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Magistrates consider 10 mph speed limit

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By Calen McKinney

Those who drive on Crawley Road might want to slow down.

Magistrates have been asked to set a 10 mph speed limit on the road, but the sheriff and a magistrate say they don't believe a limit that slow is a good idea.

Last month, magistrates had first reading of the limit, though John Gaines voted against it because he said he believes the speed is too slow for a roadway.

At last Tuesday's regular Taylor County Fiscal Court meeting, Gaines again said he believes the speed is too slow.

Before discussing the request, Magistrate Richard Phillips made a motion to approve final reading of it, which Magistrate James Jones seconded. The road lies in Phillips' district.

Gaines said he traveled the road in a truck that idled at 12 mph.

"I understand that this is a short road, 400 yards," he said. "I understand it's a county road and it's used for county business."

Gaines said a "We Love Our Children" sign was once installed on the road. It has since been removed when officials were told those signs could no longer be posted.

"I think what we're doing is we're saying, 'We're gonna let our children play in this road and you all need to be careful and don't run over them.'"

Gaines said he isn't sure how people are driving fast on the road, since it takes some time to reach a faster speed and 400 yards is a short distance.

"You have to be careful coming out there with a piece of farm equipment because you're gonna be breaking the speed limit."

Taylor County Sheriff Allen Newton said the request for a 10 mph speed limit began after an argument between two people.

"Ten miles per hour is ridiculous," he said.

Newton said if he receives complaints about those driving faster than 10 mph, he will have one of his deputies give speeders traffic citations - even those who signed the petition asking for the limit.

"Because there's not a one of them gonna run 10 miles per hour," he said.

Newton said magistrates can vote how they wish, but he will be the one who has to deal with the consequences of the decision.

"I don't have the time to waste ..." Newton said. "If you want to reduce the speed limit that's fine, but 10 mph is pretty darn low."

Magistrate Ed Gorin said those who live on Crawley Road have requested a 10 mph speed limit. And he asked why that request can't be granted.

Phillips said he will be glad to ask those who signed the petition to speak to magistrates about their request.

"I did what my people asked for," he said. "I appreciate you, John, spending so much time in my district, but I did what the people asked for. But the sheriff's opinion carries weight with me."

Phillips said he doesn't want to receive the blame if the limit is set and people start complaining when they get speeding tickets. Newton said he doesn't want that blame either.

"You gotta be reasonable," Newton said. "Fifteen to 20. My goodness ... 10? A lawnmower will run 10 mph."

Jones made a motion to table the issue until the magistrates' next meeting.

Phillips said he was told that those who live on Crawley Road believe that Newton doesn't have the manpower to patrol the area for speeders.

"I don't, but if they start putting heat on me ... and if I do send somebody out there, everybody's getting a ticket."

Phillips said he doesn't disagree. "I'm kind of the middle man here," he said.

"I don't think they really understand how slow 10 miles per hour is," Newton said. "Are they wanting to drive 10 miles per hour to their house?"

Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers said he told the residents when they came to see him that 10 mph is faster than idle speed.

"I said to them, 'There's gonna be a lot of tickets issued.'"

Phillips seconded Jones' motion and said he will contact those requesting the speed limit. Gaines voted "no."

"You don't think we should table it?" Phillips asked.

Gaines said, "I don't think we're gonna do 10 miles per hour, I don't care who comes to talk to me."

On Thursday, County Attorney John Bertram said there is no minimum speed limit on a county road. Generally, he said, if none is posted, the speed limit on a road in a residential area is 25, but on the outer limits is 55.

County Road Foreman Brian Smothers said this is the only request he has heard for a 10 mph speed limit to be set on a county road. He said there is no speed limit posted on the road, so drivers can technically drive 55 mph on it.

A 10 mph speed limit sign had been posted on the road, Smothers said, but has since been taken down.

Also at the Meeting:

• Magistrates declined to participate in a program that would make all Taylor County residents Air Evac members and, therefore, receive the benefits of such.

Air Evac Membership Manager Sondra Keltner said her company now offers a program for counties in Kentucky that allow municipalities to pay a discounted rate for their residents to become members.

When someone uses Air Evac's air ambulance service, Keltner said, the company receives payment from the patient's insurance company. If the patient is an Air Evac member, no additional payment is required. If they aren't a member, she said, additional payment will be required and can be as much as $6,000. Memberships cost $65 and can be upgraded to cover a person no matter where they are.

So far this year, Keltner said, Air Evac has flown 134 patients in Taylor County and those services have cost those people more than $536,000.

The cost for the county to participate in the program would equate to about $18 per household in Taylor County, which totals $151,596.

If the county participates in the program, Keltner said, residents wanting to purchase an upgraded Air Evac membership could do so for $35.

Jones and Gaines voted to get more information about the program, though the other four magistrates said they don't want to pursue it.

• After some discussion, Rogers said he will have officials come to a meeting and discuss with magistrates a pipeline that could be installed through Taylor County and the impact it might have.

For more action from the meeting, see Thursday's issue.