Lake County Commissioners took their first look at a draft copy of a joint powers and road maintenance agreement regarding the SD-34 bypass that includes S. Highland Ave. and S.E. 10th St.
County Commission Chair Scott Pedersen said that for the past 30 years or so, city and county officials have operated under a gentlemen's agreement regarding maintenance of the bypass. Under that agreement, the county has maintained S.E. 10th St. and the city has maintained Highland Ave.
Pedersen said discussion concerning the establishment of a joint powers agreement for the road has been taking place because of the development of the new hospital along that roadway and the possibility that a turning lane may be needed on S.E. 10th Street.
According to the proposed draft of the joint powers agreement, Pedersen said, all improvements are the responsibility of the party maintaining the road, which means the addition of a turning lane would become the responsibility of the county.
The agreement also states that the city maintains sole authority in controlling all access to the right-of-way for both sections of the road and full authority to utilize the right-of-way for the installation of city utilities and other infrastructure.
The proposed agreement is also perpetual.
"This agreement is not exactly what we talked about," said Commissioner Chris Giles.
Giles said that if it's going to be a shared maintenance agreement, the cost of improvements should be shared. He said the agreement should be renewed annually.
Twice, commissioners indicated that the county does have authority to remove a road from its service area. Once that is done, they said, authority would not automatically go to the city.