In a seemingly simple matter of the county caring for a road that serves several Jefferson Township families, one resident may have taken things a bridge too far for the commissioners' comfort.
Currently, the Putnam County Highway Department maintains approximately 0.4 miles of County Road 475 East to the south of U.S. 40 in Jefferson Township. A group of residents, with Jeff Beggs as their spokesman, appealed to the Putnam County Commissioners on Monday to extend the distance the county maintains another 0.2 miles to the road's dead end.
Beggs explained that six families live on past the stretch maintained by the county and that the path has become nearly impassible.
County Highway representatives said the addition of approximately 1,000 feet to the county's care would not be a problem, saying highway trucks already drive this stretch of road in order to turn around at the end.
With the recommendation of the highway department and the knowledge that six families would be served at limited additional expense to the county, all three commissioners seemed ready to approve the measure, with Gene Beck even making a motion to add the road to the county inventory.
However, all of the county officials balked at the idea when an unnamed neighbor spoke up, asking if the county could begin maintaining a wooden bridge at the road's end, across which several of the families live.
The prospects of taking over the privately-built wooden structure -- technically only long enough to be a culvert by state standards -- seemed to make all three commissioners and highway co-supervisors Jim Smith and Clint Maddox nervous.
Smith suggested having the structure inspected before agreeing to anything. He expressed doubt it would meet the specifications for a county bridge.
With Beck's motion never withdrawn from the table, the issue was halted in its tracks. The county will have the bridge inspected, and the commissioners will reconsider what to do after inspection.
The possibility exists of approval with or without the bridge as part of the plan.
In other business:
* The commissioners received an update on the contractors being considered for the Edgelea road project. Four contractors submitted their qualifications to the county in February. These were turned over to Edgelea's committee, which has narrowed the consideration down to DLZ and BLN Consulting.
The committee will interview representatives from both companies on Monday, March 12 before making a final choice for project, which has been estimated at a $1.45 million price tag. The homeowners of the subdivision will pay 75 percent of the cost, with the county covering the other quarter.
* The commissioners approved the donation of a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria from the Putnam County Sheriff's Department to the Fillmore Police Department.
* A debate continues about the future of the Floyd Township Fire District Board. Questions remain about how many members should be on the board and the length of terms on the board.
The procedural questions were brought to County Attorney Scott Hoff at the Feb. 6 commissioners meeting, and he is still awaiting a decision from the Attorney General's Office on the issue.
Besides the questions about board size and terms, though, the board also seems to be deeply divided, with members of the Floyd Township Fire Department unhappy with the decisions of at least two of the five members.
The issues have brought a few tense moments to the commissioners meetings between Floyd Township Assistant Chief Roger Wright and Beck, a Floyd Township resident himself.
Wright said Monday the department had some recommendations for new board members.
"I have some people I'm interested in putting on there (the board)," Beck said.
"That's why I'm here, Gene. Your appointments haven't worked out too well," Wright said.
The issue remains unresolved until Hoff has the Attorney General's opinion.