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How can Western Putnam County roads get paved?

How can Western Putnam County roads get paved?

  • PublishedMay 24, 2024

Neighbors in West Putnam say their dirt roads are becoming a safety issue. They want answers from county leaders and contacted the Ask Anthony team for help.

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. — The Ask Anthony team is continuing to get answers for our viewers in Putnam County. 

Neighbors sent us pictures of dirt roads in West Putnam near Interlachen. They want the roads paved and they don’t understand why the county won’t do it. 

Anthony Austin made the drive to West Putnam to see the problem for himself and get answers from county commissioners. 

“It seems like that area out there, west of Putnam, has been neglected,” Dan Steele said. 

At the beginning of May, Dan Steele came to an Ask Anthony listening session in Putnam County because he’s tired of dealing with the unpaved roads in his community. 

“We’re in a bad situation out there,” Steele added. 

Steele lives off of Twin Lakes Boulevard in West Putnam near Interlachen. He wanted to know why money wasn’t being used to pave these roads. After Anthony spoke with Steele, other neighbors contacted him saying the dirt roads are becoming a safety issue.  

One woman said an elderly friend’s car recently got stuck and had to be towed.  

“That means that fire trucks and ambulances can’t get to some people,” Steele explained.  

Anthony emailed their concerns to all the Putnam County Commissioners. Larry Harvey was the first to respond. He invited Anthony for a tour of the area, so he could explain the problem.

“We pave roads out of our one cent sales tax, Harvey said. 

Harvey drove Anthony down Twin Lakes Boulevard, while explaining that drainage and budget issues are the reason 95 miles of West Putnam roads have not been paved. 

“When you’re looking between $800,000 and a million dollars a mile to pave, you got to make it effective for where the most people live. So, it’s going to be $95 million or $100 million to get something like that done. We don’t have the bonding ability to make that happen right now,” Harvey explained. 

Another complaint from neighbors is that many of the dirt roads don’t have stops signs or other street signage. They’re concerned about EMS, police, and fire responding in case of an emergency. 

“The signs are a problem. The minute we put them up, they get taken down. We have seen cases where we have put them up and they’re gone again,” Harvey said. 

Many of the landowners in this area pay an extra tax to the Municipal Service Benefit Unit, also known as an MSBU, that is used for road and drainage improvements. Harvey says people in West Putnam are only paying for the roads to be graded, not paved. 

“State statute requires if you’re going to have an MSBU it’s got to be for a specific item. We can’t just take your money and say we’re going to pave this road and you live down here. The fairest thing is for everybody to work together, all the lot owners, and pave the roads in the area,” Harvey added. 

West Putnam MSBU Meeting takes place 6 p.m. at Interlachen Community Center, 135 South County Road 315, the third Tuesday of each month.

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