Ordinance would ban debris on roadways


An ordinance geared at keeping people from purposely leaving things on roads that could cause injury or accidents is being considered by the county.

The Dubois County Commissioners considered Tuesday a public way safety ordinance that would make it illegal to leave debris and substances on the roads.

This matter came up after they heard concerns about people leaving substantial amounts of grass clippings on roads. Those clippings can cause motorcycles and bicycles to lose traction and slide off the road, county resident Russell Friedman told them in August. He gave them a petition with more than 100 names of people who also had concerns.

“You don’t want someone dumping oil on our roads,” Commissioners President Chad Blessinger said as an example. “You don’t want anything on the road that could cause injury.”

The commissioners agreed they want to keep the roads clear of any debris. But they decided to take the ordinance under advisement to review its details a little more.

“It appears to me that we’re making a general statement of ‘Hey, don’t mess up our roads,’” Commissioner Elmer Brames said. “What concerns me is consistency in enforcement. If we enforce it one time and the next time it gets by and we don’t enforce it.”

County Attorney Greg Schnarr said it would operate as discretionary enforcement, similar to speeding laws: Not everyone is caught, but the rule is still enforced when drivers are caught. Law enforcement would be able to issue a fine, and highway department officials would be able to investigate and issue a notice of violation.

The highway department would likely have to purchase leaf blowers to make sure it does not leave debris on the roads when it cuts limbs, Highway Supervisor Steve Berg said. Commissioner Nick Hostetter pointed out that the department puts up signage to warn drivers when work is being done along the roads.

Hostetter said he hopes that a warning of the violation would deter people from committing the violation again. If they continue to do so, they would be fined.

“The public needs to be aware that this is dangerous,” he said. “If this ordinance is needed for that, so be it.”

The commissioners also:
Heard that the Huntingburg Conservation Club is starting its work on the dam this week. Work to install a needed box culvert was to have started Monday, County Engineer Brent Wendholt said. Once that is done, highway crews will lower the dam before working on the road. If all goes according to plan, County Road 100 West, which goes over the dam, should be open in October.
Agreed to send out requests for proposals to a total of four companies. One RFP is for an architect/design firm to create a design for the justice center; that will be sent to two of the companies. A second RFP is for a construction manager/owner’s representative, who will be the county’s representative at the construction site each day to monitor the work being done and represent the county’s interests on site; that RFP will be sent to two companies.
Heard a presentation from Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center representatives about having a work-site wellness clinic for county employees. The commissioners are looking to establish such a clinic and are currently considering contract proposals from Memorial and Activate, a company that Carinstone, the county’s employee benefits consultant, has worked with in the past.
Learned that Chuck Donaldson, the attendant at the Ferdinand recycling site, has retired. A new attendant is being sought, Highway Supervisor Steve Berg said.

More on DuboisCountyHerald.com