The Washington County Board of Commissioners met in a called session Thursday, May 8, to select four roads to be submitted for state funding.
To help them make an informed decision, commissioners were provided with a paving matrix as a guide. The matrix scored Washington County's dirt roads based on rankings from the sheriff's office, school system, emergency services, postal service and county maintenance staff on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst rating.
Other factors considered were the roads' status as an alternate route, annual maintenance costs, and number of homes served.
Commissioner Todd Abbott began nominating roads in the order they appeared on the list, beginning with the matrix's only road to score a 10, Buckhorn Blvd. Planning commission members voted down the motion 3-2, however, leaving Abbott visibly frustrated.
"We've got the highest ranking road on the matrix, and we're not going to support that as a project, even with the (departments that travel it the most) giving input?" asked Abbott. "Why do we even have this list then?"
Abbott continued his effort to follow the list's rankings, and the board ultimately selected Kent Road and Hard Labor Road, the two next highest ranking roads which had not already been funded or submitted for paving. Kent Road, which scored a 8.4 on the matrix, is approximately four miles long and serves 37 homes. Hard Labor Road is nearly five miles long and serves about 36 homes.
The roads will be submitted to the state's SCOP (Small County Outreach Program) funding, which is a new construction program that operates on a 75 percent grant with a 25 percent county match. County Engineer Cliff Knauer says the county can apply to have the 25 percent match waived or exchanged for in kind services, however.
Despite some disagreement on which dirt roads should be priority, commissioners agreed on projects to submit for SCRAP (Small County Road Assistance Program) funds, a program which provides 100 percent of funding for resurfacing projects.
Motions to submit Bonnett Pond Road and Griffin Road for resurfacing were passed unanimously. An application was submitted to the CIGP (County Incentive Grant Program) last year for Griffin Road but wasn't approved by the state.
Upon their submittal, the roads will be compared and ranked with others submitted by other small counties to determine whether they will receive the requested state funds.