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Signs are missing across Lincoln County; supervisors ask residents to report vandals

A Lincoln County supervisor says enough is enough. He’s tired of replacing road signs and traffic signs.

The cost for sign replacement throughout the county is at least $1,000 a month, said District 3 Supervisor Nolan Williamson.

That’s a burden to taxpayers.

“You can’t stress enough the importance of these signs,” he said.

Williamson got a call from a woman in his district Thursday to let him know her ditch was filled with signs that had been torn down and dumped there.

He’s outraged by the vandalism.

“They’re breaking them off and tearing them down,” he said.

Williamson said the vandalism to street signs and traffic signs is not in any isolated area. It’s happening all over the county in all five districts. Most of it, however, is around the West Lincoln community. Enterprise is having problems, he said, and so is the Loyd Star area.

Supervisors have been fighting this battle for years.

In January, District 4 Supervisor Eddie Brown had to repaint Big Creek Bridge. It was the fifth time.

“That bridge cost us a little over $500,000 to get,” Brown said in January. “People don’t want to see all the vulgar words people put on the bridges. I don’t want to see it either.”

It is a crime to spray paint or damage bridges and people could face fines or possibly even jail time if charges are filed.

The issue is a headache for the supervisors. Missing road signs is an inconvenience for delivery drivers and visitors to the area. But it can be serious in an emergency. Road signs are a necessity, especially in the rural areas of the county where cell signals for GPS can be weak or non-existent, Williamson said.

Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing said the crime is a misdemeanor.

Several youth were prosecuted last year for similar crimes, he said.

Supervisors must dig into their road budget to fix damage caused by vandals. That’s money that doesn’t go to smoothing out roads. “The $500 to $700 we use to paint a bridge is the cost of a load of hot mix we use to cover a whole bunch of rough spots on a road,” Brown said.

Supervisors are asking residents to keep an eye out for the ones committing the crimes.

“If the people would report the tag numbers to the sheriff’s office that would help,” Brown said. “Parents and grandparents should also talk to their kids about this. No one wants to see anyone going to jail.”

Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to call Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office at 601-833-5251.