‘Show-and-tell’ draws attention to roads
By LPR Staff
A frustrated citizen used a show-and-tell production to demonstrate what he believes to be problems with maintenance on county roads on Monday, raising both amusement and concern in Caldwell County officials.
Harry Velthoven, a Harwood-area resident, brought bags of rocks collected from Sandy Fork and Sandy Ranch Roads,
which he dumped on the floor to demonstrate what he believes to be the substandard material used by the Caldwell County Unit Road System to maintain his rural road. The rocks, he said, have caused flat tires and vehicle damage for himself and his neighbors, problems he believes the Commissioners should address.
“There are some [equipment operators] that are good, and there are some that go out there that don’t know what they’re doing,” Velthoven said. “These big rocks are at the side of the road, but when they blade the roads, they get moved back to the middle, and then they don’t pack them down.”
Velthoven said that his road should be paved, and that he would be willing to pay an annual “road tax” to help the Unit Road budget.
County Judge H.T. Wright reminded Velthoven that many county residents would like their roads to be paved, but the amount of unpaved road and the cost of materials makes that impossible.
“It costs about $70,000 to pave a mile of road,” Wright said. “And we have 450 miles of county road.”
Precinct 2 Commissioner Charles Bullock, who is actively involved with the Unit Road System, pointed out that Velterhoven’s road is not singled out, and said Unit Road does the best they can with the budget they have available.
“This has been going on for 17 years at least, and I think we do everything we can with what we’ve got,” he said. “We have to realize that when these roads were built, they weren’t built for today’s kind of traffic.”
Unit Road Administrator Dwight Jeffrey presented the Court with an extensive list of repairs and maintenance that has been done on Sandy Fork Road in the last year, and said he could send a crew to the area to “pack” the road, but that it would create a dust storm.
In other business, the Commissioners discussed an application process for the use of the Courthouse Lawn for public events.
Last month, Precinct 1 Commissioner Tom Bonn suggested restrictions should be in place for public events, in order to protect the Courthouse grounds from damage by vendor tents and litter during downtown festivals. Working with local organizations, Bonn devised an application that would limit the uses of the Courthouse Lawn, which includes items that cannot be sold by vendors and methods of erecting tents and booths.
Because some members of the Court believe the application and restrictions need more fine-tuning, the panel opted to table the measure and address it again during another meeting. However, Bernie Rangel of the Caldwell County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce noted he had been involved with the meetings to establish the regulations, and his organization was in support of the process.
In brief Court news:
The Commissioners opted to leave the outdoor burning ban in place for at least another week.
They heard an initial budget presentation from Melanie Tucker, the director for Lockhart-Caldwell County EMS and the Lockhart Animal Shelter regarding Caldwell County’s expected contributions to those services in the next fiscal year.
The Court entered an agreement with the City of Lockhart to apply for a grant for the construction of an Emergency Operations Center.
They entered an agreement with the City of Uhland for maintenance of certain roads within the Uhland City Limits.
The county paid bills in the amount of $1,104,316.40, which included a payment toward the construction of the Caldwell County Jail, and upwards of $34,000 in indigent legal defense fees.
The Caldwell County Commissioners Court meets on the second, third and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in Room 100 of the Caldwell County Courthouse. The meetings are open to the public, and citizens are invited and encouraged to attend.