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Supervisors approve improper use of county roads ordinance

Those who intentionally misuse county roads will now face harsher penalties as the Washington County Supervisors voted to approve the third and final reading of an ordinance which would inflict harsher penalties for those who damage county roadways.

County Engineer Jacob Thorius brought the issue to the supervisors at the Jan. 29 meeting because the county was spending money fixing roads that were intentionally damaged after rainfall. He said the “mud running,” or driving at high speeds through the mud, was causing damage and costing the county money. Before the ordinance was adopted the penalty for being caught was a warning.

The new ordinance states that for any damage caused that requires repair in excess of $250, the perpetrator will be charged with a simple misdemeanor and a possible jail sentence ranging from zero to 30 days, a fine ranging from $65 up to a maximum of $625, or both, for each offense.

At a previous meeting Thorius explained the ordinance is not meant to punish farmers who have to access those roads but for those who intentionally cause damage. The new ordinance is in effect immediately.