Road bumps spark fire at commission

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 15, 2004

EUTAW-Are they or aren’t they seemed to be the question of the day during the Greene County Commission meeting on Monday. Everything was going according to plan until Commissioner Donald Means asked the commission for help with the roads in the Branch Heights community and then the sparks flew for about 40 minutes.

Means said he wants the commission to work with the people of Branch Heights to help make the roads more passable for the residents. He said the roads are filled with potholes because the roads haven’t been maintained and he wants to grind the speed breakers down two to three inches.

“If we don’t help these residents, then in a few more months they will have to own a four wheel drive truck just to get to their homes,” Means said.

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Commissioner Willie Webster, after listening to Means talk about helping the residents of Branch Heights said the commission would love to help, but the cost of this project could be around $20,000 and the money just isn’t there. Means rebutted the comments from Webster and said he just wanted to spend around $2,000 and fix the potholes.

Chairman Chris Beeker Jr. said the City of Eutaw and H.U.D. (Housing Urban Development) have an agreement that once the annex takes place, the city will fix the roads.

He also said the county doesn’t even own those roads. Means rebutted his comments as well, he said the commission might say they don’t own them, but the commission has been fixing them for about 25 years.

“I just want to get some relief for the people in Branch Heights,” Means said.

Beeker said he felt uncomfortable about the situation and he wanted to wait until their legal counsel, Mary Campbell arrived to finish the conservation. After Campbell arrived to the meeting, the conversion started back and Means lashed out first.

“We for some reason we treat the people in Branch Heights different,” Means said, “There are 200 homes there, and we have paved roads that no one lives on except catfish with no problems.”

Beeker, after listening to Means said certainly there is not different treatment for the people in Branch Heights. He also said once again that he has letters from their attorney that stated these roads were not the counties responsibly, but that of HUD’s.

“After having already been sued by a resident for a pothole in the street, it makes it hard to go back because we are very cautious of another lawsuit,” Beeker said.

The look on Means’ face looked like a contestant on Let’s Make a Deal as the commissioners each took their turn weighting in on the debate. Finally after about 45 minutes of going back and forth an agreement was made.

The commission finally voted on giving the residents two days worth of roadwork to fix as many potholes and speed breakers as possible. After the vote, Means seemed satisfied with his efforts, as did the commission.