CHARLESTON -- An East Prairie resident would like Mississippi County to begin allowing the use of four-wheelers on county roads.
Jon Archie asked county commissioners during their regular meeting Thursday if they would consider issuing special ATV permits as allowed under state statutes.
Archie brought a copy of the state statute which provides for the county to collect a $15 fee and issue the permits.
According to the statute, the permits would only allow licensed drivers to operate ATVs on county roads. The permits would not allow their use on state roads.
Among the requirements are the vehicles must be equipped with safety flags and triangles, obey all traffic laws and stay under 30 miles per hour no matter what the posted speed limit is.
Drivers age 16-18 would be required to wear helmets.
Archie said Carter County issues the ATV permits and has reported no problems. "It worked out well for them," he said.
In Carter County, the county collector collects the fee, he said.
Archie said there may be some confusion at first so he and others that are in favor of the permits are willing to pay for advertisements "so people are informed on what the laws are concerning these."
"I've talked with the Sheriff's Office," he added.
"With anything like this, my main concern is safety," said Sheriff Keith Moore.
Moore said when he catches youths illegally riding ATVs he warns them and informs their parents.
He said his policy is to identify riders who flee on illegally operated ATVs and take it up with them later as pursuits can get someone hurt or killed.
Moore suggested if ATV permits are issued, a copy of the ordinance should be issued along with the permit.
"As long as they read these statutes, do it proper," Moore said, "because this is what we'll go by."
As it is now, farmers and hunters sometimes drive on county roads for short stretches to get to another piece of land. Archie said he just wants to be able to legally use county roads to get to his other parcels of land.
"The folk that are going to ride illegally are already riding illegally," he said.
In unrelated business, Archie also asked commissioners about returning 30 acres of subdivided land he purchased to a single parcel and removing a road there.
The land, which is located between Dogwood and Bertrand across from the Armer Cemetery, was known as Lauren Estates.
In other business Thursday:
* County commissioners set tax rates for personal and real estate property for 2006.
Commissioners set the rate for general revenue at 31.05 cents per $100 assessed valuation, the maximum allowable rate after the 16.02-cent mandated rollback from the ceiling of 47.07 cents. Last year's general revenue rate was 30.02 cents per $100 assessed valuation.
The rate for the road and bridge fund was set at the ceiling of 34.88 cents, down from 35 cents in 2005.
The Johnson grass rate was set at its ceiling of 4.98 cents, down from 5 cents last year.
Ceilings have come down some because "our assessed valuation is up this year," County Clerk Junior DeLay explained.
He said the county's total assessed valuation is up $12 million over last year, most of which is an increase in personal property.
Presiding County Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said he thinks the increase in personal property is mostly due to the trucking companies in the county.
The drainage district tax rates will all remain the same for 2006 as they were in 2005.
* Commissioners accepted the low bid of $9,665 for a heavy-duty Bush Hog mower from French Implement Company of rural Charleston.
The only other bid was for $9,790 for the same model from Heuer Sons Implement Company of Cape Girardeau, according to Richard Wallace, county road and bridge superintendent.
Wallace also suggested looking into purchasing a side-mount mower to mow road sides and ditch banks with.
Commissioners asked him to get prices on both a side-mount mower and a sickle mower.
* Blumenberg asked Wallace if he has received any applications for jobs at the road and bridge department.
"I've got some out there," Wallace said.
Blumenberg said the department needs another employee so they don't get behind on maintenance.
* Wallace reported the county has about 2,500 gallons of blacktop oil left and discussed with commissioners what blacktopping remains to be done before the season ends.