Landowner wants ticket forgiven for mess on road

Fuel costs continue to wreck county budget

Staff reporter

Doug Sharp addressed Marion County Commission Monday regarding recent issues associated with unintentional dumping on Nighthawk Road.

At last week's commission meeting, Marion County Sheriff Lee Becker reported that contractors were hauling manure to a field and when the trucks returned to the county road, there was mud and manure on the roadway that came from the trucks' tires.

Sharp said the field was owned by Scully Estates of which he is an employee. The manure was being delivered to the field, Sharp said, because the cost of fertilizer has become expensive and he was developing an organic field.

He showed the commission copies of scale tickets that showed the sub-contractors' trucks were not overweight.

"The guys driving the trucks should have noticed the mud coming off the tires," Sharp said but it was no worse than when other agriculture producers do the same thing.

"They were sub-contractors for a manure spreading company. I feel they ought to have some slack cut," Sharp said. "We (Scully Estates) pay a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year in taxes. We're not trying to cause any problems."

Commissioner Randy Dallke said the commission was concerned about the safety issue.

County emergency management director Michelle Abbott-Becker said from her department's position, it's the liability of the person who put the material on the road.

"While I was sitting there, I saw drivers having to nearly stop while driving through because it was slick," she said. Abbott-Becker continued that it was a "drizzly" day and the majority of the material on the road was mud with some manure.

She continued that when her office receives a complaint, it is up to the operator to clear the roadway and the owner ultimately is responsible.

The commission advised Sharp to talk to county attorney Susan Robson.

Later in the meeting acting public works director John Summerville told the commission that there was $422 in damages to the county road.

In other business:

— Transport fuel bids hit another new high with $27,059 being the low bid from Cardie Oil Company of Tampa for 6,000 gallons of diesel and 2,000 gallons of unleaded fuel at an approximate average of $3.42 for diesel and $3.011 for unleaded.

Cooperative Grain and Supply of Hillsboro also presented a bid of $27,365 for the same amount of fuel.

The commission told Summerville that his department needed to find ways to cut fuel consumption.

Because of high fuel prices, a surcharge will be charged when the county hauls rock as requested by residents for low-maintenance or dirt roads. Summerville will use the same formula that Robinson Trucking uses in charging the county for solid waste hauling.

— More information will be gathered before the commission determines which roads will be overlaid this summer. With rising fuel costs, only half as many miles of roads can be resurfaced.