Bad grade: Gause residents offer an earful over roads
One even submitted a letter calling for the resignation of longtime Precinct 3 Commissioner Dale Jaecks.
Jaecks, who stayed after Monday’s meeti ng for about an hour to meet with the residents, told The Reporter he would “continue to do the best I can with the materials I’ve got to work with.”
‘Not enough done’
James Todd, a resident of County Road 353, asked if more attention could be paid to roads in the area.
“I know there are places in this county where there’s been plenty done and other places where there hasn’t been enough done,” he said.
He charged the situation had existed “for 22 years.”
Following the meeting, Rose presented County Judge Frank Summers with a letter calling for the resignation of Jaecks.
‘A ditch’ Mary Neely, a teacher in the Gause ISD and a resident of County Road 358 told commissioners she believes it’s “very dangerous” for a school bus to go down that road.
“There’s only room for one car at a time,” she said. Neely said she had spent her own money on road improvements.
Shirley Cernuch, a County Road 359 resident since 1973, said she had been told in 1973 that county road would be paved.
“We don’t have a road, we have a ditch,” Cernuch said.
“We feel like we’ve been forgotten,” she added.
Peggy Cernuch, another CR 359 resident, also asked for road repairs.
Marcus Day, who lives on County Road 358, told commissioners he was “afraid for my kids to ride the school bus some days.”
“One rainy day it was so bad the school buses didn’t even want to run (on the county road),” he said.
“This is almost 2010 and the roads feel like they’re in the stone age,” Day said.
“My father-in-law got sick and we had to call the ambulance,” he said. “I was scared the ambulance couldn’t even get down the road.”
Joe Hobbs, who lives on County Road 343, asked that county roads be paved. “It can’t cost any more,” he said.
Several of the residents echoed the request for paving of county roads.
Another common complaint was road grading material with some speakers relating experiences with new tires being cut on “sharp rocks.”
Two-thirds vote in Gause
Jaecks remained in his seat in the commissioners courtroom and met with the group for more than an hour to discuss their concerns.
“I believe anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m not ignoring anyone and I’m doing my dead-level best and have done so for the past 21 years,” he said.
“You know, every time I’ve run for commissioner I’ve gotten about two-thirds of the vote in that Gause box,” Jaecks said.
“The unpaved roads are in a real tough situation and it’s not just in the Gause area, it’s all over the county,” he said.
“First it didn’t hardly rain for about two years and then we’ve had a lot of rain the past three months,” he said.
Jaecks said materials available to use on county roads are limited.
“For about the past 150 years the only thing we’ve had to use on our dirt roads is pit-run gravel (gravel found in natural deposits) that comes out from the river bottom areas,” he said.
“Now the concrete companies are coming in and getting that,” he said. “We (the county) can’t pay the price for that gravel and the concrete companies can.”
“I’ve just got a little bit of it left,” he said.
A s for pav ing, Jaecks says Precinct 3 is trying to hard-top as many county roads as its budget will allow.
“I’ve got about $300,000 each year that can be used for paving, but that’s only in years when we don’t have floods and that money has to be used for repairs,” he said.
“Now, $300,000 w ill pave about three to four miles of road a year and there are about 200 miles of unpaved roads in Precinct 3,” he said.
Jaecks told the group after Monday’s meeting not to count on paving solving all their road concerns.
“I asked them if they’d never seen the highway come back and fix a bunch of potholes on a paved road and then come back again to re-work it and pave it again,” he said.
Count y Judge Frank Summers presided over the public comment section of Monday’s meeting, asking those speaking to limit their comments to three minutes each.