County Commission: Co. Rd. 824 private

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Lawsuit may follow

By Deborah Goodwin

The Selma Times-Journal

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That was the atmosphere at Monday’s county commission meeting.

The “public or private” status of County Road 824 was on the Sept. 25 commission meeting agenda. After discussing the issue, the commission agreed that county attorney John Kelly III would draft a written statement on behalf of the commissioners – with the exception of Kim Ballard who is abstaining from the issue being that his opponent in the Probate Judge election, Brock Wells, is a property owner on that road – stating that it is their determination that County Road 824 is a private road based on the evidence received.

County Road 824 resident Susan Smith attended the meeting and questioned the Commission about the recorded minutes of the Sept. 25 meeting.

“I just don’t think that accurately depicts what happened in here two weeks ago,” Smith said.

“If I didn’t know what was going on, I’d have no idea what that (the minutes) was talking about.”

“I think what’s important is what this opinion of order reads – what this commission decides – and that’s what that’s for,” Judge Johnny Jones said.

After the minutes were read, Kelly read the determination portion of the document, which he drafted on the county commission’s behalf.

“At some prior time, Dallas County Road 824 may have acquired the status of a public road … County Road 824 has lost its public status by virtue it’s not in use by members of the public … Dallas County Commission determines public usage of County Road 824 has been abandoned by members of the public and has acquired the status of private roadway,” Kelly read.

The Commission unanimously agreed that the submitted statement was the consensus of the commission.

Smith challenged the wording of the written statement.

“I’m opposed the word “may” have acquired,” Smith said.

“That’s not what he said two weeks ago.

He said that it “was” a public road and had been accepted as such.

He didn’t say that it “may” have been a public road.

He said that it was. And I think your order should reflect what he said.”

“That was not the issue,” Kelly said.

“Has it been for the immediately preceding 20-year period.

That was the issue.”

In the Sept. 25 meeting, Smith told the commission that she planned to take the matter “to a higher court.”

In a different matter, two members of Alcoholics Anonymous came before the commission with a dispute they are having with Narcotics Anonymous.

The groups are disputing over disruptions during their meetings in the area in which they meet.

“I don’t want to be in anybody’s controversy,” one of the women said.

“We’ll get a resolution to this,” Jones said.

As this issue could not be resolved at Monday’s meeting because it was not on the agenda, Jones said the issue would be “put on the agenda for next meeting.”

In further preparation for hurricane season, Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director Brett Howard reported FEMA will meet with the EMA on Wednesday, Oct. 11 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Proper reimbursement for volunteer fire departments during disastrous situations will also be discussed.

Howard also reported that emergency exercises at Bloch Park went well on Saturday.

He also stated that as a result of the exercise, they found that there is not an evacuation plan for Bloch Park or emergency lighting.

“The city of Selma is now working on an evacuation plan for Bloch Park.”

Commissioner Connell Towns thanked Financial Director Nancy Wilson and the EMA for their hard work during the process of getting the storm shelter in Selmont.

There will be a celebration in Selmont at 3 p.m. Saturday at 2531 Brown Street.

Towns also reported Selmont is in the process of forming a Neighborhood Watch program.

A member of the Selmont community was present at the meeting with a petition from every resident on her street to install speed bumps.

In other business:

Budget amendments for September were approved.

The cell phone contract to increase share minutes per month from 2,200 to 2,500, which is a $50 per month increase.

A $466 contract with the Department of Youth Services was approved.

Three invoices for city projects were approved – one for the Wagon Wheel Extension Project #CYSFPF05001and two for Road Paving Project #CYCMPF05006.

The tentative holiday schedule prepared by Human Resource Director Brenda Wood was approved.