Supervisor denies dumping gravel in private driveway

Published 5:00 am Monday, August 2, 2004

A Lincoln County supervisor denies an accusation that heillegally dumped gravel at a private driveway on Martin Lane inlate July.

A neighbor who witnessed the dumping has lodged a complaint withthe state Attorney General’s Office and Auditor’s Office.

It is against the policies of those agencies to discussinvestigations until they are concluded, spokesmen said.

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District Two Supervisor and Board President Bobby J. Watts saidthe gravel was dumped on the county’s right-of-way.

“We can cover up the culverts,” he said. “I didn’t dump thegravel where I wasn’t supposed to. I don’t think I’ve done anythingthat would be opposed to the law.”

Watts cited “prescription law” as allowing for the dumping ofgravel on the side of the road.

“Under prescription law, we don’t own the road, but we arerequired to protect and maintain the road,” he said.

The gravel was dumped July 20 around noon, said Ronnie Pullen,who lives next door to the home where the gravel was dumped.

A culvert near the home, at 1536 Martin Ln., was not damaged,but the driveway was in bad need of repair, Pullen said.

“I have a problem with what appears to be a misuse of countyresources, personnel and equipment in providing gravel to be usedon private property,” he said. “I think a simple explanation to thecounty taxpayers is in order.”

Pullen said he was not satisfied when he questioned Watts aboutthe dumping before reporting it to the state agencies.

“He informed me that the gravel was to be used to fix theprivate road for the residents at that address in case an ambulanceever needed to get to their home because they had some children,”Pullen said.

Watts said the homeowner had called him several times requestinggravel during June, when it rained nearly every day. When a dumptruck was heading in that direction on July 20 he ordered them todrop a load of gravel by the edge of the road for the culvertthere. The homeowner had said she would have it spread over theculvert.

In a personal investigation of the complaint last week, Wattswent to the home and found the nearest culvert is approximately 20feet from the driveway, where the gravel was dumped.

“I thought the driveway had a culvert,” he said. “It doesn’tmatter, though. Water runs there pretty heavily when it rains anddamages it. It needed some gravel by the road.”

After inspecting the site, Watts said he still doesn’t believehe did anything wrong.

“If I’m wrong then I’ll apologize and pay for the gravelmyself,” he said. “But I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong.”