SHELBYVILLE — Concerns about speeding on county roads and the Shelby County Board's early meeting time were discussed at its meeting Wednesday.
A woman from the Coon Creek Campground area addressed citations given for golf carts being driven on a county road. County Road 2075 East is a mile-long county road that dead ends in Coon Creek Campground. The posted speed limit is 40 miles per hour.
Some people who live on that road, especially in the half mile closest to the campground, want to drive their golf carts and ATVs down the county road to the bait shop, to the RV park, and to the residences and the campground. However, the posted speed limit is faster than that allowed for slower moving golf carts, which is 35 miles per hour.
The woman noted some people are receiving warnings of a ticket costing $120 and said she would like something to be worked out.
"Speeders are a bigger concern down that road," she said. "But nobody gets a ticket for speeding."
The possibility of a county ordinance concerning ATVs and golf carts was mentioned.
"We've talked about this before," said Vice Chairman Bruce Cannon, District 2. "And, we decided to stay away from it. The speed limit on county roads is 55 miles per hour, unless otherwise posted. Golf carts and ATVs are slow moving and that's a countywide concern. Townships can make their own ordinances, but this is a county road."
Shelby County Under-Sheriff Rob McCall had looked into the issue as of three years ago, and agreed that townships have their own authority on township roads. Carts can also run on private property, but some of the land around roads are township or county easements, not private.
Board member Dennis Drnjevic, District 8, said speeding is a problem on that road.
"Sixty miles per hour is not uncommon and some of those are pulling trailers," he said.
"By law, townships that allow golf carts on their roads have to have 35 mph signs posted," McCall said. "It's 55 mph, unless otherwise posted."
"When you open up this can, you have a lot of issues and regulations," said Shelby County Sheriff Don Koonce. "It's not only out there. Every community is complaining about speeders. We will monitor what we can."
Shelbyville City Commissioner of Public Health and Safety Martha Firnhaber shared her concern.
"This is an illustration (speeding) that nothing changes," Firnhaber said. "Until local city and county officers write tickets and send a message, it won't stop these people (speeders)."
Firnhaber then brought up a renewed topic, changing the county board meetings to nights. The board currently meets at 9 a.m. One member said it would be more costly to the county for electricity and heat and for security.
"I don't know if there is support for it on the board," said County Board Chairman Dave Cruitt.
Firnhaber said she had to take off work to come to the meeting, to which Cannon responded, "I have to take off work to be here."
"The taxpaying citizens can't participate during the work day," Firnhaber said. "It's for the greater good."
"It's your greater good," said board member Barbara Bennett, District 5. "We're taxpayers, too."
Cruitt said he appreciated Firnhaber coming and bringing up the issue.
County Highway Engineer Alan Spesard reported on increased funds for roads from the state's new capital plan.
"It's good news for the county roadwork and local agencies and the county," Spesard said. "The county will be receiving 50 percent additional money from the increased motor fuel tax, which adds 19 cents on to a gallon of gas at the fuel pumps, for the sake of the roads."
Spesard said the county received $370,000 last year and said there would be about an additional $185,000-$200,000 from the increased tax. He also mentioned a $1.5 billion bond for roads.
"We are not clear on how it (money from the bond) will be distributed," Spesard said. "We are pushing for it to follow the motor fuel tax formula. It's a six-year bond that gives another 50 percent increase in funds for roads, so that would double our total."
Bennett said the state isn't "giving this money." People will be paying at the pump for all the additional funds for the roads, she noted.
Beginning July 1, the state’s gas tax will double to 38 cents and the diesel fuel tax will get bumped 5 cents to 45.5 cents total.
While Cruitt said the additional funds are good news for deteriorating roads, Frank Mulholland, District 11, acknowledged the "bad news" that comes with it.
Spesard read from the bill, which also increases fees for vehicle registrations, as well as several other fee increases.
"This bill is about 30 pages long," Spesard said.
During the meeting, Cruitt acknowledged the recent passing of county board member Rob Amling at age 68.
"We are sure going to miss him," said Cruitt, who officially announced the vacancy on the board.
Amling served District 4 (Oconee, Cold Spring and part of Tower Hill Township). Amling, who had given his resignation recently due to health issues, served on at least four county committees: Shelby County Housing Authority Board, chairman of the Heartland Resource Conservation and Development Council, Shelby County Economic Development Board, and the Solid Waste Committee.