Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1136979

Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 26, 2014

ATV ordinance passes third board reading

By David Hotle | Mar 04, 2014
Jack Seward Jr.

There was little discussion or public comment this morning as the Washington County Board of Supervisors passed the final reading of an ordinance that would allow ATVs to be operated on portions of the county’s roadways.
The board received a new copy of the ordinance reflecting changes that had been made based on previous discussion. Board member Bob Yoder opposed the ordinance. Board member Richard Young was absent.
“I acknowledge that we have had a lot of people call in who were concerned about the safety of the public regarding the passage of this ordinance,” said board member Jack Seward Jr. “Most of the concerns they had I still think are not going to be addressed by this ordinance. The things they are concerned about are already going on and this ordinance is not going to do anything to stop it. This ordinance does allow the older couple to give their grandkids a ride down to the creek or whatever, and to do it in a responsible and safe manner. They are not criminals, which they are now.”
Seward said he has discussed the issue with counties that have passed similar ordinances. He said there is no indication it has increased fatalities or injuries. He said what the board is promoting is the safe and responsible use of ATVs. He said the intent is not for people to go in and out of ditches or to go 60 mph on a roadway.
The supervisors also approved a resolution presented by county engineer Jacob Thorius regarding the posting of weight limits on some county bridges. He said that county bridges are inspected for safety at least every two years. He said some are inspected every year. The inspectors give the county the weight restrictions.
“Weight restrictions are a regulatory act, much like speed limits or stop signs,” Thorius said. “We are here to update the list of bridges that are posted around the county.”
Seward questioned Thorius about the practice of embargoing bridges to gain more state money, which he said he had heard was being done in other counties. Thorius assured Seward no bridges in Washington County were being embargoed without good reason. He also said that he couldn’t imagine a county engineer needlessly embargoing a bridge.
The board also heard a proposal regarding the county possibly contracting with Hillcrest Family Services regarding hospital emergency room services. Washington County Mental Health Coordinator Bobbi Wulf said that the service would be used to stabilize a patient during a mental health emergency for further treatment.
Wulf said that she would bring a formal proposal to the supervisors during the March 11 meeting.

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