Lawsuit seeks county to oversee road, bridge maintenance
A Summersville man says roads and bridges would be better maintained under a county-wide system, and Texas County government is violating state law by disbursing monies to the 17 townships who the county charges with the job.
The allegations are contained in a lawsuit that will be heard Friday by an Iron County judge in Texas County Circuit Court.
Tom Dalaviras said he filed the lawsuit because he believes Texas County commissioners are violating the state constitution. Dalaviris cites state statute that says, “In counties having the township form of county organization, the funds credited to such counties shall be expended solely under the control and supervision of the county court (commission), and shall not be expended by the various townships located within such counties.”
Dalaviras said Texas County takes its taxes generated by such things as the sale of gasoline and distributes it to the county’s 17 townships for road and bridge work. The money is allocated by the number of road miles within each township.
“It’s just wrong,” he said. “I’m just asking them (the county commissioners) to do their job.”
Dalaviras said he believes for the most part a county-wide system would be far more efficient rather than having trucks, graders and other equipment situated in 17 townships scattered throughout the county.
With 17 different township entities it is impossible to track to see if money is being spent wisely, he said, noting “there is no one to watch it. At least with the county, citizens could be able to better follow it.”
He said he doesn’t want the dismantling of township government – just that the county oversee roads and bridges upkeep as charged by state law.
Iron County Judge Randall Head is set to hear arguments Friday related to the case. Earlier, Head dismissed the case because proper documentation concerning how the county distributes the money wasn’t in place. A copy of the county’s contract with townships was in the file, but the judge wanted to see an executed version. Dalaviris says he hopes to have all of the documents rounded up before the rehearing.