Public crews will stop private work

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 21, 2003

Tucker spoke to the weekly meeting of the Demopolis Rotary Club Wednesday at Almo’s Dining Restaurant.

A lawsuit was brought against the county by Commissioner Freddie Armstead seeking to end the practice of county crews working on private property. This practice had been legal due to a local act passed years ago by the legislature.

The county fought the lawsuit because three commissioners (Max Joiner, George Baldwin and former commissioner Charles Moore) wanted to keep the local act enforced, Tucker said. He estimated that the attorney fees to fight the lawsuit were $2,000.

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There are approximately 640 miles of county roads, Tucker said. Three hundred-and-forty miles are paved. A map will be created by County Engineer Ken Atkins with input from each commissioner to specify what roads or public and private. Tucker estimated that the county will save $300 to $500,000 a year that will go back to payoff debt in the Road and Bridge Department.

A road is not public just because a school bus or mail service travels on it, he said. A road is not public just because the county works on it.

There are three ways a road becomes public. "It is built by the county for a public purpose," Tucker said. "Second, the road is deeded by the landowners and accepted by resolution in a formal county commission meeting.

Tucker said there are a lot of private roads that have been maintained by the county acting under the local legislative act. "When the local act goes away (May 1), all those years of the county maintaining goes away.

Private citizens will also no longer be able to buy road paving materials such as gravel from the county, Tucker said.