Supervisors confront Vedic City about control of county roads
Jefferson County engineer Scott Cline told the board of supervisors Wednesday, “Maharishi Vedic City seems to be under the impression it has jurisdiction of county roads and is responsible for traffic control.
“I had a phone conversation with officials at Vedic City and it was requested the board of supervisors discuss the current 28E agreement between the county and Vedic City,” he said.
“They are not disputing we have a maintenance agreement on through roads and county roads — we share costs and responsibilities,” said Cline. “If we are responsible for the roads, we should be responsible for maintaining road signs. Any speed changes need to go through the supervisors.”
Supervisor Dick Reed said Maharishi Vedic City had installed six stop signs on 170th Street, and another eight-to-10 speed limit signs of 35 mph, when the posted speed limit according to Jefferson County is 55 mph.
“We didn’t get any notification of the speed change, nor did law enforcement,” said Reed.
After visiting with officials in Maharishi Vedic City, all the signs except two stop signs were removed, said Reed.
“We need to sit down with city officials,” he said. “Until that time, or until a new 28E agreement is signed, they can’t put up new stop signs or speed limit signs.”
Cline said if new traffic control signs are installed, advance-warning signs also should be installed to inform drivers of the change.
Maharishi Vedic City also installed a sign with a name change for Iris Avenue — changed to Invincible America Avenue at its intersection with 170th Street, said supervisors chairman Steve Burgmeier.
“I don’t know if they went through the 911 system, which is required, but that sign also has been taken down,” he said.
Reed said the matter has been forwarded to the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office for review.
Supervisor Lee Dimmitt said the county maintains the road and provides law enforcement, “the liability issue concerns me.
“Changing road names can impact emergency services,” he said.
Burgmeier said it has to be the 911 system that changes road names, and installing stops signs requires a resolution by the board of supervisors.
“Irregardless of what the city council did, we still have a 28E agreement in force,” he said.
Cline said the county should be the one to put up traffic control signs, as it is responsible to maintain county roads.
“Can the county do a traffic study evaluation or does it take a third party?” asked Reed.
Cline said the county could do a traffic study or count.
“If the county feels everything is running smoothly, why should the county incur the expense of a study?” asked Dimmitt.
The supervisors agreed the board and Vedic City council need to meet.
“But you need to take care of any safety issues immediately,” Burgmeier told Cline.
Time transfer request
Jefferson County Public Health administrator Chris Estle asked the supervisors to consider a time off from work issue not addressed in the employees’ handbook.
“I’m asking if an employee can transfer their own time off or sick days to another employee,” she said.
Burgmeier said they’d had this conversation before.
“How does the paperwork get handled? Who keeps track?” he asked.
Reed said the question seemed like it should be a one-time situation and any discussion would need to be based on treating all employees equally.
“We had this discussion when re-doing the handbook [this summer],” said Dimmitt. ‘We went through the handbook and made a decision not to have this policy.”
Estle said she felt employees didn’t have a voice in re-doing the handbook.
“I’m asking for an individual exception to be able to transfer hours to an employee who will use up time off due to a medical situation,” she said. “I’ll take it to my own board [board of public health] — it has set its own policy before.”
Burgmeier said if the policy is to be changed, the handbook should be changed; the policy should not be decided on a one-by-one basis.
“My recommendation to you is do your one-time thing and then in a year, when the handbook comes back up, look at changing it,” said Reed.
Dimmitt reiterated the supervisors had made a decision at the time of updating the handbook.
Reed asked for a vote to allow an employee to voluntarily transfer time off to another employee in need of time off. Dimmitt and Burgmeier voted no, defeating the motion.
Estle left the meeting, saying she would ask her board to allow the time transfer.
Diane Rosenberg, in the audience to hear the supervisors score a Master Matrix submitted by KK Finisher, spoke up about Estle’s request during public comments.
“Our society is not going in the direction of health,” she said. “You have a woman trying to take care of her employees, and those employees benefit from it. It seems the county would also benefit. It would do better to help people when it doesn’t hurt others. It’s a good thing to do for the employee and the county.”
Dimmitt said the county taxpayers provide 12 sick days annually above and beyond vacation days and holidays for employees.
At a previous meeting, Cline had brought three quotes to purchase a new passenger vehicle for his department. The lowest bid, $30,005, had been from outside Jefferson County and supervisors urged him to re-visit the local dealer and see what could be offered.
Wednesday, Cline said Fesler Auto Mall would take $300 off its original quote, for a $30,982 price on a pickup truck with specific features Cline asked for.
Reed said he’d prefer to deal with a county dealer, spending the money and paying sales tax in Jefferson County, even if the bid was a little higher.
“The concern Chad [secondary roads department employee] has is that vendors won’t bid because there’s not much competition because they know Jefferson County likes to use local vendors,” said Burgmeier.
Reed said other vendors still have the opportunity to submit bids.
“I always believe in spending locally and spending this particular amount does not require a bid,” said Reed.
The supervisors approved Cline purchasing the truck from Fesler Auto Mall on a 2-1 vote; Burgmeier voted no.