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New rules may not help Putnam neighborhood

By Kara Moore

WINFIELD -- A more flexible set of guidelines could allow more Putnam County addresses to be grandfathered in rather than changed as part of the 911 addressing project.

But that might not help the residents of Joy Lane and Cleveland Drive just outside Culloden who brought the issue before the commission.

Commissioners approved an amendment to a 2003 ordinance Tuesday morning that sets out ways neighborhoods could be exempt from the addressing and mapping project.

The houses must be numbered with even numbers on the right and odds on the left. They must also be sequential, and it must be unlikely or impossible for new structures to be added to the development.

And the post office must accept the new number, and it won't allow a house number to be reassigned in the neighborhood.

For example, if no house is numbered 215, that number may be added. But if 213 and 217 are out of order, they can't simply be swapped to solve the problem. Both houses would have to get new numbers, which would then necessitate renumbering the entire neighborhood.

Also, if the even and odd numbers are on the wrong sides of the road, the two sides can't be swapped because the same numbers would have to be reused.

That's part of the problem in the two Culloden neighborhoods. The residents just want their old numbers back, but they don't meet the requirements of the ordinance that are designed to standardize addresses for emergency services.

"We're asking you to leave us alone or allow us to help in making us sequential," one resident said.

But officials say the post office likely wouldn't accept that because it would require reassigning addresses already in use.

At one point, one of the Culloden residents became frustrated and said to the commissioners, "Thank you, Mr. Obama, I appreciate it," and left.

The amendment to the ordinance could, however, give other subdivisions the chance to make their cases to the office of emergency management for simple tweaks instead of entirely new numbering systems.

In other news from the office of emergency management, the 911 call center will soon replace its phone system at a cost of more than $425,000.

Frank Chapman, director of the office of emergency management, said that all 911 dispatch systems have a lifespan of three to five years.

Putnam's system was brand new when the call center moved into a new facility three and a half years ago, but Chapman said they recently learned their system would no longer be supported or updated.

The new system will be set up to meet incoming federal standards that will require call centers to accept text messages and smartphone videos.

Chapman said the money for the system would come from 911 fees on landline and cellphone bills, not county taxes.

Commissioners also approved a new tax-increment financing district at Putnam Business Park in Fraziers Bottom, which is owned and developed by the county-funded Putnam County Development Authority.

Tax-increment financing, or TIF, districts allow counties to finance development with the promise of increased tax revenue once the land has a higher tax value by moving to a higher tax classification-moving from agriculture to industrial, for example-or simply increasing in value within the same class.

The county already has a TIF district in Teays Valley, and the commission Tuesday approved several projects at Valley Park using those TIF funds, including resurfacing the wave pool, paving the main road in the park and creating a master plan for the park.

Commissioner Andy Skidmore reported to the commission that a surplus property auction last week raised almost $43,000 for the beleaguered Putnam County Health Department. The funds will be used for debt repayment.

The commission also voted to move forward with a redesign of its website to be more user-friendly for residents and visitors.

The Putnam County Commission meets at 9 a.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the county courthouse in Winfield. All meetings are open to the public.


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