Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 22, 2017

County waits another week for signs to come down

By DIANE VANCE | Feb 13, 2013

The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors had planned to sign an updated 28E Agreement with Maharishi Vedic City Monday about maintenance of roads, but put it off another week.

One of the stipulations Supervisor Dick Reed had voiced to signing the new agreement was for previously erected speed limit signs not installed by the county to be taken down.

County Engineer Scott Cline and supervisor Becky Schmitz each reported seeing the signs still in place. Schmitz said she counted three speed limit signs.

Nancy Watkins, city attorney for Maharishi Vedic City, said the city council had considerable discussion about the signs at a meeting Friday. She noted the city’s economic development director Kent Boyum, Mayor Bob Wynne and some council members are out of the country for a few weeks.

Watkins apologized for the signs not being taken down.

She said the stop sign at 170th Street, traveling east approaching Iris Avenue, is covered up.

“I counted three speed limit signs and one more sign advising a reduced speed zone,” that were installed by Maharishi Vedic City, said Watkins.

Cline said the posts holding the signs also need to be taken down because they were not installed properly and could present a hazard and a liability. The county-installed road signs are designed to snap off at the bottom if impacted.

Supervisor chairman Lee Dimmitt said the liability issue concerns him and the county should not wait on the city.

“Those signs need to come down,” said Dimmitt.

Watkins said she would ask the one person able to do the job and still in town to take down the signs.

“Let’s give the county engineer direction to take the signs down if they are not already down by Thursday,” said Reed. “We’ll check with the county attorney [about the county’s authority to remove the signs]. We’ll give you to Thursday afternoon and on Friday, we’ll move forward. I think that’s more than lenient.”

Watkins said another issue emerged at the city council meeting Friday.

“The signs on Jasmine Avenue were installed after discussions with the previous [county] engineer, Tom [Goff] and some of the supervisors,” she said.

“I was not the city attorney then, but I’m told the signs were coordinated through discussions and planning with the county.”

Audience members, including Jack Ritz, a resident near the city, disagreed that previous supervisors ever took formal action at a board meeting to approve those road signs.

“We also discussed maps and whether house numbers for 911 and emergency calls show specific house and street names,” said Watkins.

She showed a map of Maharishi Vedic City and said a copy had previously been given to Jefferson County Law Enforcement Center.

Supervisors advised Watkins another copy should be provided to the county ambulance service, since it is a separate entity and in the past few months it has changed providers to an out of town company. Watkins agreed to provide the map to the ambulance service.

“The city council would like to see how funding flows through,” said Watkins. “What are the costs for maintenance, snow removal, and other break-downs of costs?”

Since the population of Maharishi Vedic City increased, the state directly pays road funds to the city where before, and for smaller incorporated towns in the county, the state pays the county, which the county then shares.

Now, with state funds going into the city, Maharishi Vedic City pays the county a portion for road maintenance.

“Our annual budget shows the average cost to maintain county roads, times the number of miles [of county roads in Maharishi Vedic City],” said Cline. “We have no further break-down of costs.”

In other business:

• Schmitz reported attending a committee meeting for the ambulance service agency.

“I heard some concerns from law enforcement, hospital representatives and about 20 people because the ambulance service was not used to handling such incidents as the three-fatality vehicle accident [in December],” she said.

“Another issue which came up is whether the fire department will respond to every accident. That’s scheduled for further discussions.”

• Dimmitt said the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Natural Resources representatives attending a Rural Utility Service Systems training meeting for new board members, praised RUSS and Bruce’s [Hudson, executive director] management.


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