Road Privatization Idea In Polk Is Dead For Now

Polk County planners have withdrawn a proposal thrust upon them by the County Commission to end public maintenance of local roads in new subdivisions.

The idea was proposed last year as a way to prioritize where the county spends road-maintenance money.

The Polk County Planning Commission voted 5-1 earlier this month to recommend denial, questioning the justification for the change and how the homeowners would become aware that they and their neighbors would become responsible for a job that traditionally has been undertaken by local road maintenance staff.

Their rejection was buttressed by the fact that the staff report revealed that no other counties in the area have pursued such a policy.

Additionally, members cited a lack of figures to support the contention that maintenance costs of purely local roads was a financial burden.

On the eve of a decision by commissioners to public hearings for them to consider whether to overrule the Planning Commission, some leaders of the Polk County Builders Association weighed in, alleging this proposal was an abdication of the county’s responsibility and questioning whether homeowner groups would be capable of handling the responsibility.

At Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners supported County Manager Jim Freeman’s recommendation to pull the vote on setting the hearings from that morning’s consent agenda and to withdraw the proposal.