House numbers needed

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By John Overby

There was a full agenda lined up for this past Monday’s meeting of the Washington County fiscal court.

One item of business dealt with a recent meeting that County Judge-Executive John Settles had with the three town mayors of the county (Carl Gabhart – Mackville, Pat Kirsch – Willisburg and John Cecconi – Springfield).

Settles noted several different topics that the group discussed, including an update on the proposed joint letter about the lack of property numbers on both buildings (residential and commercial) and mailboxes in the county.

This issue was most recently brought before the attention of the court during this year’s April 14 meeting.

In that meeting, Springfield Postmaster Trae Purdom was in attendance to help the court find a solution to this growing issues throughout the county, which has caused problems for many county entities, including the fire department and EMT units.

“It would only take one time of the ambulance not being able to find your house to really drive that point home,” Purdom said in that meeting. “This is a very important thing.”

Settles noted that, in addition to the general safety concerns involved with the issue, there was also a countywide ordinance established in 1991 requiring that everyone have their property numbers posted within 30 days of being issued one.

According to the law, anyone who is not compliant after 30 days can be issued a $10-a-day fine until the matter is resolved.

Settles then stated that it “is an ordinance that we are bound by law to uphold unless we change the ordinance.”

The idea that Purdom brought to the floor in that April meeting was one that was successful in Marion County recently. He said that the Marion postmaster sent a joint notification letter with the city and county instructing residents to start putting up property numbers.

Purdom then said he would be willing to join the judge and the three town mayors in an effort to raise awareness about the law throughout the county.

All magistrates agreed upon this course of action.

In Settles’ meeting with the three mayors, Settles addressed the court’s concern and asked for the mayors’ cooperation in signing the letter, which they all agreed upon.

Once the letter is finished (Settles said it should be completed before the end of this month), mail carriers will deliver a copy to each property that does not have a properly posted number.

If there is no correction in a short time after the deliverance of the initial letter, Settles expects another letter to go out before the noncompliant addresses are collected and given to the proper authorities to collect the specified fines.

Settles hopes that it does not come to this, however.

“We don’t want to be too heavy-handed, but we want to encourage them to do it for their own safety,” Settles said. “We don’t want it to come to the fines.”

Another issue discussed by Settles and the mayors dealt with a new state law that states that every municipality now needs an electrical inspector contract.

Settles offered to include each municipality on Washington County’s current electrical inspector contract. All three mayors agreed to this proposal.

No changes were made to the contract other than the addition of the three municipalities.

Other notes:
District 4 Magistrate Morris Sweazy, who was a part of the interviewing committee, made a motion to hire Ricky Hamilton for the full-time dual position of dead animal removal and transfer station manager/operator. The motion was passed unanimously.

The small bridge on Mackville Texas Road, located around the 2.65-mile point northeast of Hwy. 150, that was recently closed was opened in time to allow access for school buses at the start of school.

The deck was poured on July 29, the walls were poured on July 30 and the floor was poured on August 1. The court wanted to ensure the completion of repairs as close to the beginning of school as possible when the issue was first brought before the court.

The open position in the solid waste department remains open after the review of all current applicants. One candidate that was considered for the job said that they could not do it at the advertised salary and another was eliminated because they are closely related to an elected official, which was a violation of the county’s Code of Ethics. It was recommended that the search to fill the opening be re-advertised, which the court approved.

Chamber of Commerce president John Weis was present at the meeting to request the $2,500 that the county allocates in the budget each year for the newly renamed Sorghum Festival. The motion by District 5 Magistrate Billy Riney, Jr. to approve the request was unanimously passed.

All magistrates were in attendance. The next regularly scheduled court meeting is Friday, Aug. 22.