As the Barton County Commission Monday morning approved a resolution establishing a permitting system for baling hay in county rights of way, it was noted the issue boiled down to safety.
Included with the resolution is a Barton County Harvesting Hay on County Right-of-Way application which describes the permit, performance and liability directives, County Works Director Darren Williams said.
The permitting fee is $1,000, but $500 will be returned to the applicant if there is no damage to adjoining property.
“This will help keep the county rights of way clean,” Williams said. Those who cut the ditch grass can sell what they bale.
Baling is allowed currently, but there isn’t a method of tracking it. “This gives us more control over our rights of way,” he said.
“The crux of the issue is public safety,” Williams said. The problem now is bales are left in the ditches and create a potential hazard for cars that go off the road.
The county works director would manage the program under established guidelines and provide the commission an annual report relative to the permitting and permitting fees collected.
This is not a new concept, but it is a first for Barton County, Williams said.