A Phelps County resident’s request to have a road maintained by the county highway department was tabled during the county commission’s July 23 meeting.
So what’s the reason for the delay? County officials are unsure if they have the responsibility to maintain it since they don’t know if it’s considered a county road or a private road — and discrepancies in the county’s past records are not helping in the matter.
The road in question is the southern portion of County Road 5310, near the Phelps-Dent County line.
Keith Davis lives at the end of the gravel road and said he remembers in previous years that the county graded and snow-plowed along the section of road.
More recently, grass was mowed along the side of the road, Davis said.
“I feel like it’s always been a county road,” Davis said, who noted he has lived there for 55 years.
However, County Road Superintendent Walter Snelson said that section of road had not been maintained for six years. Snelson said later in the meeting after Davis left that Davis asked to have the grass mowed there.
Chapter 228 of the Missouri state statute states that “all roads that have been used as such by the public for 10 years continuously, and upon which there shall have been expended public money or labor for such period, shall be deemed legally established roads.”
This means that if county funds have been used to maintain the road, it would likely be considered a county road.
County Clerk Carol Bennett said while Snelson’s office keeps records of their maintenance work, the records may not go into detail of how far along a road maintenance work took place.
District Two Commissioner Gary Hicks called the issue “convoluted” and Wiggins replied, “What’s convoluted is our records of if it’s a county road.”
County Assessor Bill Wiggins showed the county commissioners several maps of the road and surrounding area, but several were unclear as to whether County road 5310 extended all the way to Davis’s house.
Presiding Commissioner Randy Verkamp said whatever decision the commission makes regarding this road, it will affect the entire county where there are other similar disputes.
Verkamp said he would refer the matter to the county’s counselor for review.