Bay County Approves Emergency Repairs for Private Roads Ordinance

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BAY COUNTY - Bay County commissioners have approved an ordinance authorizing emergency repairs on private roads. The move comes after this summer's heavy rains and flooding isolated dozens of homeowners in northern Bay County.

Tamra Pettis has lived in Bayou George for more than 20 years, so she's used to the driving on dirt roads.

She does have concerns after a firetruck barely made it to her home, because of the road conditions.

"They came down. They were able to get down then, but if they wouldn't have been able to get down, my trailer would have burnt down," said Tamra Pettis, a Bayou George resident.

Stories like that convinced Bay County commissioners to consider an ordinance, authorizing emergency repair work on private roads, but some commissioners believe property owners should help pay for the work.

"I just don't know why we're adding something to ourselves that I don't think we're able to take care of and that a lot of people want," said Bay County Commissioner, Mike Thomas.

"It's not a question of money or the mathematics or whatever. We got to get them out of there and we got to take care of our people. I don't see this as being a great big expenditure," said Bay County Commissioner, George Gainer.

Commissioners eventually decided the property owners benefiting from the repairs or the owner of the road will have to pay for them.

"It's bad that we do have to wait until emergency vehicles can't come down, but the county can do only so much," said Pettis.

Emergency Services Chief Mark Bowen will determine which roads would qualify for the emergency repair work.

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