The Union Recorder

September 18, 2013

Worst county dirt roads prioritized for repair

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — The Baldwin County Board of Education buses and homeowners struggle with conditions on numerous Baldwin County dirt roads.

During Tuesday's regular Baldwin County Commissioners meeting, the board established the top-five problem roads for improvement as funds become available.

Commissioners reviewed county dirt road statistics on the 10 worst roads. The spreadsheet featured the number of home sites, work orders filed in the last five years and the length of each.

Lumpkin Road reigns supreme with 20 homes and 109 work orders requested for a 1.63-mile stretch.

Starting with Lumpkin at the top, the board then selected Sibley, Moran Springs, Avery Store and Stallings Road in that order. 

“We aren't guaranteeing these roads are going to be fixed. It's just where we are going to start as the money is available,” Commissioner Sammy Hall, District 3, said.

County Manager Ralph McMullen said the county is soliciting unit price bids due Oct. 14 to make the roads “all-weather.”

“We'd like to get one or two of these roads done this year,” McMullen said. “It's all based on finances, but we do need to try and get the major ones.”

Commissioners will decide when to start on the needy dirt roads at the next October meeting after prices come back.

According to County Engineer Brian Wood, the solution includes having an outside contractor come in and reshape the roads, placing a decent base and gravel down. The dirt roads' crowns require a boost.

A contractor told Wood in August repairs to the one-mile Sibley roadway near $50,000. County Public Works could haul rock and dirt to get that cost down, according to McMullen.

n Automatic fire aid agreement with Hancock County a possibility

A Baldwin and Hancock County Fire Rescue Automatic Aid Agreement could become reality.

McMullen told the board that “Area 9,” covering the eastern portion of Baldwin across the Oconee River, property owners face high insurance premiums. An automatic aid contract would reduce the homeowners' cost on both sides.

Baldwin County Fire Rescue Chief Troy Reynolds said the economic times and technology changed the way insurance companies assess their fees. 

“At lot of residents were getting a Class 6 rating because they lived in Baldwin County. Once they determined they lived outside of a five-mile radius, that puts them in a Class 10 rating like there is no fire department response,” Reynolds said. “It's going to benefit both counties. They are anticipating an agreement.”

An Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating drop from Class 10 to Class 6 equates to about a 30 percent savings, according to Reynolds.

County Attorney David McRee drafted a final proposal for the discussed Automatic Aid Agreement.

Both Hancock and Baldwin County boards must approve the agreement to move forward. Once ISO passes the collaborative, the information travels to insurance providers then trickles to happier homeowners.

Reynolds said his department already responses to the Hancock area per request.

“We are probably looking at a once or twice a year occurrence,” the fire chief said.

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