Residents complain to commissioners about mud boggers

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By Lou Elliott Jones, Editor

The mud boggers are at it again in northern Levy County and one resident has asked the Board of County Commissioners for help because the traffic is tearing up a private road used by residents.

Charles Wilkerson addressed commissioners in their regular Tuesday morning meeting saying that “four-wheelers and mud boggers are coming down the road” and tearing up Northeast 125th Street, a private road.

Wilkerson said he was getting help from one commissioner in the past, “but since he got in trouble it went out the door,” referring to one of two commissioners suspended after being indicted on federal charges.

He said the constant traffic is rearing up the private road and makes it impossible for fire and ambulance vehicles to reach residents.

He said law enforcement has no authority to enforce speeding and drinking under the influence laws on private property, but Capt. Evan Sullivan said the Sheriff’s Office could enforce DUIs on private property.

Sullivan said a checkpoint operated by the Sheriff’s Office on a Sunday encountered over 436 vehicles. “That was lot more than we expected,” Sullivan said. “We can’t prevent them from going or mud boggin.”

Sullivan and the board suggested Wilkerson get in touch with the state Department of Environmental Protection to see if the land can be declared a protected wetlands and to inform the agency about fuel spills in the water.

Interim Chair Nancy Bell instructed Road Department Head Bruce Greenlee to get together with property owners along the road and see if they are willing to deed the road to the county so it can be maintained.

In other business, the commission approved:

Using the uniform method of collecting special assessments for emergency medical services. In plain language, that means the assessments will be on property tax bills coming from the Levy County Appraiser’s office next fall.

A special event permit to allow Rhino Rally 2009 to be held Feb. 13-15 on an adjacent 80 acres at Rhino Outdoors on Northeast Highway 27.

Naming Interim Chair Nancy Bell to a courthouse space committee planning space needs for a new courthouse on 21 acres the county owns. Bell replacies suspended Commissioner Sammy Yearty.

Applying for a $5,000 grant from the Northern District U.S. Attorney’s office for firearms crime prevention. Lt. Scott Finnen said the money will be used to purchase a laser firearm reconstruction kit that allows the department to determine the path of gunshots at a crime scene, signs for stores that warn the use of a gun can result in federal firearms prosecution, and 2,000 baseball-style cards with pictures of the county’s K-9 partners on the front and each dog’s statistics on the back. The K-9 cards will be distributed to children as part of a crime prevention program by the department.

Approved the county employee and offices holiday schedule for 2009. The days remain the same as this year’s schedule.

Told residents from Inglis that the board could do nothing to require Tarmac/Titan-America to close a test mine pit. The county, in granting a permit for the test mine had set a requirement that the pit be closed and restored 1 year after the permit was issued. But Tarmac applied for and received permission from a state agency to keep the pit open until a final decision is made by the state on granting a permit for the mining operation.