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April 4, 2014

Suwannee County takes no action on vacating roads

Live Oak —

A motion that would have directed the county attorney to research laws regarding vacating some county maintained roads failed with a 4-1 vote at the Suwannee County Board of County Commissioners meeting Tuesday night. Commissioner Wesley Wainwright, who brought the idea up at a previous meeting, was the lone vote in favor. 

Wainwright noted there were many roads in his district the county is currently maintaining that were serving just one family, some two or three families. Wainwright expressed his interest in vacating those roads and turning them over to the property owners to maintain.

If a road was not determined by a process to be a county road, no action would have to be taken for the county to cease road maintenance. If by the same process a roadway was determined to be a county road, a public hearing could be required before the county could cease maintenance of it.

“I don’t wish to continue spending money to rock those roads and grade those roads. The road will still exist but the owner can take care of that road,” Wainwright said. “In the last 10 years, I have spent over $100,000 fixing driveways on our property. When I have individuals that live at the end of these roads, and wanting us to go in there and put loads of lime rock and fix the road because of inclement weather, I have a problem that they’re the only ones that are benefiting from that. It’s not right.”

In the agenda packet that was given to each commissioner prior to the meeting, County Administrator Randy Harris provided information from a resolution dated 1976 where the commissioners requested a grand jury to investigate allegations of illegal conduct and improprieties involving the Suwannee County Road Department.

According to Harris, based on their findings, the jury concluded the use of public funds for private purposes, specifically the use of county labor, equipment and materials, on private property was illegal. Examples cited by the jury included limerock and constructing private driveways; grading private driveways; and repairing private driveways. 

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