Residents upset over lack of road maintenance

By Daniel Brunty
The Choctaw Plaindealer

Residents of Choctaw County’s District 4 are expressing concerns regarding their roads, and made their concerns felt during the Choctaw County Board of Supervisors meeting held on June 22 at the Choctaw County Courthouse Boardroom.

These residents had similar concerns when they attended the Choctaw County Board of Supervisors meeting on February 28, 2014. Speaking for the group was resident Hank Dempsey, who has stated numerous times that he has discussed the issue with current District 4 Supervisor David Carter, as well as the previous supervisors of that district.

Dempsey and around 15-20 residents of Fentress-Panhandle Road, Spay Road, and Whitmire Road were present at the meeting. Carter was not present at the meeting because of a prescheduled event.
The meeting began with the approval of the agenda. After, Board President Chris McIntire asked for Dempsey to address the board regarding the group’s concerns.

Dempsey began by discussing his last visit to the board, and asked the same question he did during that meeting. “Where was our tax money appropriated to fix our roads?”

Dempsey continued by asking about qualifications of a supervisor, as well as explaining what previous supervisors of that district had done to the roads. He stated that the roads had been paved in some areas, while some areas were still gravel road. “We got ditches in the highway now, where the water just washed it away,” Dempsey stated.

Dempsey explained to the supervisors how he felt that promises were made and they have not been kept. “He (Carter) told me at that other meeting if you give me four years I will have those roads sealed and fixed,” Dempsey said. “And you remember what I told him? In four years you won’t be here because everybody gets in, they make promises and tell what they are going to do. And we are on the end of the road and we get the short end of the stick. It has been like that for years.”

He continued. “We had pretty decent roads when we had gravel roads. The worst thing that we ever had is when they come paved this in sections,” Dempsey said.

Dempsey explained how the work being done to the road is not satisfactory, stating that the potholes and other areas are not being properly filled, with some holes not being fixed at all.

Other residents had concerns regarding services of the county they stated they were denied. One resident stated that she had livestock that had died, and called Carter and his workers to remove the animal. She stated that no one showed up to remove the carcass, and her kids had to watch the animal rot in their yard.

She also stated that she was having issues with a bus turnaround in her yard. She stated that she could not get any assistance for her driveway by Carter or his workers until she made a video recording of the actual bus in her driveway causing damage to it.

A number of other residents complained how their vehicles were being damaged by the conditions of the roads. Many stated that they are replacing tires on their cars at an abnormal rate, while one resident of the road said her back windshield of her vehicle was damaged by a huge chunk of brick.

Others complained about damages to their yards when workers come out to clean their culverts, while others asked the supervisors that were present about the steps needed to impeach a supervisor from their position.

Dempsey stated that work that is being done to the roads is minimal and not done correctly. “I asked Carter, we have 50 yards of pavement, then 50 yards of dug up mess,” Dempsey stated. “How can you fix it? You can’t grade it, and you tell me you do not have the money to fill the holes. Then you come in here and keep throwing that stuff in the holes, and the next week it has fallen out. I told him why you don’t just turn it all back to dirt so you can start building you a foundation so you can grade it and least keep it smooth. He said he could not do that. I asked him why not. He said because we have people on Spay Road who do not want dust in their house.”

Dempsey then turned to the crowd of residents and stated “I have most of them from Spay Road right here, and ask them how they would rather have it,” Dempsey said. “Ask them would they rather have what we have now or turn it back to dirt.”

McIntire stated that he and the other board members would talk to Carter regarding these issues, in hopes of coming to a resolution. “We can offer help and assistance, but bottom line we cannot go other into his district and do anything without his approval,” McIntire said.

District 5 Supervisor Eric Chambers suggested that all the supervisors ride the discussed roads to see the damages firsthand. McIntire suggested that Carter would need to be present when they are riding the roads.

Following the discussion of the roads, Chambers asked to enter the names of the residents who attended the meeting regarding road concerns of District 4 in the minutes of the day’s meeting. This motion was passed unanimously by the board members.

In other news, the board:
Approved to pay claim to Thompson Machinery in the amount of $60,386, to be paid from District 5 funds
Recognize the closing of the Choctaw County Solid Waste Transfer Station on July 4 to commemorate Independence Day
Approved inventory deletions and transfers
Approved to add District 5 road issue to agenda
Approved the allowance of county equipment to do work on the property of Scott Stallings to correct drainage issues of county right-of-way
Approved the claim of Crowder Engineering in the amount of $6,230.22 for the final payment on engineering for Sanders Road Bridge project

The Choctaw County Board of Supervisors recessed its meeting until June 29 at 9 a.m. at the Choctaw County Courthouse Boardroom.