The Albany County Commission hosted a special meeting Wednesday to address issues with the Pope Springs Road Improvement District, which was approved at a County Commission meeting April 3. Because of the complex legal situation of creating a road improvement district, several people involved in the district became confused about who is in the district.
The misunderstanding stems from a landowner who did not want to be part of the district but was included, Albany County Attorney Peggy Trent said. Her property was included because it was determined the property would benefit from it, and it would complete the boundary required under state statute, she said.
“They were included because of the benefit and completing the boundaries, so there would be no gap in the boundary on the northern side of the proposed road district,” Trent said. “If we were to exclude that land owner, there would be a gap in the boundary, and the law does not allow that.”
The property owner, Jody Kalinay, said at the special meeting she would not benefit from the road improvement district because she uses the private road on the property rather than those included in the improvement district.
“It was my understanding that (the petition, which was) approved is going to be modified to include our property, because it has been decided that we are benefiting from the road improvement district,” Kalinay said.
Trent said typically, roads inside the boundary are included into the improvement district but the property owner’s private road would be excluded because of laws prohibiting public funds being used for private property.
“You can’t use public money that you would be collecting from taxing on a private road,” she said.
Richardson said to resolve the situation, the petition the county commission previously approved was brought back before the commission to make the needed changes, excluding the private road from the district.
With the commission’s approval, the petition now has to be voted on by residents to officially create the district.
“We rescinded what we did on April 3 because of legal ambiguity and we took another try at it … with more legal clarity,” he said.
“It is not the job of the commission to create a road improvement district — that is something that the voters in that district do.”
Albany County Commissioner Terri Jones did not vote on this issue because she is related to the Kalinay family, and she lives north of where the improvement district is planned to be.
“Because the Kalinay are my relatives, I have recessed myself from voting on the Pope Springs Road (Improvement) District,” Jones said.