By Toni Stauffer
During the Russell County commission meeting on Sept. 26, commissioners discussed gas taxes and a road “limiting.”
The Commission approved the extension on the date for removing County Road 49 from the truck route to Jan. 1, which will give timber companies more time to negotiate contracts. After Jan. 1, the road will be closed to big trucks. Commissioner Screws requested that the Sheriff monitor the road and lower the truck speed limit to 45 until Jan. 1 for safety reasons, since the road will be in the process of being re-patched before then.
Commissioner Chance Corbett brought up the Sept. 12 request by Hurtsboro Mayor Vivian Covington for Hurtsboro to return to receiving a gas tax from Russell County. Corbett referenced a related article that appeared in the Sept. 19 issue of The Citizen, which revealed that the Russell County Commission determined no gas tax was owed to Hurtsboro; in fact, Russell County had been paying the gas tax in error for many years. While the Commission voted to end that practice since no law exists that requires Russell County to pay gas tax to Hurtsboro, it also decided not to pursue reimbursement from Hurtsboro for the monies lost to the state since it was an error.
Corbett brought up a point he felt had been missed at the last meeting regarding the matter. “Per Commissioner Screws’ request, we helped pave a road for Hurtsboro – a truck route. The road was in terrible condition, and the county paid a lot more than Hurtsboro. It was the agreement that they were going to pay us back with their gas tax until it was paid off, so I don’t know why the mayor was here in a public forum complaining about gas tax money when that money was supposed to be coming back to the county anyway to pay for that road.”
Corbett went on to say that he respected Mayor Covington and regretted that she wasn’t at the meeting. Commissioner Screws said he thought the money to pay for the road was based on the $10 tag fee and thought the mayor may have been confused because of that. The Commission decided to research previous minutes for clarification at a later date.