On Monday, the Lawrence County Quorum Court met for its regular meeting.

Days prior to the the meeting, County Judge Gary Barnhill sent out text and social media requests to get the public to attend this meeting, “strongly suggesting “ the public to attend saying there would be a public discussion on the road department and funding options.

Judge Barnhill invited several presenters to the meeting, one presenter suggested cutting funding to the county library system to supplement the shortfall of funding for the road department, this suggestion fell on deaf ears. We spoke to several Justices after the meeting who openly stated they would not support cutting any funding from the county library system.

The current funding was voted on by the citizens and it would require the measure be placed back on the ballot to remove part of the millage, then once removed it would then have to be awarded to the road department. This still would NOT supply the funding needed for the county roads.

Another presenter spoke to the Quorum Court about basically abandoning a 3/8 cent sales tax voted in in 2016 to support the Detention Center, once voted out the citizens could vote the 3/8 cent sales tax back in with the funding going back into the road department.

The current jail tax is set to expire in 2028, the proposed road department tax would be permanent.

The proposed 3/8 cent for the road department would be a tax and bond proposal to raise the necessary cash upfront in bonds with the tax collected to repay the bonds.

Once the citizens in attendance were allowed to question the Judge about the future of the road department the mood changed. Most citizens in attendance were concerned about the quality of work being performed or lack there of.

Complaints of roads in the 400’s (east side of the county) receiving preferential treatment when it comes to clean chat purchased by the county while roads on the west side of the county are seeing little to no rock and very little attention paid to them.

When asked who made these wasteful decisions, County Judge Barnhill stated he was ultimately in charge of the road department.

The general overtone of the meeting was simple, the Lawrence County Road Department headed up by the Lawrence County Judge is failing the citizens when it comes to providing safe, passable roads. Some blame lack of funding for gravel, some blame lack of training and some blame poor management both of finances and employees.

Nothing was decided in last nights meeting and the roads still need attention.