Road use pact on county agenda

Howard County commissioners are set to meet Tuesday — a day later than normal due to the holiday — to discuss a number of routine items.Among the items is discussion and possible action regarding a proposed road use agreement aimed at requiring area trucking companies profiting from the boom in the oilfield to help finance the rehabilitation of numerous county roads.The agreement — which commissioners have been working on for several months now — would help pay for much-needed repairs to county roadways, according to County Judge Mark Barr.“Overall, the damage is estimated at approximately $22 million right now,” Barr said. “This isn't something we're going to be able to fix all at one time, obviously.”The county recently took measures to begin addressing the problem when it inked its 2012-2013 budget, which includes between $400,000 to $500,000 to be spent annually to address the local roadways.According to Barr, the road use agreement is based on documents used by other Texas counties.“The template we're using for this agreement is based on a very similar agreement being used in other counties,” Barr said. “It won't put an end to this problem, however. What it should do, though, is place more of the financial burden on the companies that are causing the majority of the damage, instead of the taxpayers.”Also on the agenda for Tuesday's meeting, the court is expected to consider an inter-local agreement with Lubbock County which would provide a public defender if a capital case were held locally, as well as an agreement with the city of Big Spring to provide ambulance services outside the city limits.