see myself as an average guy, selected to lead my colleagues. I am looking forward to the challenge."

Two items high on the 2020 list include the completion of the Novaparke Innovation & Technology Campus in Georgetown, and to solve the county's ambulance issue.

"I am looking forward to the upcoming year," Carruthers, who is also chairman of the Floyd County Republican Party, said. "Seeing the tech park come through could be the single most exciting thing for the county. The county has never had something like this ... a high tech park. It's a big deal for Floyd County. It separates us from other counties ... we will be able to bring in high-paying jobs."

Carruthers said an anchor tenant for the park will be announced soon. He said there has been a lot of business interest in the park.

"Once we announce an anchor tenant, it will just come together after that," he said.

Chris Morris is an assistant editor at the News and Tribune. Contact him via email at chris.morris@newsandtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NAT_ChrisM.

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