Thursday, January 26, 2006

IDA works on Mt. Carmel Road funding

Staff Writer

Innovative ways to kick-start construction of Mt. Carmel Road at Chickasaw Trails Industrial Park were brought before the Marshall County Board of Supervisors last week. Mt. Carmel will be the main access road to the industrial park.

The recent sale of 140 acres adjacent to the new Exel facility has brought $140,000 to IDA accounts, according to Bill Renick, director. The IDA board wants to plow that money back in to building Mt. Carmel Road in time for the construction season this year, he said.

Renick asked, and the board approved, $122,000 of in-kind services from the county road department. That would cover the cost of clearing and grubbing which precedes construction. Engineering work could be started earlier, he said.

Cost of construction of Mt. Carmel Road is expected to run over a half million dollars. Renick said IDA has commitments for $250,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission, $150,000 from DIP (Development Infrastructure Program) funds, and the $140,000 IDA just made in the land sale.

Board approval of $122,000 in in-kind clearing work gives Renick the leeway to start the engineering work.

In other road matters, Brenda Moore and a number of residents who live on Coleman Cove appeared before the board to ask why supervisors turned down the homeowners’ request that the county assume maintenance of Coleman Cove.

Supervisor George Zinn III said his decision was based on county zoning ordinances which require Moore and her neighbors to pave the road to county standards and plat the road first.

Supervisor Ronnie Bennett explained that supervisors would all like to help out residents who live on private roads. But state law does not allow a county to take over a road until the owners bring the road up to county standards.

Moore said Coleman Cove is gravelled, ditched out and graded and looks no worse than many other county kept roads.

Supervisor Keith Taylor said he would like to help property owners, provided the owners don’t have intentions of using the county’s improvements to sell lots for profit.

“It’s nothing personal,” said Zinn. “Everybody has these roads (they want improved).”

Bennett explained that a county cannot take over a private road unless it is brought up to standards. If the main road is gravel then the private road has to be gravelled by property owners before the county can assume it. If the main road is paved, the private road has to be paved by property owners before the county can take it over, he said.

Larry Hall, county administrator, explained further.

“It is illegal for the county to go on private property to make improvements,” he said. “The right-of-way would have to be deeded to the county first. Until you follow the guidelines, it is illegal to do that.”

“If it’s paved, what’s the need of us taking it over?” Taylor asked. His question drew ‘Amens’ from Coleman Cove residents.

“I am not asking you to break laws, I am asking you to be a voice for the people,” Moore said. “I challenge you all. We pay taxes just like all of you and I’ll guarantee you don’t have to drive to the post office to pick up your mail. Even the garbage. I refuse to take my garbage a quarter mile to get it picked up.”

Zinn said plenty of people in his district are hurting because of poor roads. He reminded Moore of the laws.

“There are no rules on my tax statement,” Moore said. “I have to pay road and bridge taxes. It’s on my tax bill.”

Supervisor Eddie Dixon said private road problems are found in all supervisor districts.

Bennett said the county taxpayers in general would have to pay for improvements on private property, if it were legal to do so, and some people in his district have the same problem.

“That person pays taxes, too,” Moore said.

“Would it be fair for the county to build a road for a subdivision and you (the taxpayer) pay the taxes for that?” asked Zinn. “If it was an open-door policy, every developer could come in and the county would pay for it (paving roads in private subdivisions).”

Moore said she did not believe citizens should pay for someone to make a profit; that she does not want the road fixed to make a profit.

“I challenge you all again to make some decisions and changes to these roads,” she said.

Moore was followed by Bill Davis, a Hardin Road resident in the Laws Hill area.

Davis said ruts get so bad it is sometimes hard to hold the vehicle on the road.

“I was told the road was going to be blacktopped and it has been 12 years,” Davis said. “I’m trying to get something done. I would like to have some relief.”

Storm water is washing out his drive, he said.

Zinn said the county road department is doing its best to keep Hardin Road passable.

“We have modified the banks, put in culverts and taken out trees blocking the view in the curve,” he said. “I know it does get marshy after rains.”

Hardin said the previous supervisor had promised to do something about the road.

“There has to be a beginning point and an ending point,” Zinn said. “We can’t get to everybody first.”

Mrs. Davis asked how a can a person find out which roads have priority for paving.

“Give it an opportunity,” Zinn said.

By opportunity, Zinn said he meant, next working season.

“What about the water?” Mrs. Davis asked.

“Larry Hall and I will convey on that,” Bill Davis said.

Reporting for engineer Larry Britt who was absent, Hall said traffic and school bus signs would be posted on Clear Creek Road. A project to divert storm water on Strickland Road is being studied by a state engineer.

The board approved a board order for purchase of either clay gravel or crushed limestone, whichever is cheaper, to be applied to the bridge project on Red Banks Road.

Erosion problems on Highway 4 Bypass Phase III construction are being addressed.

Several developers appeared before the board with zoning director Conway Moore.

Mary Ann Hurdle was granted a request to redraw lots at a subdivision near Matthews Corner. Another five-lot subdivision she owns on Marianna Road was approved to be rezoned back for agricultural use.

The board approved Phase II of Coldwater Subdivision, under development by Barry Ray.

Teddy Bryant asked for freeport warehouse tax relief on inventory at his business. The board took no action.

Zinn asked supervisors to look at a storm water problem on St. Paul Road that is causing a driveway to wash out on private property. The board approved a second look at how runoff water could be diverted.

The board discussed how to pay for construction costs at the sheriff’s department substation on Highway 309 North, then approved a motion to pay for it out of the county’s building fund.

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