Oklahoma Watches and Warnings

Rural Payne County residents paying for county road out of their pocket

PAYNE CO., Okla. - Folks who live in a rural Payne County neighborhood say they’re paying money out of their own pocket to fix a county road.

However, the Payne County Commissioners have agreed to a contract with the neighborhood.

The county will maintain the road once the folks who live off it get it up to county road standards.

The property owners have to come up with about $30,000 to fix their county road. That will cover the drainage and gravel, but a couple people say they're not happy about it.

"I think it's kind of ridiculous," said Gary Puterka, a resident.

Puterka paid his donation, or share of over $3,000 to get the road he lives off, South Longview and E 47th Street fixed.

He says it's been in bad shape for awhile now.

"It's totally turned to muddy soup, especially with this unusual year," said Puterka. "We've had a lot of rain."

Each of the property owners have a different share based off their property value and distance they drive on the roads.

Puterka says he's even tried maintaining the road himself.

"There's four of us with tractors and we try to maintain it, take turns, but there's finally no gravel left, so we've been pricing it and it's expensive," said Puterka.

Zachary Cavett, the Payne County District 1 Commissioner says they simply cannot afford to accept all roads for maintenance.

"We just do not have the funding to do that," said Cavett. "The only reason I am proceeding with this is because they were told by a previous commissioner recorded in the minutes that he would accept it once it was brought to county road standards."

He says they even looked at getting an engineer out to design the road and contractor out to fix it, but it would end up costing the residents more.

"That would increase the property taxes for all of the individuals in that area, but it had to have so much approval by the people it would affect," said Cavett.

Puterka says even though the process is a pain, he will be glad there's a road in better shape than it is now, in the end.

"I'm just hoping that the folks pay their fair share, so we can get this done," said Puterka. "Otherwise, the roads will be almost impassable in another year."

Cavett says they have set up a special account for the residents to pay their share for the county road.

Right now, they have about half of the $30,000.

They expect construction to start soon after the money is all in.

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