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'Thru truck' ban tabled by county
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY — Although vowing to continue to fight to protect two paved roads, Precinct 3 Commissioner Neal Smith has agreed to table plans to prohibit truck traffic on the Jack Schaeffer and Trinlady Park roads near Trinity. During Monday's meeting of the Trinity County Commissioner Court, commissioners were set to vote on a truck ban on those roads – a ban that would primarily impact log trucks. Smith sought to reroute the trucks away from paved sections of those highly traveled roads in order to stop the damage those overweight trucks are causing. Under state law, the trucks can legally operate overweight if they obtain a state permit. And while the law gives commissioners the right to reroute the trucks, it does not allow them to reroute them out of the county. Rerouting the trucks on Trinlady Park Road would have sent them into Houston County. Commissioners indicated that if they approved the ban, it would probably generate a lawsuit that they could not win. "There has got to be something that can be done about this and I am going to keep looking," Smith said Monday. He noted he and the other commissioners were scheduled to attend a statewide conference this week in Conroe and he would be questioning officials from other counties about a possible solution. Smith has noted his predecessor, former Commissioner Cecil Webb, had the two roads paved several years ago at a cost of $90,000 and he cannot afford to keep repairing them when they are damaged by the heavy trucks. "When the dirt roads are damaged and I can go in and quickly repair them. It's a different story when it's a paved road," the commissioner said. Building inspections In other business, commissioners met with local builder Rick Renfro regarding a plan to require building inspections for homes in Trinity County. Renfro noted the state once required three inspections be performed during construction to insure that the residences complied with minimum state safety standards. The state commission that controlled this was cut by the state to save money and the authority to require the inspection process was passed to the counties. Trinity County was among those that elected not to continue the inspections. Renfro said despite the change, he continues to have inspections performed on the homes he builds and feels it is important means to assure homeowners they are getting value for their money. "There are some builders out there who cut corners and it often impacts those who are the least able to afford it," he said. Renfro said the county could require contractors to hire certified inspectors and to maintain records of those inspections. He noted the cost of each inspection is about $100 and would be passed on to the homeowner by the builder. While no action was taken by the commissioners during the meeting, they agreed to study Renfro's proposal and put it back on the agenda for a future meeting. Other business During the meeting, commissioners also: • Contracted with Firetrol Protection Systems of Tyler to perform annual inspections on the Trinity County Courthouse's fire sprinkler and alarm systems at a cost of $595. • Approved Kalin's Center as a non-profit organization authorized to use county jail inmate labor under a sheriff's department work program. Applications also were submitted by the Groveton Independent School District and the Moore Cemetery Association but were not acted upon because both organizations are exempt under state law. County Attorney Joe W. Bell said government entities such as the school and all cemeteries which have existed for 80 or more years automatically qualify to have inmate labor under Texas law. • Approved the purchase of two 2014 Chevrolet Tahoes for the sheriff's department at a cost of $31,152 each. • Approved a financing plan through Bancorp South Equipment Finance to purchase a used van for the sheriff's department at a cost of $14,304. The van will be used for prisoner transport. • Renewed an agreement with Trinity Auction Gallery to sell surplus county items. The agreement okayed Monday is non-exclusive and continues to give the county the right to sell items through out outlets.