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LETTERS: More taxes for better roads?

To the editor:

When I was a youngster in the 1930s and 40s, the roads were under the townships’ government. In the summer, my granddad and dad always built a couple or three miles of road with the use of an iron-wheeled grader pulled with a caterpillar tractor. They did a wonderful job. The roads were improved over the years.

Then the people voted to go to a county system. My dad went to work for the county — building and maintaining those roads. A lot of blacktop roads were built. Marion County could thus brag that we had more miles of blacktop roads than other counties.

Now our roads and blacktops that are left are frightful to say the least. If you travel blacktops to Harvey and Butler counties, you know immediately when you reach those counties. They are much better.

We had large rocks spread on our road a week or two before Christmas and have had more since. It was really “great” to drive on. The county’s idea or plan was to build a good base for the road.

We needed the larger rock on the road last summer when we were getting rain. When the strong wind and snow came, our road was blocked because the field was bare. So I wonder why snow fences were done away with. I have always felt it should be the landowners’ responsibility to erect a snow fence or they could plant four to six rows of row crops close to the fence line to restrict the drifting of the snow on the roads. I am convinced it costs more to use high dollar equipment and labor to unblock roads (tax money).

During the past several years, the box or smaller bridges have been deteriorating. The banisters have been knocked down or cut off for the benefit of farmers’ huge equipment. A lot of those bridges have washed out around the ends. It is a dangerous condition. There were two bridges built over the Cottonwood River that benefited farm owners (tax money).

Last summer, I drove some dirt roads (not minimum maintenance) so I could polish the underneath of my car and pickup. The grass and weeds did a good job (saving tax money).

Last but certainly not least, the Peabody blacktop road between Burns and Peabody is an embarrassment and much more. It is in deplorable shape in places. The school bus has to travel over this road when school is in session. Do I need to remind those who are responsible what could happen if a bus was involved in some sort of mishap?

To sum up, good roads are certainly an asset and a savings on our vehicles. They are easier on those vehicles and higher priced equipment, and a heck of a lot safer. Too many of us would rather use our money to buy expensive cars and trucks than be taxed more for decent roads to drive them on.

Abe Lincoln and others said slavery was wrong and a war was fought over it. Well, I am tired of being a slave to the would-be “big shots” who are big landowners, etc.

My tax money has helped some of those subsidized dairymen, farmers, and ag producers buy more land, bigger and more expensive equipment, and yet do everything to avoid paying taxes on their holdings.

Fair? Not in my book.

Ag interests do a lot of harm to the roads.

I had an uncle who once said, “If they don’t want to be taxed on all their holdings, then why do they keep buying?”

Maybe we should consolidate counties — the southern part from Peabody-Burns road could go to Butler County. Just a tongue-in-cheek suggestion, maybe not.

As a rural mail carrier for Burns, Marion, and Florence for nearly 30 years, a lot of tax money was spent on gas and vehicles by me.

There’s a saying about the road to some places are paved with good intentions. The roads we travel on in southern Marion County I guess are also paved with good intentions.

Virgil E. Clark
Burns

Last modified Jan. 27, 2010

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