He said, “In late July I called the County Highway Department about filling numerous holes in the road. At that point, half the summer was over and generally these issues are taken care of before June.” Smith said on August 2nd he returned home from a weekend getaway and saw equipment, thinking the county was repairing Redwood Road. To his surprise the deteriorating chip and sealed road had been converted back to a gravel road. Not liking the change he decided to dig into the situation and the try to determine how and why it had happened.
After talking to Jason Peters from the County Highway and hearing that there was a decrease in funding from the gas tax Smith decided to start reading the commissioner meeting minutes. His comment was “much of it does not make sense.” He said, “My property taxes have increased $50o and I asked myself where all that money is at.”
Smith asked the commissioners, “When is that road going to be put back and if you don’t have the money, where’s the money going to come from?” He stated he would be diligent and get the Redwood Road paved again. Commissioner Overmyer asked if it was paved or chipped and sealed and Smith said chip and sealed but it should have been paved because it is a main street line from State Road 23 to US 6. It doesn’t matter how many people live there, I live there! Now my windows are closed. I bought a $65,000 car that I hate driving on that road. I’ve got a $20,000 motorcycle that I don’t like driving on that road because the instability and the dust.”
Commissioner Overmyer said the cost to chip seal a mile of road in 2003 was about $4,000 and now it $12,000. He stated that revenues have not increased three-fold like expenses have.
Smith did learn that property tax dollars, not even a little portion goes toward road funding. He said, “It seems like the county is just digging a bigger hole for itself.” He also let them know he was speaking for a group of over 100 Marshall County Tax payers who also have concerns over the status of our county roads and closed his prepared statement by saying, “Today in the 21st century we are going back to gravel roads, it just does not make sense.”
Bruce Smith presented a lengthy list of questions for the commissioners to answer and they indicated they would attempt to answer them at their second meeting in September.