Rhodes on Roads- Road-sign vandalism is illegal

Marion County has thousands of signs?from street signs to road-safety signs. The county?s road and bridge department employs one person full-time simply to replace damaged or missing signs.

It is beyond my reasoning why anyone would want to unbolt a stop sign or yield sign from a post and remove it. Perhaps it doesn?t occur to them that doing so could cause a very serious accident, with the loss of life and property. Property can be replaced, but a human life cannot.

The same principle is true for the street signs at each intersection. Suppose someone called the ambulance or the fire department and the responders couldn?t find the street they needed to take because the signs were missing. Even the loss of a few minutes can make a great difference for someone suffering a heart attack or whose house is on fire. Anyone caught taking a sign is subject to a stiff fine or jail time, or both. And they deserve it.

Our department uses a type of bolt that is difficult to remove. As a result, thieves usually take the post and all. The annual cost to replace missing or vandalized signs is expensive. It takes the wages of one or two department employees, the investment of an expensive truck, plus the cost of the signs and posts. It adds up to thousands of dollars each year.

These are dollars that you, as a taxpayer, are required to provide.

Editor?s note: Martin Rhodes resigned last week as director of public works for Marion County. Even so, we felt his series of articles were of public interest and we plan to complete the series.

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