County lawmakers address road damage, traffic issues
Roads and road damage were one of the main topics at the regular meeting of the Carbon County Commission on Feb. 6.
The commission is considering looking at an ordinance that regulates use and makes private entities that damage any road because of unusual use to repair the road or pay to have it fixed.
The issue has come to light in recent months because of damage by heavy haul vehicles on county roads.
Commissioner Bill Krompel invited Emery County road supervisor Rex Funk to speak at last week's meeting. Funk discussed an ordinance Emery has used to control the situation in its jurisdiction.
"This started out as a utility regulation," explained Funk. "But it has led over into other aspects of road use. The general rule of thumb that we use is - if you break it, you fix it."
Funk said the ordinance is used particularly in relation of heavy truck traffic from coal and timber hauling.
The Emery County guideline puts the burden of improving a road before use or after damage occurs on the responsible private entity.
"We deal with companies when they use a road a disproportionate amount, exceed the load limits or damage the road in some other manner," pointed out Funk. "We regulate anyone in the categories of utilities or constant heavy hauling."
The idea of an ordinance comes from the fact that roads are often designed for one type of traffic, but years later a development transpires that changes the usage.
The situation often adds a financial burden to the county for repair of a roadway designed for lighter use.
"I thought Emery's ordinance would be a good thing to look into," indicated Krompel. "Rather than re-invent the wheel on this problem, I think we should look at what they have done and it can guide us in our efforts to control the problems."
Krompel recently gave a copy of Emery's ordinance to county road supervisor Ray Hanson and engineer Evan Hansen to review.
As a whole, the road supervisor and engineer told the commissioner that the ordinance would probably fit most of Carbon County's needs.
"The ordinance as it stands in our county has been quite successful and we have had no court challenges to speak of," commented Funk. "We have put signs on roads that vehicles with excess weight over the rate tonnage had to buy permits. The citizens of the county have accepted the ordinance quite well."
After discussing the matter, Carbon commissioners decided to work toward implementing such an ordinance.
The lawmakers tentatively set a March 20 public hearing on a regulation.
In other business, the commissioners:
Honored Bill Kirkwood for serving more than 20 years on the county planning and zoning board. He recently resigned because of illness.
County officials selected Helper Councilman Robert Welch to fill the vacancy.
Granted an easement for a cement vault in Spring Glen for the irrigation canal on county property.
Granted the Western Railroad and Mining Museum $24,609.66 in restaurant tax revenues for repairs and renovationsat the facility.
Opened bids for flagging services for the road repair season from four companies.
The bids were from Altres Staffing for $13 per hour, Castle Valley Services for $13.25 per hour, Independent Contractor's Service for $15 per hour and SOS Staffing for $14 per hour.
Carbon officials accepted and approved the Altres Staffing bid.
Approved a resolution authorizing the issuance and sale of Carbon County tax anticipation notes for $2.5 million at 2.2 percent interest.
Denied the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' application for building permit waivers for steeples being put up on churches in the county.
"In the past, the church has gone ahead and paid any building fees we have charged them," pointed out Carbon County Attorney Gene Strate. "Based on that history, I don't think we should wave those fees."
The commissioners followed the county attorney's advise and denied the waiver request.
Appointed Rebecca Mason to the council on aging board.