County Board Approves Oakdale Speed Limit Change
By Alex Haglund
Along with presenting a tentative budget for the upcoming fiscal year (See County Board Presents Tentative Budget), and hearing about a coming shortfall in MFT funds (See Serious Reductions Coming To Money For County Roads), the Washington County Board dealt with a number of other items of business, including the approval of a a speed limit change on County Highway 21 near Oakdale, which some members of that community came to the board meeting in opposition to.
The speed limit change would give the Village of Oakdale what County Highway Department Superintendent called “a step zone of 45 miles per hour” between the 30 mph zone in town and the 55 mph zone on most Co Hwy 21.
In the past, Burdick said, the Village of Oakdale had asked the County Board by resolution for the 30 mph zone. Now, the village has passed another resolution asking the county for the step zone. The Oakdale Village Board’s resolution was passed at their September meeting.
Burdick said that when the 30 mph zone was initially passed, he didn’t necessarily agree with it and now, “I can find no reason to disagree with the ordinance as it was passed by the Village of Oakdale,” he said.
Not all of those present liked the idea of the step zone though, and one person spoke up when County Board Chairman David Meyer asked board members if there were any questions. The man asked Burdick who brought this change up in the first place. While Meyer asked those present to not speak out of turn, he did allow Burdick to answer the question, and Burdick reiterated that this resolution came to the County Board from Oakdale’s own Village Board.
“This is them coming to us,” said Meyer, “not us coming to them. It’s our responsibility to handle it that way.”
Others present also expressed concern with the speed at which drivers came into and through the Village of Oakdale.
Burdick said that he believed that the 30 mph zone would “be maintained the way it is today,” between the built up part of Oakdale and into the curves in the road, while the 45 mph zone would be coming out of the straight stretch north of the curve.
“I find no reason that it would cause an issue that doesn’t already exist,” Burdick said. “From a safety standpoint, I see no reason to disagree with this.”
Another citizen who spoke regarding the issue, Judy Buss, said that she was concerned with the speed at which people traveled in Oakdale, but said, “we’re looking for a fix here, and I don’t think that a speed limit sign is going to fix it.”
Buss suggested that a larger presence from law enforcement could have more deterrent effect than a speed limit that is ignored anyway. Sheriff Danny Bradac told her and the Board, “I’m taking notes.”
Drug Task Force
When Sheriff Danny Bradac gave his monthly report to the board, he stated that while not a lot had changed in general since the last time he spoke with the board, he did have one piece of news – for a while now, Bradac said that he had been working on bringing together a regional drug or major case task force, and now, this work has come to fruition with the formation of the Perry–Washington County Drug Task Force.
The task force has applied for and received a federal grant, which has allowed for the hiring of a full time deputy, stationed in Perry County, who is heading this new entity up.
Due to this grant, Bradac stated that the task force would cost the task payers of Washington County nothing.
Bradac also added to his regular report that the county is currently housing nine federal inmates.
State’s Attorney Daniel Bronke followed Mitch Burdick in coming before the board, and after Burdick’s dire statement about soon-to-be-declining Motor Fuel Tax funds,
“I’ve got a little ray of sunshine,” Bronke joked, saying, “I just got a check for $311.25, so we made 300-bucks.”
Bronke stated that the money was the county’s portion of funds from a drug bust on the Interstate but, “other than that, it’s been a pretty normal month.”
Bronke reported other fees collected during September (in addition to those forfeited funds). $1,286 was collected for the State’s Attorney General Fund; $251.25 was collected for the Drug Prevention Fund; and $538 was collected for the Automation Fund.
Historical Society Plaque
The Washington County Historical Society was present at the County Board’s September meeting, where WCHS President Catherine Dinkelman asked the Board to place a plaque in remembrance of the Lively Family Massacre, which occurred in 1813 in what is now rural Covington Township.
Due to the massacre occurring in such a remote location in the county, the Historical Society asked that plaque be placed at the Courthouse. After the Building Committee reviewed the proposal, they found no issues with the plaque being put into the courthouse near the county’s 9/11 Memorial.
“It will be April when the plaque will be presented,” Dinkleman told the Board.
Appointments made by the County Board included:
• Ashley Fire Protection District Board: Fred Johnson is stepping down. John Lantum will be filling his unexpired term.
• County 911 Board: Brad Rommelman, John Felchlia, and John Shubert were all reappointed to the Board.
• Zoning Board of Appeals: Doug Beclan of Addieville was reappointed for a full term.
• Marissa Fire Board: A vacancy on the agenda was not yet ready to be addressed.
• Washington County Hospital Board: Victor Shubert said that the Personnel Committee has interviewed people for vacancies on the Washington County Hospital Board, with the goal of filling two seats. Brad Haege and Kevin Rench were the candidates interviewed and Shubert said that the Committee recommended appointing both of them.
With WCH Board member Jim Cange leaving the board due to health issues, Shubert said that these appointments, “will give the hospital a full board again.”
The County Board approved a 50/50 drainage project– the replacement of an 84-inch drainage culvert on Sassafras Road approximately three-quarters of a mile east of Co Hwy 24 in Hoyleton Township.
The total cost of the project will be $4,290, with the county covering half and Hoyleton TWP Road District covering the other half.