After some protest by county residents and holding a jury of view, Somervell County commissioners unanimously adopted the County Road Map in accordance with the Texas Transportation Code.
The County Road Map contains a full and complete list of all county roads maintained by Somervell County, and prior to its adoption, residents were given the opportunity to contest the public status of the roads depicted on the County Road Map.
On April 23, the county held a public meeting with a jury of view, presided over by attorney Robert Bass, to consider the protests filed by Patricia Hart and James and Karen Uehlein.
In their protest the party contended that CR 411 depicted in the proposed County Road Map had not been properly maintained by the county and should not be included in the County Road Map.
The jury of view, comprised of Curtis Busch, Frank Barrow, Windell Rozelle, John Joslin and Mike Dooley, all appointed by county commissioners from their respected precincts, heard evidence in last week’s public hearing and determined that CR 411 should be retained in the County Road Map.
According to the court’s order, the jury of view, “upon satisfactory evidence that Somervell County has in fact maintained the road in question for a period of time prior to 1981 to the present” voted to keep CR 411 in the County Road Map.
County officials began the process of adopting a County Road Map by providing a preliminary draft for the public to inspect at the county clerk’s office on Dec. 1, 2007.
Shortly after the proposed County Road Map was posted for the public to view, Hart submitted a letter to county commissioners on Dec. 18 regarding her intent to protest the preliminary map.
In her letter, Hart says she states her intent “to protest the county claim of public interest in the portion of county road 411 roadway currently upon my land.”
“It is my express wish that the county cease all maintenance attempts of the road surface and any adjacent surface areas,” Hart writes. “Further, it is my request that the county close county road 411 to public access at the eastern boundary of our property.”
Hart also claims she had no intention or desire to gain a warranty deed to Somervell County for the property located in the right-of-way of CR 411.
A public hearing for county residents was held on Feb. 13, and at that time county commissioners received several written and verbal objections challenging the county’s claim of a right to maintain the roads outlined in the proposed County Road Map.
Due to the protests, commissioners were required to appoint a jury of view and set a date for a hearing at which time the members unanimously voted to keep CR 411 under county maintenance.
With the jury’s verdict, commissioners unanimously to approve the order on Monday, April 28.
“Those of you that were around for the jury of view, the only road we had maintained that received some protest will continue to be maintained since it was a county road prior to 1981,” said County Judge Walter Maynard.
In other business, commissioners approved the purchase of a new John Deere 5325 utility tractor and a John Deere 609 heavy duty rotary cutter for the county’s road and bridge department.
Commissioner Mike Ford offered the motion to OK the $25,471.50 purchase, with a second by Commissioner Zach Cummings which received unanimous approval by the court.
The county leaders also approved the relocation of the local emergency management offices to the courthouse annex from the county owned Hill College and Economic Development Corporation’s offices off of Bo Gibbs Drive.
Judge Maynard said he recommended the move in order for the emergency management coordinator to be in close proximity to other county leaders by relocating the staff.
“From the emergency management standpoint, I’d like them to be closer to my office and all five of us,” said Maynard. “I know it’s going to be a little more cramped but I think it will be sufficient.”
Maynard added that the move was necessary in order to be in compliance with state requirements for Hill College’s nursing school. “The state has been saying they’ve (Hill College) got to have more room. We talked about adding space but I think this (move) is the most cost effective.”
On Monday, commissioners also took action to approve a measure allowing Darlene Chambers and Yolanda Reynolds to attend the annual election law seminar, Aug. 5-8. The court also took action to approve commissioners’ attendance to the Texas Association of Counties’ Annual Conference, Aug. 27-29 in Austin.