Dispute over Cherokee County Road

Neighbors in Cherokee County say there's a double standard when it comes to fixing county roads. Their issue is with a dead end road south of Rusk numbered 2402. Now one county commissioner is firing back.

When the rubber meets that county road it's a bumpy ride. For the people who live at the top of the hill it's too bumpy.

"I never rode the buckin' bull at Gilley's many years ago, but it's kind of like riding a bucking bull when you come up the road," resident David Ansley said.

Ansley has been making the drive down 2402 for 17 years. He said it's only been bad for the last two.

"I guess change commissioners," he said in response to what a solution to his problem might be. "Maybe that'll change it. I don't know. I don't know the answer."

Ansley said Precinct 2 Commissioner Steven Norton is keeping road crews away unfairly.

"I've called probably fifteen or twenty times," Ansley said. "My son's called, my wife's called, my daughter's called--to no avail."

Ansley said he moved a gate to provide access and never saw a road crew again.

"It's not the right thing on my part to spend so much time and energy and resources over there," Norton said.

Norton said crews have been out, but limited money and equipment are a problem. He's also convinced there's no way to win against a family he said can't be satisfied.

"The county hasn't made a decision yet what we're going to do with the road or with the driveway," Norton said. "There's just numerous problems. Every time I turn around there's another issue."

People on other county roads said they never have to wait for repairs.

"They've been really good to us around here," Cindy Sloterdijk said. "We have a problem and call them and usually they take care of everything."

Norton admits it's one of the few dirt roads left in that part of the county--which means the equipment to do the work is tied up where there are more dirt roads. But the dispute hangs mostly on his contention that 2402 is just a driveway despite its county road sign.

"When I first took office I was actually not even aware that it was a county road," Norton said.

Ansley said his 17 years of taxes should more than cover a road that's still on the county books.

"I think it's a shame that families live up here on top of the hill where this road comes, to that we're paying taxes and that we have to spend our own money just to try to get them to do their job," he said.

Norton said he has thought about fixing the road and then having it taken off the county books. But he's worried that there would still be accusations that he did something wrong.

Ansley said a solution like that would be the end of it.


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