The Somervell County Commissioner’s Court held a special meeting Monday, Sept. 29, opening a discussion about subdivision roads and property near the Extension Office.
Mike Ford, commissioner of precinct 3, said he has about five miles in subdivisions to pave. He estimates it will cost about $20,000 plus labor to pave the roads, which will eat up his budget.
The issue revolves around wording that requires the county to pave subdivision roads within two years once the roads are approved.
“The way I understand it, the agreement with the developer is roads will be done within two years,” Ford said.
He would like to see the wording changed to allow the county up to four years.
Commissioner Lloyd Wirt said paved roads make it easier for developers to sell lots.
“I’m not arguing against paving the roads,” Ford said, but thought maybe they could exclude the undeveloped parts of subdivisions.
County Judge Walter Maynard was also concerned about being forced to turn down subdivisions.
“We could get to a point where we have to turn down subdivisions because we won’t have the money to pave the roads,” Maynard said.
Ford also said while construction in the area may be in a lull, the Texas economy remains strong and he would like to address the issue by looking forward to continued growth.
“I’m not wanting to press the issue, just open the conversation. If we don’t extend the time frame, then we may have to raise taxes to pay for road materials,” Ford said.
No immediate action was taken and Ford said in a follow-up interview that residents are not facing immediate tax increases.
“No one wants to raise taxes or pay more taxes,” Ford said.
But he said the county is facing a difficult situation. With the rising costs of petroleum based paving products, he said they might be forced to consider giving up other services or increase taxes.
“I can’t let my other existing roads deteriorate to pave new roads,” Ford said. “If we have a little more leeway in our road budgets then we may potentially be able to avoid those situations.”
Commissioner’s decided to remove a Performance Bonding Procedure for subdivisions. Article 5 of the subdivision rules required developers to secure bonding, but Ford pointed out that the court did not adhere to it. He felt subsequent procedures nullified the rule. The article was dropped by a 4-0 vote.
A new rule may be added to the subdivision rulebook requiring county roads to be numbered. The court felt that naming the roads made it more difficult for EMS to find houses during emergencies. Darlene Chambers also told the court that it made voter registration more difficult.
County roads have historically only been given numbers, but it is not stipulated in the rules. Commissioners will look at adopting and implementing the rule.
Commissioners discussed the possibility of expanding the Extension Office lot. Christine Jurzyowski owns the land adjacent to the lot.
A representative for Jurzyowski said she would most likely agree to sell the lot at a fair and reasonable price.
The court asked if she would be willing to trade-in-kind for the land, but she said she would need to know what properties the court had in mind.
The issue was tabled until the court could evaluate all options and have the land in question appraised.