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By KEN MILAM
POTEAU – Several residents attended the county commissioners meeting Monday to complain about the poor state of Latham Road.
Jesse L. Owen presented a letter he said he was sending to Gov. Kevin Stitt asking for an investigation into the situation.
Commission Chairman Craig Olive said he thought the letter was “slanderous” and he didn’t appreciate the thing implied in it. “You’re going at this thing the wrong way,” he said.
Owen said heavy trucks have damaged the road for years and suggested commissioners should force the haulers to put up a bond to help cover the cost of repairing the road.
Commissioners said they have no legal authority to do that, but state legislators might.
Other residents complained that truck drivers pay no attention to speed limits and often force other drivers off the road, and complained there is no enforcement of the traffic laws.
Sheriff Rodney Derryberry said he would increase patrols in the area.
In response to a question, County Clerk Kelli Ford said federal funds for COVID relief cannot be used for road and bridge maintenance.
She also said in response to the statement, “We pay our taxes,” that county roads and bridges are paid for with highway fuel taxes allotted by the state. Residents’ property taxes go to schools.
Commissioner Cody Covey, who represents the district where the road is located, said he had repeatedly tried to make repairs but lack of funds and poor weather have conspired to make the task more difficult.
In other action, commissioners approved property and liability insurance coverage for 2021-22 by the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma for $399, 814. Ford said the amount was about $1,000 less than last year and would be paid in two installments of $199,907.
A pay estimate of $153,697 from Robinson Construction was approved for work on the Conser Road project. A lease agreement with Bruckner’s Trucking for $125,269 was approved for a new truck for District 3.
Bids for publication of Commissioners Proceedings were tabled for closer examination. The Spiro Graphic bid 75 cents per column inch with a maximum of $105 per page and the Poteau Daily News bid 75 cents per inch and $114 per page.
Commissioners approved a resolution not to advertise for monthly fuel price bids because of the market volatility, and seek phone bids as needed.
No bids were received for overhead doors for the Summerfield Fire Department.
Renae Ehler of American Trustee Inc. spoke to commissioners about supplemental insurance, saying her company shops for different options for counties. She said she would speak with various department heads about their needs and the options available.
A tort claim submitted by Charles Laney was forwarded to ACCO, the county’s insurance representative. The claim says a county dump truck turned too sharply and clipped Laney’s vehicle.
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