At the July 1, 2014 Coos County BOC meeting agenda there was an item under “Department Heads” item “G” titled: “Coquille Indian Tribe would like to add portions of the Coos County roadway to their Tribal Transportation Program Roadway inventory” also known as “(TTP)”.
The background and description of need or problem was stated: “The Coquille Indian Tribe would like to add portions of our County roads to the Tribe’s TTP Roadway inventory for additional funding consideration for future roadway improvements.” What future improvements are being considered?
The requested action was: “Approve and authorize chair to sign (“memorandum of understanding (MOU)”) Coquille Tribe’s Acknowledgement of Public Responsibility, Statement of Inability to Provide Funds and Verification of Federal Aid Category”. Has the County stated it is financially unable to fund some project? If so, what project?
The MOU states “these roads are used by Tribal members for school, mail routes, and routes to employment locations and are crucial to the Tribe’s access to goods and services and potential economic development.” To this, I would like to state that these roads are open to use by all citizens of Coos County for the same uses and acknowledged as such by the Tribe. The statement “potential economic development” raises the question, what “economic development” is planned for these areas?
The MOU states that the County is currently responsible for the maintenance of the roads, and has sufficient funds to meet its maintenance responsibilities. The Tribe “simply wants the ability to provide funding for future roadway improvements projects”, which when completed the County would have the responsibility to maintain. To that end, how can the County authorize the potential of future expense when the County has no idea of what the future roadway improvements will be?
All roads in the County are important to all citizens of the County. I consider all members of the Coquille Tribe to be citizens of the County. Is that correct? The Tribe claims “the County is unable to provide funding for upgrades to these roads.” What upgrades are they planning? Will the County be able to fund the maintenance of these upgrades? The Tribe is asking for the County to acknowledge its responsibility to maintain any future upgrades without identifying the upgrade! That is like getting a cart before the horse.
The Tribe is agreeing “that no roadway improvements will be made without obtaining prior approval from the County.” How about identifying the project and then looking for the approval and funds? How does the Tribe know how much “Federal Aid” to secure? How will this “Federal Aid” impact the County? Will there be Federal restrictions placed on the County?
The Tribe has identified 84.3 miles of “S-County” owned roads which they wish to include in the TTP. Does this require State of Oregon approval also?
I respectfully request that maps be made available on the County web site showing the general and specific locations of each segment listed on the TTP with a description of the potential economic development and/or upgrade. Furthermore, I request that the appropriate time be scheduled for public input at least five (5) days prior to any authorization for approval of chair to sign.
The agenda item cover sheet shows that Counsel, Treasurer and Road Department have signed off on this. Would the planning department be involved? Does anyone really know what they are signing off on?
Any future upgrades may affect the rights of private property owners. Have these landowners been made aware of “potential economic development” and “upgrades to these roads”.
Respectfully, Theo Stanley
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