APPLEBY, TX (KTRE) - Today's rain only made the ongoing road problems in Appleby in Nacogdoches County more prominent. The community has county roads, but the county refuses to maintain them.
An election year has turned the road problems into a political issue.
For decades, the seven miles of county roads that run through Appleby were maintained by the Nacogdoches County Road Department.
Last year, a two weeks' notice was given that the work would stop because Appleby is an incorporated city. However, it's a city that doesn't collect property tax Appleby City Councilman Tom Rohsner explained.
"It's always been a small, sleepy kind of place," Rohsner said.
The designation happened way back in the 60s when a forward-thinking gentleman named Red Burt needed it to obtain financing for the Appleby Gas System.
The sudden halt in county road service led to problems.
Storms like the ones that rolled through Deep East Texas Wednesday, made it easy to point out neglected roads.
"The roadways have not been cut back, and we've got water running down the side of the road," Rohsner said.
The county roads are designated as such, but motorists must maneuver through and around large potholes. Appleby residents pay no city taxes, but if they buy something there's a one-cent sales tax.
"It's approximately a thousand dollars a month," Rohsner said.
It's nowhere near the amount needed to maintain roadways, even if they are less than 10 miles.
"The only alternative would be to raise to another sales tax, which we don't want to have to do," said Appleby Mayor Gerald Hebert.
City leaders say Appleby is entitled to the county road service since residents pay county taxes. A state law even allows counties to repair and improve roadways in municipalities if they so choose.
City leaders are now using an election year to apply pressure on the four county judge candidates.
"You might say that," Rohsner said.
All candidates are invited to a town hall meeting for tomorrow night. What they say could cost them an Appleby vote.
"We don't want to demand anything," Rohsner said. "We just want a fair shake at our situation."
There are other incorporated cities in Nacogdoches County dealing with the same issue. It's a statewide issue which led to the state resolution allowing interlocal agreements.