Driveway issues concern commission

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 13, 2005

MARENGO COUNTY-For the most part, the story following Hurricane Dennis’s path through the Black Belt has been one of a quick recovery. However, there are some who may feel the wrath of the storm for some time to come.

During the heavy rains and high winds that came with Dennis on his Sunday journey serious damage to private dirt roads and driveways were the end result. While most public roads have been repaired or are on schedule to be repaired very soon, private drives will not be so fortunate.

The problem is that law forbids county officials to repair private roads that have not been deeded to the county. The expensive repairs and extensive damages have left some unable to travel these paths.

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Marengo County Commission Chairman Freddie Armstead asked Monday of there was anything the commission could do to help within the law.

“These people don’t have any way of doing anything,” Armstead said. “I went into the Landfill Road and it is washing out. There is no way they are going to be able to get that road. They can’t get out and they can’t go up the bank.”

The initial hope was that the commission could do a one time cleanup when they had caught up on other projects, however, they were advised by county attorney Woodie Dinning this would not be legal and were forced to abandon this plan.

Armstead and the commission continued to put their thoughts together on what could be done. However, strict laws left very limited avenues as to how they could assist. Armstead said there was no doubt the people were in need of some kind of help.

“The people need help because it is washed out,” Armstead said. “They need help.”

Commissioner Ken Tucker said the body as a whole would love to be able to help, but their hands were tied legally in this particular situation.

“I think everyone in this room wants to help out if we can,” Tucker said. “But as a government entity we can’t break the law.”

The commission and attorney decided to research the situation further and discuss a possible solution. However, between the strict laws and delicate situation help from the county may not be an option.