Thursday, February 25, 2010
Talk on hauling, roads continues
By SUE WATSON
The Marshall County Board of Supervisors heard from concerned citizen Melvin Lay about the hauling moratorium at the Tuesday, Feb. 16, meeting.
Lay said he and his son, who make their living hauling gravel for driveways and logging, cannot support and feed their families as a result of the moratorium on hauling set to expire March 1. The board put the moratorium in effect in early January after loggers began to tear up county paved roads when coming in and out of the fields with heavy loads of timber.
The county has studied the permitting process and attorney Kent Smith provided a permit form the county administrator’s office can use to provide information on the restrictions, as well as in obtaining a permit to haul timber or dirt or gravel on county roads. The permit is required primarily for those who will be making many trips in and out of the fields with heavy loads.
“I know we have some tremendous damage over all Marshall County,” Lay said, “even some on roads some logging trucks have never been on. I would appreciate some type of relief. I haul gravel and some driveways in my neighborhood need gravel. I can’t do it. I don’t see it feasible to not let citizens have gravel to get in and out.”
Supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett promised Lay the board would have word on the situation by day’s end that Tuesday.
Later in the meeting, supervisors, the attorney and the road manager discussed the new permit form, with Bennett asking for revision of the form to make sure haulers know all the information on the form is pertinent to the hauler. Once in effect, haulers will pay $100 for a permit. The permit also includes a specified route or several ones the hauler will take in going in and out of the field with product.
County administrator Larry Hall made clear this is not just a concern to Marshall County but other counties are grappling with issues of damage to roads due to hauling, particularly heavy loads coming out of gravel pits.
The issue is two-fold. A person has to go to the zoning board to get permission to operate a mining pit in the county. Then the operator has to go to the county administrator’s office and request a permit.
The attorney passed the permit before the Marshall County Forestry Association officers and accepted 100 percent of what the association asked for, Smith said. Then the county added its own language and elements to the application form.
Smith said most buyers won’t take timber that is grown on farms that are not certified for good forest management practices.
County engineer Larry Britt asked if the permit requirement would apply to someone who has a contract to haul many loads to a construction site in the county from somewhere outside the county, including traveling over county roads that are overlayed with State Aid monies.
Smith said concrete trucks hauling to a construction site would not likely be affected.
“It is the repeated hauling over the same spot that is plain in case law,” he said. “You have a right to route somebody - to protect county roads this board is trying to resurface and get up to a level.”
Bennett suggested that language specifying weather conditions be moved up high in the form instead of below where the county’s signature goes on the approval form.
Hall said everything on the form would be explained to the hauler and that State Aid built roads should not be excepted from routes that require a permit.
“So, if a hauler is tearing up a road, any supervisor or the county administrator can stop them and the action can be ratified at the next board meeting,” Smith said. “If they mess up a road, sue them. That’s what it all comes down to. There is no law specifying you (the county) have to build a road to a certain standard. They are putting you guys in a cat box, when you all are doing everything by the law.”
Supervisor George Zinn III added, “This is no attempt to shut anybody down. It’s just asking for cooperation.”
In other business, the board of supervisors:
• motioned to pay mid-month bills totaling $179,309. Chancery clerk Chuck Thomas said the county may find itself in a cash-flow crunch in a month or two because the carry-over of funds into last year’s budget year was less this year by $800,000 than two years ago and by $400,000 from one year ago. He said departments may need to cut back their quarterly allotment by as much as eight percent. Supervisors passed a motion to give departments advance warning that expenditures may have to be reduced soon if revenues do not come in on time.
Thomas said two years ago the county had $1.9 million carry-over to operate on until tax monies came in in January. This last year the county had only $1.1 million carry-over, causing the county to come close to running out of operating cash and necessitating using all the county’s CD savings for cash.
He said the county has to operate on the carry-over dollars for about three months in the late fall, then operates on new cash flows from property tax dollars until the summer tax sale when additional monies are collected.
• appointed Virginia Jeffries to replace retiring library board member Jewel Stover at the recommendation of supervisor Willie Flemon.
• discussed sending a letter to the Mississippi Department of Transportation and to the BNSF Railroad requesting crossing arms be placed at intersections of the railroad at Shinault and Mason roads.
• learned from Britt that inspectors with the Federal Highway Commission will check files and documents on work on Mt. Carmel Road and the North Holly Springs Bypass, according to requirements set in place by the Obama administration. The audits are required by the Congressional bill that provided money for ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) stimulus monies.
Britt announced a cut in State Aid Program Funds to Marshall County amounting to about $86,000. He said some projects would have extra money to make up for about a third of the cut in funds.
• heard a request from Charles Green to place a mobile home perpendicular to the highway on his lot. Zoning requires mobile homes to face the road. Zinn said the board would not step over zoning regulations and take away from the zoning board’s authority.
“If I go against them, I would be questioning their integrity,” he said.
Green argued the direction his mobile home faces hurts no one and would not affect anyone.
“If I go to them and complain about them, are they going to correct it?” he asked.
Green then asked for something in writing stating the board of supervisors concurred with zoning on the matter. The board passed a motion to provide the statement.
• voted to pass a resolution in support of a WIN Job Center in the county that would be sent to Jackson and the Legislature.
• took under advisement a letter from Gov. Haley Barbour concerning economic development recovery bonds and recovery facility bonds. The Legislature has approved several millions in bond money for construction of several projects in the county. These monies may be needed to complete some infrastructure projects, supervisors said.
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