Wayne County Fiscal Court is considering adopting an ordinance that will

allow ATV's to be driven on county roads. And the fiscal court wants to hear

from local residents on the issue before making a decision.

A public hearing on the issue has been set for Tuesday, July 31 at 6

p.m. at the Wayne County Courthouse. County Judge-Executive Greg Rankin

suggested the public hearing be held, following the first reading of the

ordinance on Thursday, July 19.

"This will give the people a chance to come and comment on this," stated

Rankin.

According to the proposed ordinance ATV's may be driven on county roads

by a licensed driver. They must comply with all applicable traffic

regulations. The vehicles must have one headlight and two tail lights, which

have to be illuminated at all times of operation.

The ordinance restricts the use of ATV's on county roads to daylight

hours only, except when they are engaged in snow removal or emergency road

maintenance.

The ordinance also requires the ATV owner to maintain liability

insurance.

After the ordinance was read during last week's meeting, District Two

Magistrate Darrell Dishman presented the court with petitions containing 415

signatures of people who support the ordinance.

"We've got people who come here from other states and spend their money

in local stores and at local hotels," said Dishman, who said he is in favor

of an ordinance that would ATV's to be operated on county roads.

He said that four-wheelers are form of recreation, like boating. She

noted that state has spent a lot of money getting boat ramps ready this year

for tourists.

"We need to make them all welcome to come here if they want to come,"

said Dishman.

He noted that his district includes 50,000 to 75,000 acres of off-road

opportunities, but many have to access these areas by traveling a short

distance on a county road.

Dishman questioned the section of the ordinance which requires insurance

for ATV's that are operated on the roadway. He noted that it is difficult to

get liability insurance on an all-terrain vehicle.

County Attorney Lee Tobbe explained that he had researched the state

statutes regarding vehicle insurance and he had added that section. Tobbe

noted that by having a month between the first and the second reading of the

ordinance would give him more time to research the matter.

Several local residents attended the meeting to hear the first reading

of the ordinance. Rankin noted the interest in the ordinance and suggested

the public hearing. Everyone is invited to come to the meeting and discuss

the ordinance.

Also during last week's meeting, the court approved the second reading

of an ordinance that will reduce the occupational tax from one percent to

nine-tenths of a percent. That will mean an extra $140,000 a year will

remain in the paychecks of local workers.

The change will become effective October 1.

Several people attended Thursday's meeting and addressed the court. Joe

Brent, with Mudpuppy and Waterdog, updated the court members on the work at

the West-Metcalfe House. Work has been going on at the site since May, and

Brent said that so far about $55,000 has been spent on the project.

He said a shed has been constructed over the historic home. He said they

have done a paint analysis to determine original colors for the interior

home. Right now, they are waiting on brick to proceed.

Local resident Larry Ratliff addressed the court regarding a webpage for

county government. He noted that this would provide e-mail access for people

who may want to contact their magistrates or the county judge by computer.

Rankin noted that work is currently ongoing to build a webpage for the

county.

Mike Crane, a resident of the Parnell community, addressed the court

regarding county fire departments. He referred to action by a previous

county administration that purchased land in the Parnell community for a

fire department and also appropriated money for departments. He said he

would like to see the county get more rural departments like the one at

Susie.

Rankin said that would be something positive for the county, but the

problem would be funding for rural stations. He said county government spent

about $150,000 last year for fire protection for the county.

In other action, the court:

*Approved a 28 cents an hour raise for county employees.

* Approved the only bid received for gasoline.

*Approved the sheriff's tax settlement.

* Approved the appointment of Jimmy Frazer to the Monticello-Wayne

County Industrial Development Board.

* Donated $8,287.18 to the Susie Fire Department to cover insurance

costs.

* Approved the bill of sale and assumption agreement in regard to

Community Telecom Services.

* Approved a donation to the ASPIRE Center for the free swim nights and

free swimming lessons programs.

* Approved the purchase of a tractor for the County Road Department.

*Agreed to advertise to adopt an extension of Mountain Laurel Way in

the Meadow Springs Subdivision into the county road system.

* Agreed to advertise to adopt Lee Road, off Highway 834, into the

county road system.

* Heard a monthly report from Jailer Ray Upchurch who noted a total

population of 154 inmates at the Detention Center. This includes 61 county

inmates and 93 state inmates. Upchurch presented the court with a check for

$5,000 from the canteen fund, which can now be used to help offset medical

costs for inmates.

* Heard a monthly report from Solid Waste Coordinator Tim Bell who noted

that during the past month white goods have been collected at 63 households,

bringing the total to 2,811. Bell said several illegal dumpsites are being

cleaned up right now, and he is using inmate labor to help meet the county's

25 percent match for grant funds for these projects.

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