County compiling master roads list, plans to propose new roads ordinance
In Monday’s meeting of the Union County Committee on Public Works, Roads, Bridges, and County Property, the committee members discussed taking in several roads into the county road system. The five they seemed most likely to recommend are Ralph Ridge and Cody Drive in Mt. Vernon, Stone Creek and Inman Drive off Riley Road, and Nicole Drive. Public Works Director Rusty Snider and County Engineer Jerry Brannon stated that while the roads may not necessarily meet the existing road ordinance, they are in better shape than many that have been taken into the system in the past 10 years or so. In the case of Stone Creek and Inman Drive, additional work needs to be done with the property developer to work out the specifics of the subdivision plan. Once the county can obtain right of way, a survey has been conducted, and 6 inches of base installed, it likely can be taken in.
The committee also discussed Post Office Drive in Jonesville, which is in pretty bad condition, but that road is personally owned and commercially used, and in the past, those types of roads have not been included in the county road system. Committee members seemed reluctant to take it in.
Jerry Brannon stated that when he began working with the county in 2010, there was no master road list, and what exists now was created as part of the 911 project to get all the roads named. Brannon presented the committee members with a proposed list, with a number of roads recommended to be removed from the system. Brannon said there are roughly 547 roads, covering roughly 165-175 miles in the county. Most are short, as he noted there may be only 10 or so longer than a mile and a half. The basic criteria for a county road is a road that services two or more properties with two or more property owners and at least two residences. Based on that criteria alone, several roads could be removed from the list. Committee member Ben Ivey said he agreed with that, as he could not justify using taxpayer money to maintain a road for just one resident or property.
In discussing updating the road ordinance, Brannon said terms such as “private road”, “public road”, and “county-maintained road” need to be clearly defined in it. He said in addition to the property owner and residence requirements, he said right of way needs to be obtained for each county-maintained road. Brannon mentioned having a countywide speed limit ordinance would help in speed enforcement, as it is unfeasible to post speed limit signs on every county road. He said having a 45-mph county road speed limit unless otherwise posted, and a 25-mph limit in neighborhoods, would help. Brannon said he and Snider probably have another 20 hours of work to do before the proposed road ordinance could be submitted to Union County Council and to the attorney for review.
The committee also discussed renovation work needed to county buildings. The former Union Chrysler building, which houses the county shop, voter registration, and IT, is in need of a new roof and wall repairs. The repairs could run close to $300,000 and would force the temporary relocation of the offices within the building. Supervisor Frank Hart said there may be enough bond proceeds to cover the roof repair there. The parking lot at EMS needs probably $34,000 in repair and paving. There may be some landscaping that can be done so that the lot becomes smaller. They also mentioned repairing the lot at the Chrysler building, which could also be made smaller through additional landscaping, depending on the need. The committee will meet again on Monday prior to the next special council meeting, and at that time, they may vote to make some formal recommendations to the full council.