Commission considers charge for utility cuts

By Argen Duncan: PNT Senior Writer

Roosevelt County is proposing fees for road cuts to access utility lines, but utility service providers are concerned about the costs.

County Road Supervisor Ricky Lovato on Tuesday presented commissioners with a proposal that the county require a permit and payment to cut into county roads or easements to service or lay lines.

The permit would cost $100 to cover fees for Lovato to check the quality of repairs. Under the plan, cuts crossing dirt roads would cost $200, cuts crossing chip seal roads would cost $500 and the charge for parallel cuts beside the road would be $250 per 16.5 feet.

After the meeting, County Manager Charlene Hardin said a road’s shoulder could collapse because of parallel cuts too close to the road.

Lovato said in his three years with the county, a lot of time and money has gone to fix roads that other entities and even private citizens have cut.

“I think putting a little teeth in this permit, we can make them fix it correctly,” he said.

Commissioner Paul Grider said a road is never the same after someone cuts it.

Cade Skinner of Yucca Telecom said his company couldn’t pass on a $10,000 bill to customers because of charges for parallel cuts to run a phone line to their houses.

Hardin said the rate structure could be adjusted and the rule could be set to allow special agreements between utility companies and the county.

Commissioners took no action on the issue.

In other business, county residents near Causey protested about new stop signs at the intersection of Roosevelt Roads 30 and J. The intersection had a two-way stop, but was recently converted to a four-way stop.

Houston Wall, who lives in the area, said the stop signs required motorists to yield to a driveway.

Commissioner Bill Cathey, whose district contains the intersection, said Roosevelt Road J resident Weldon Carmichael asked for the four-way stop because of fast traffic. After speaking to another resident, who confirmed traffic traveled quickly down the road, Cathey had a sign installed.

“I can definitely see both sides of the deal,” he said. “I don’t know what to do.”

Commissioner Jake Lopez asked why the residents didn’t want the signs.

“I guess the issue is, we drive down that road every day — why should we have to stop?” Wall said.

Sheriff Darren Hooker said the people at the meeting were probably the majority of the residents. He also said the stop signs didn’t hurt anything, but they’d been absent for years without a wreck occurring.

County Manager Charlene Hardin said the county was developing a policy for getting stop signs approved and installed because the procedure isn’t consistent now.

Cathey said the Commission would look into the issue further.

In other business, commissioners:

• heard a presentation on the Regional Planning Organization.

• approved budget adjustments.