Thursday, January 12, 2012
Portion of road renamed
By SUE WATSON
The children of Jeremiah and Hazel LeSueur asked the Marshall County Board of Supervisors in December to rename a portion of Rising Star Road, beginning at the city limits to the end of the road, in honor of their parents.
Supervisors said it is a lot of trouble and expense to rename a road and they suggested that portion of Rising Star be dedicated to the LeSueurs, instead, as other roads are often dedicated with a sign.
Supervisors said new road signs have to be made when a road is renamed and each address on the road will change, including the 911 numbers in the portion undergoing a name change.
But, the relatives, who said most of the families on that section of road are family members, held out for the name change of the road.
District 1 Supervisor Willie Flemon (who retired from office December 31) advised the family to get the signatures of each household to see how the people feel about their address changing. He was unsuccessful in convincing the LeSueurs to accept the road dedication.
The LeSueurs said they have already gotten a list of names of people living on the road who would have an address change if the name is changed and that the people understand how it will affect them.
Tracy Reed, 911 director, said she would have to start a new road range (of new 911 address numbers) from each household affected.
“You have to ride every address,” she said.
The Lesueurs said they counted 13 addresses from the city limits to the end of the road at their parents’ house.
“I don’t have a problem with it,” said supervisor George Zinn III.
“They will have to change their land roll addresses,” Reed said.
“Y’all do understand what it takes to do this,” said supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett to the family members. “It costs money and residents will have to let all their businesses (places from which they get regular business mail) know of their address change.”
“Consider dedicating that road and put up a plaque,” said Flemon. “It would be a faster process.”
The LeSueurs said the change would only affect a limited number of people.
Larry Hall, county administrator, and Bennett again tried to sell the family on a road dedication, to no avail.
The LeSueurs said only six houses would be affected and that each family would be asked if they minded an address change and if they do, they would drop it.
With that discussion ended, Flemon motioned to allow the section of road to be named LeSueur Road, Zinn seconded, and it passed 4-0 with supervisor Keith Taylor absent.
“It will take a while,” Reed said. “I have to measure off the road and get signs ordered.”
Next up was Tom Taylor with the Barton advisory board. He wanted to seek a settlement of the placement of a water tank for the Marshall County Water Association. He said there are several good sites to locate the tank but some residents, including Don Downing, are adamant about wanting an alternate site. One resident objected, saying he did not want the tank in his back yard after a site on property owned by Linda McCray was suggested, according to zoning director Conway Moore.
“It’s hard to cram stuff down people’s throats,” Tom Taylor said. “There’s always another option. We want to pursue that before....”
Supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett asked, “What’s the purpose of their (advisory) board, if they have turned it down?”
Supervisor Eddie Dixon suggested the advisory board handle it, then the zoning board.
Board attorney Kent Smith agreed, saying, “The advisory board is for y’all to handle. This board just approves it.”
“Several members of the advisory board did not like having no options,” Tom Taylor reiterated. “You don’t want to see it in your back yard. We would like to pursue it and come back.”
With that, Dixon motioned to send the matter back to the Barton advisory board and the motion passed unanimously.
(Update: The Barton advisory board voted the first site on Linda McCray’s property down, according to Moore.)
The board moved on to the matter of an energy audit at the courthouse that proposed the replacement of the HVAC system to a more modernized system. Supervisors discussed the cost in matching dollars – close to $200,000 – if they accepted an ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) grant. The grant would pay about $250,000 on the project, but the money must be deobligated if the board wants to pass it up. Some members of the board opposed putting more debt (about $16,000 a year for 15 years) on the taxpayers, saying the new system would be worn out by the time it was paid for.
Bennett was dead-set against it and preferred spending another $50,000 to overhaul the old steam generating system for heat rather than going into so much debt.
Zinn was in favor of it, saying he didn’t think the board ought to turn down the offer of the ARRA money.
“If we keep adding debt, we are going to have to lay off some employees,” Bennett said.
Chancery clerk Chuck Thomas said he knows of a lot of counties that turned down the grant to overhaul their courthouse heat and air systems.
Hall said the engineers took measurements of where energy was being lost through the walls.
“They pulled it (energy estimate) out of the sky, found where a lot of loss (of heat and air) was from the walls and did a cost estimate,” he said.
“To make a long story short, the engineers are the ones making the money on it,” he said.
“This would have been a perfect opportunity to rid ourselves of an antique steam system,” Zinn said. “If the system went down, we would have to shut the courthouse down. If it goes, you don’t have many options. The money would have to come from somewhere.”
Bennett countered Zinn’s argument.
“Forty years ago, there was no such thing as air conditioning,” he said. “They can hand out fans.”
“Every funeral home had fans put up there so you could use them,” Hall said.
Thomas argued that the original sales pitch was that the county would only have to pay about $20,000 for the overhaul of the system.
“That has gone to $200,000,” he said.
“I have a concern we are giving away $200,000 to get something you absolutely need to upgrade your whole system,” Zinn said.
“We just don’t want to bind ourselves,” Dixon said. “I don’t want to put the county in more of a bind than we are in.”
Dixon motioned to deobligate the grant and it passed 3-1 with Zinn voting in opposition to letting the money go back.
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