The bulk of discussion during the Nov. 28, 2022 meeting of Hopkins County Commissioners Court revolved around Precinct 3. Proposed was the addition of part of a private drive to the county road inventory. A complaint was made by a resident about the continued bad condition of a county road, and the county fire marshal submitted for inclusion in the official record for the Nov. 28, 2022 meeting of Hopkins County Commissioners Court two closed complaints investigated by Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
The Commissioners Court Monday morning authorized the taking in of a private drive in Precinct 3, which extended from the beginning of County Road 3502, west for about 1,018 feet and is about 28 feet wide. The drive leads up to the fire drill field, HCSO Trustee Farm, and Goodwill Industries property.
The drive will from that point become part of CR 3502. It will allow the 911 system to straighten up some addresses for property on the north side of the drive, which if left as is, could otherwise pose an issue for fire or law enforcement should either department have cause to be dispatched to the area.
“This will help them proceed on with the subdivision process. They’ve done everything we’ve asked. They need these addresses to get surveyed correctly so they can go to the preliminary subdivision plat,” said Hopkins County Fire Marshal Andy Endsley, noting those owning property through that area should be warned of possible heavy smoke from firefighter training at the drill field at times and of the farm, which could at times result in unpleasant odors. “The owners are aware of this and plan to subdivide. … The property is next to the city’s extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ), but the City of Sulphur Springs has opted to let that go out to the county.”
That stretch of private drive from CR 3502 past the Goodwill service center property to the drill field, which Precinct 3 Commissioner Wade Bartley said has been kept “in good maintenance” for a number of years, will now be the responsibility of the county and Precinct 3 for upkeep moving forward as it will become part of CR 3502. The change will allow the county to serve residents on the north side of the property, where the subdivision is planned. Proper signs will be posted and property owners on the north side, on Tiegiser Lane, will be notified of the address change.
Endsley reported two different complaints in Precinct 3 which Texas Commission on Environmental Quality investigated.
“We always like to let the public know about complaints against the county. We were cleared of that,” Endsley said. “We pick up trash throughout the county on a weekly, sometimes daily basis, here people have dumped out in the road ditches and out in creeks. What people don’t understand is if you dump in creeks it’s a felony.”
Endsley said the county currently has a very aggressive program by which some individual have been charged for dumping.
“But, when it comes to some of our own, the county, we want to make it clear to the citizens that we were cleared of these allegations,” the fire marshal said.
The county received a notice of compliance with those allegations dated Nov. 30, 2021, on County Road 3564 in Dike, that “states that the TCEQ found that everything was in compliance, and all actions were corrective and no charges were charged from TCEQ for the site,” according to the county fire marshal. The second complaint was a county dumpsite on County Road 3518 in Dike. “Again the state said there were no violations found, everything was in compliance on both of those,” Endsley said.
The county fire official submitted the two notices from TCEQ so they would be part of the official record during Commissioners Court
Frank Brown, a County Road 3546 resident, submitted to the county judge images he said were of a county road. He asked the judge to give them to Precinct 3 Commissioner Wade Bartley. He then asked why Bartley hasn’t gotten work done to rock his road. Brown said Bartley on Valentine’s Day 2022 told him that the Precinct 3 employees he oversees were responsible for beginning work on his road in January and indicated at that time that the road would be rocked “when the rain stops.” Brown alleged that “not a bit of rock” has been placed to improve the road since February. In June, Brown further alleged that work in June spread more dirt on the road, which has since become mud.
Brown said he isn’t the only one who wants to know. He said other residents of CR 3546 had signed a petition wanting to know why Bartley can’t get the road work done.
Bartley said he has Brown’s name on a list for repairs; Brown argued Bartley had told him he’d rock the road when the rains stops, but hadn’t said anything about a list in February. Brown said Bartley has been citing a list only since June, which he pointed out, was 5 months ago, and still the road improvements have not be made. He’s seen a motor grader three times on a Saltillo road since February, yet his county road remains unfinished.
“I believe my guys were on your road week before last and last,” Bartley contended.
That work, Brown said, had nothing to do with rocking the road.
“I’ve been on your road several times, Frank. It’s not in bad shape compared to other roads,” Bartley noted. “That’s not bad compared to some others.”
Brown said he’s driven the county roads every day from Birthright down to his road. Some road, he acknowledged, Bartley and the precinct employees have redone. The farmers who actually live there, however, are retired, Brown said. He asked if it was a budget thing, if only the roads of people who own more property, and thus pay more in property taxes matter; he cited 2-3 landowners whose property spans 100 or more acres or is worth $1 million or more as an example. He said Bartley has cited taxes as an excuse for how much or little road work is done.
“That doesn’t matter to me,” Bartley said. “I’m not using an excuse about the taxes.”
“You pulled my taxes up to see what I was paying and you said, the bottom line was ‘you’re not paying nothing,'” Brown accused.
“And you gripe and complain more than anyone else,” Bartley pointed out.
“I’m doing this for everybody. You want to see the petition again with everybody’s name?” Brown asked.
“I don’t need it,” Bartley replied. “You’ve been doing this for 10 years Frank. I’ve been hearing the same stuff since I’ve been in office. The commissioner before me told me it was going to happen, and you known what? He was right. For 10 years, you’ve been griping and complaining about the same old things.”
“Don Patterson would never say that about me,” Brown rejoined. “He knows better.”
“Oh, he does?” Bartley asked.
“Yeah, I know that for a fact,” Brown insisted, then asked for his pictures back. Bartley said he did not need them.
Brown again insisted the road needs to be repaired, that the rains, even recent rains which stopped on Friday.
Bartley pointed out the area received 5 1/2 inches of rain, which meant standing water, leaving the ground still too wet for work.
Brown argued that Bartley’s response is the same even in times when only 1 inch of rain has fallen. He said the road has been in the same condition for 10 1/2 months, and he and the other residents of CR 3546 would like to know when they can expect work to be done, when it will be rocked.
“It might be 10 1/2 more months if you keep complaining,” Bartley retorted. “I went straight to you. When you put that ad in the newspaper and you condemned Precinct 3 about the roads, you just peed your Post Toasties when you did that.”
“That’s not the way to run a business too, is it?” Brown respond.
“That may be,” Bartley said, “but that’s alright. The more you complain, the less you’re going to get.”
Brown said thank you, then returned to his bench seat at the back of the courtroom.