‘Concrete’ program rules discussed

Published 9:04 pm Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Decatur County Board of Commissioners discussed a proposed policy, which would define exactly when and why the county would do any work on privately-owned property, at its work session Tuesday evening.
The policy addresses the often-controversial program where county workers have previously removed concrete from private property, and that concrete is then crushed and used on county-maintained roads. Proponents of the program say it saves the county money, while opponents say it provides a taxpayer-funded benefit to the private landowner.
The proposed policy also discusses instances where the county might work to repair drainage on private land, repair privately-maintained roads or remove trees that originated from private land but pose a danger to a right-of-way or county road. In most cases, county work would only be utilized if the situation posed “an imminent threat or danger to life or property.”
The policy details the procedures that must be taken before the county will remove concrete from private property. First, the property owner must submit a request in writing to the county administrator. The county administrator will then perform a project feasibility study to determine legality, regulatory compliance, cost estimate and other factors.
Commissioners will then be informed of projects that are determined “feasible and beneficial” to the county, as well as of any projects that are non-feasible. The property owner will also be notified in writing.
If one of more commissioners requests it, the project will then be placed on the next board meeting’s agenda. A majority vote of the Board of Commissioners will then be required to undertake the proposed project.
Board Chairman Dr. David C. “Butch” Mosely said the policy is only a draft, but he asked for commissioners to be ready to vote by the next meeting.
“I would suggest that we take this home and really scrutinize it,” he said. “Let’s be prepared to modify or adopt it at our first meeting in October.”
The policy is five pages long and specifically addresses these situations: county work on private property, drainage on private property, emergency work on private roads and maintenance of public roads and drainage ways (including the concrete reclamation program, drainage on private property with a clear public interest, substances and materials requiring emergency removal, and tree removal from county rights-of-way).
Commissioner Dr. Earl Perry said he agreed with the policy, but asked for it to also address situations when a tree on private property has not yet fallen, but is dangerously leaning and has the potential to fall on a public right-of-way or road.
“That might be better addressed than it is here (in the existing policy),” Perry said. “I think we should expand upon it.”
The policy discussion was not originally listed on the workshop’s agenda, but Vice Chairman Dr. C.T. Stafford made a motion to add it to the agenda, at the start of the workshop. Commissioner Frank Loeffler seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.

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