Belmont County needs more money to maintain county-owned roads and bridges. Somehow, somewhere, additional funding will have to be found.
County Commissioners Ginny Favede and Chuck Probst were right to vote against a plan to raise road maintenance money by increasing vehicle licensing fees by $10 a year, however. With Commissioner Matt Coffland voting in favor of the measure, Favede and Probst defeated it.
As they explained, however, they have something else in mind. Oil and gas drillers have agreed to pave some roads, Favede pointed out. And the county is negotiating leases for some mineral rights it owns. Such deals could net the county a substantial amount of up-front money, as well as continuing income in the future.
While the $10 increase may not sound like much, Favede and Probst were correct to avoid placing another burden on taxpayers. Now, of course, there is more pressure to negotiate the leases - but if that can be done, commissioners may be able to maintain county roads and bridges without turning to taxpayers.