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Slowing down: Fiscal court has first reading of speed limit ordinance

By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

 If you’re used to driving 55 miles per hour on county roads, you might want to start slowing down. Fiscal court had their first reading of a new ordinance on Monday evening that will set speed limits on all county roads at 35 mph, unless otherwise marked. The ordinance also lists roads where the speed limit will be set at 25 mph based on requests from residents living along those roads. 

Roads that weren’t otherwise marked were previously assumed to have a speed limit of 55 mph according to Carter county sheriff Jeff May and county attorney Brian Bayes. This new ordinance, if passed on the next reading, will change that. In addition to setting the new speed limit on county maintained roads at 35 mph, there will be signs placed indicating there is a 25 mph speed limit on EK Mines Road, Damron Branch Road, Stan Branch Road, Dawson Branch Road, Douglas Hollow Road, and Damron Mayo Road. 

If residents of other roads want the speed limit on their roads reduced to 25 mph, they can petition the court to make the change and their roads can be added to the list in the future through an amendment to the ordinance. 

In other road news magistrates chose to abandon the process of taking Easterling Branch Road out of the county road system. A property owner on the road, who does not live on the property, had petitioned the court to begin the process of removing the road from the county road system. If the court had taken action to do so the road, and responsibility for maintaining it, would have been returned to property owners. This would allow landowners to do things like place gates across the road. However, after beginning the process property owners who actually live along the road, as well as those who use the road as a throughway to get to homes along an intersecting road, registered their displeasure with the plan. 

Judge Executive Mike Malone told Easterling Branch residents who joined the fiscal court meeting via Zoom that the court had no interest in closing the road if the residents who live on and make use of the road don’t want it closed. Malone said since only one property owner wanted the road to be closed to the public, and so many others wanted it to remain a county road, he recommended abandoning the process. 

“I don’t see any reason to go forward,” Malone said. “I suggest we abandon the process.” 

Bayes noted that there was an, “overwhelming amount of evidence” suggesting residents who use the road don’t want it closed. Rather than simply taking no further action, though, the county attorney recommended the court make a motion to terminate the process, which passed unanimously. 

In other action the court moved to accept financial statements and to approve claims and transfers, with add ons. The court also accepted the sheriff’s quarterly report, approve the sheriff’s budget amendment, and approved an amendment to the sheriff’s annual order setting maximum salaries. 

Court also heard from May on the county revenue bond. While auditors recommended the county increase their revenue bond from $300,000 to $2 million, May noted that would raise county payments on the bond from $1,500 a month to $10,000 a month. He recommended the court leave the bond as it is, which is the step magistrates took. 

In his department report May said his office has “been busy.” He said they had recently been involved in serving a warrant in conjunction with the city of Grayson. Serving that warrant resulted in the seizure of methamphetamine and a large amount of cash money, the sheriff reported. 

May said he is currently in the process of developing and setting up a program in partnership with the cities of Grayson and Olive Hill to increase drug enforcement. 

In other road news, Malone gave the court some good news from the transportation cabinet. Instead of the $115,000 the county requested in supplemental flex funding, they will be receiving $251,779 in flex funds. Malone explained the transportation cabinet told him Carter County had not been taking all the money they were entitled to. Malone told the magistrates this meant they could use additional funds to expand hot paving on roads that were already set for paving, or add new road projects within their districts. The increase results in more than $20,000 in extra road money in each district. 

If the districts want to expand their current paving project they will need to submit an amendment to the state on those projects. If they want to explore new paving opportunities on other roads they will have to submit a new proposal. 

Fiscal court also approved a request from Malone to add two tenths of a mile to cold paving on Town Branch Road, and to add a cold paving patching project on Clark Hill and another road. Court also approved the hiring of a replacement for a clerk in the county attorney’s office who has taken another job. The court also began the process of removing a portion of Church Branch Road from the county road system, and discussed a low water bridge on White Road. 

In last week’s coverage of a special session we inadvertently said magistrates would be paving around 300,000 feet of road in each district. The actual number should have been 3,000 feet, or just over half a mile per district. While we noted that each district would be paving about a half mile, that number should have been 3,000 feet. One mile is equal to 5,280 feet. 

Contact the writer at editor@ cartercountytimes.com 

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