Mineola council eyes permits for heavy vehicles

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Concerned that trucks hauling massive weight can chew up roads and stick the city with the repair bill, the Mineola City Council on Thursday will consider requiring a permit and fee for moving overweight equipment or loads over municipal streets.

At its Sept. 6 meeting, the council heard concerns from City Manager Mercy Rushing and Police Chief Chuck Bittner regarding trucks hauling massive loads and the damage they can do to streets. Bittner explained that he has been in touch with a company that intends to begin a 300-acre logging operation on County Road 2800 and use city streets to move the logs.

“You take an 18-wheeler full of logs turning on those turns, it’s going to tear the roads up,” the chief told the council. Without an ordinance in place, the city has no recourse for getting reimbursed for the damage, he said. Requiring a permit will inform the city about who is operating the trucks and whether they are fully insured and bonded.

“We’ll know where they are going to and how long they’ll be here. It lets us know who’s turning the corners and tearing our streets up so we can get reimbursed,” he said.

The city has budgeted $54,980 for street repair in fiscal 2018-19.

Rushing explained that it is not the size of a truck or piece of equipment but its weight that is the issue. Any truck or heavy machinery operating over a certain weight would need to be granted a permit from the police department before traveling over city streets. A city weight limit will be proposed at Thursday’s meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.

No precise fee amount was discussed, but Rushing mentioned offhandedly that it could be in the $200-$250 range.

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