Purdy Road District facing difficult year

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

County clarifies road district’s obligation to city

The Purdy Road District commissioners face an uncertain summer of work after rains in April set back efforts to repair roads from the December 2015 flooding.

According to Rick Scott, new board chairman now that David Henry did not run for re-election, rains in April measured up to 14 inches. The stormwater runoff mixed together all that aggregate laid out for Hutchens Construction to use to fix flood damage under contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Additional rains in May made a further mess out of what was left. Scott figured rains had set the district back more than $5,000 in material alone.

Under FEMA’s deadline, the district has until the end of the month to finish repairs to three miles of Farm Road 2070 and about a mile and a half on Farm Road 1120. The district can file for an extension in time if necessary.

The entire job is estimated to cost more than $120,000. To date, FEMA has sent $65,000, which is supposed to cover 75 percent of the project. Scott said the district would have to dip deeper into its savings to cover the balance. Board secretary Helen Roller said the last time the district had to do a flood project with FEMA, it took the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) two and a half years to pay its 10 percent, leaving the balance for the district to cover.

The commissioners said the spring rains put more wear on their roads than the winter. Now they had an abundance of potholes to manage. They hoped for a fairly dry summer. Another mile of Farm Road 1087 near the flooding vicinity needs significant help, but they were unsure if they would have any money left this year to tend to it.

With new leadership in Purdy City Hall, city council leaders have asked what kind of assistance they can expect from the road district, seeing themselves as a funding source for the road district without receiving direct benefit. Barry County Treasurer Lois Lowe answered the road district directly on its obligation to the city.

“CART [County Assistance Road Tax] and the MVST [Motor Vehicle Sales Tax] comes directly from the state,” Lowe wrote. “The amount your district receives is based on your miles of roads and assessed valuation. The City of Purdy receives CART [and] MVST directly from the state also, which is specifically for their use in maintaining their roads. The 1/2 Cent Capital Improvement Sales Tax was passed by the Barry County voters for use by the Special Road Districts to maintain roads. Although this tax is generated by everyone in Barry County, this tax goes to the special road districts and distributed in the same manner as the CART, MVST.

“The monies you receive are to be spent on roads in your road district only. They are not to be spent on private roads, cities or villages. They are to be spent on CART roads in your district. The City of Purdy must maintain their own roads with the funds they receive.”

"We all have to pay taxes,” Scott said. “We’ve got our plate full. We need to be serving the 62 miles of road we’ve got rather than helping the city. They’ve got their own source of funds. We’ve got ours.”

James Fuller, the district’s foreman, said he has helped the city on occasion when asked, and has assisted in joint projects when he has time available. That has not been the case in the past year, he added, nor did it look like the case this year.

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