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Supervisors differ on private roads

The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors expressed different views on the county's private roads and how the county should approach them during their meeting on Wednesday.

Near the end of the meeting, the conversation became heated in regard to the county’s responsibility when it comes to repairing private roads. A private road is generally put in by a developer or landowner to access acreage sold to individuals and is not part of the county’s road system. Buyers do not always realize that the road will not be kept up by the county. Land deeds are required to state this fact in the paperwork, but are often overlooked by the purchaser.

District 3 Supervisor Hudson Holliday said that he is tired of telling citizens “there is nothing we can do” when a private road becomes impassible due to weather, or age, or neglect. Holliday said that American Way, which is located off Liberty Road in his district, was completely impassible to individuals who currently live on it and it should be added to the list of county roads.

District 2 Supervisor Malcolm Perry argued that it is not the government’s job to step in and spend taxpayer money to fix privately owned roads. Perry went on to say that the county is already struggling to fund repairs to all the roads that we currently have.

District 4 Supervisor Jason Spence added that if they were going to start fixing private roads, then he would add Hickory Nut Road to the list.

Board President and District 5 Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith expressed his position on the discussion and the action taken by the board with the vote.

“In my first term, we borrowed over $3,000,000 to pave all the dirt roads in this county to get rid of motor graders and equipment that was costing us money and time, and now we’re going in reverse. Almost like we’re going back to the beat system, wanting to take everyone’s private road in, and over 70% of that money was spent in District 3, which is Mr. Holiday’s district, and now he’s wanting to take in more roads,” Smith stated.

“That’s my complaint here with this, when the taxpayers down in the south end of the county didn’t get much out of that three million and now we’re going back and we’re fixing to borrow more money to pave roads and we’re getting right back into the same fix we were back in 2008 and now it’s like we’re stepping back in time. Mr. Holliday says we’re not moving forward, but we have moved forward and now we’re moving back in reverse. So that’s my grief about it is we’re adding more roads to the road index that we can’t keep up roads we got now. Mr. Perry said the same thing. So that’s my grief with it and I’m going to be against it until the end.”

A motion was called for a vote on whether to start the process of adding these roads to the county. Holliday, Spence, and District 1 Supervisor Donald Hart voted yes, with Smith and Perry voting no.

Board Attorney Joe Montgomery, who was not present at the meeting, will be asked to review the motion.



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