Roads were a main topic for the Graves County Fiscal Court during their virtual meeting Monday. County Road Foreman Eric Thompson shared an idea on a road specification proposal while commissioners voted on two resolutions with the Kentucky Department of Transportation.
Thompson presented commissioners with a plan and ordinance examples from surrounding counties that could possibly safeguard the county from what he termed “taking in a maintenance nightmare.” He shared two ordinances Marshall County had adopted regarding drainage issues and pipe installation, as well as handling damage to county roads by contractors.
Regarding new pipe installs, Thompson said Marshall County now requires landowners to cover all costs and then the county maintains the drainage indefinitely. He said Graves County’s current practice is the landowner purchases the piping and the county installs the pipe at a cost of $1,000 to $2,000 per install plus indefinitely maintains it.
The other ordinance example Thompson said was like a bonding system where a contractor or company would guarantee payment for any damage done to a roadway during their work.
“It doesn’t happen a whole lot, but with the new fiber coming in, they plowed through two of our cross drains,” Thompson added. “In my opinion, it would be a good contract option.”
First District Commissioner Richie Galloway said whatever the court agrees to should be the right fit for Graves County. Third District Commissioner Todd Hayden said he didn’t want it to be too restrictive that would hinder construction in the county.
“The more houses we have in the county, the more tax revenue we’re bringing in. I don’t want to make it too hard, but I want good roads,” Hayden said.
Thompson said that without road specifications, it’s hard to answer questions on how to accept a new roads into the county’s system. Second District Commissioner Tyler Goodman said having a set policy would make the process easier.
“It would be so much easier when somebody calls and says, ‘I want to have this road taken in’ or ‘I want to build a subdivision,’ well here’s our policy. Make it fit that form and we can talk about taking it in,” he said. “I definitely think we need to do something so there are fewer gray areas.”
Judge-Executive Jesse Perry suggested forming a committee at the court’s next meeting to examine similar ordinances and formulate a plan best suited for Graves County’s roads.
The county also passed two resolutions related to an agreement with the Kentucky Department of Transportation for flex funding for fiscal year 2020-21 for $345,219 for county road work, and for 80/20 bridge funds for 2020-21 for $80,000 for bridge and cross drain work.
The 80/20 bridge funds remained the same from last year, however the flex funding dropped by nearly $11,400 from last year. Perry and Thompson shared that for the county’s 658 miles of roads, it costs between $50,000 and $75,000 to pave one mile of roadway.
“It’s very tough on a group like this to try and stretch those dollars,” the judge said.
In other business, commissioners:
• Heard the presenting tax rate for the Graves County Public Library would remain at 5.5 cents per $100 assessment on real property and 9.6 cents for personal property.
• Heard Perry read a proclamation designating Oct. 11-17 as Kentucky Extension Homemaker Week.
• Agreed to advertise for bids for a 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe PPV four-wheel drive.
• Accepted county treasurer claims, FY 2020-21 First Quarter Fiscal Court Report, Graves County Sheriff’s Third Quarter Report for 2020, and Graves County Jail Housing Report for August 2020.
• Accepted updates to the E-911 PSAP Operations Policy between Kentucky State Police and Graves County for dispatching for the sheriff’s office.