Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How is the County Highway Department funded?

The three main sources of funding come from the statewide gas tax, state license fees, and our local $5 license plate fee.  In 2021 these generated 63%, 29%, and 3% of our 6-million-dollar budget.  No sales, property, or income tax is used to fund our budget. The Ohio gas tax is the largest contributor to our revenue, which adds about $0.385/gallon.  Unlike a sales tax, this is a flat rate regardless of the price at the pump.

 

6 million dollars is a lot of money, why can’t all the roads be paved?

We have over 400 miles of highway, each mile costs about $250,000 to repair and resurface, which would cost over 8 million dollars annually, if done over a 12-year life cycle.

 

Why not get some grants to make up the difference?

We pursue grant funding very aggressively; we have been able to attain between $500,000 and $3,000,000 depending on the year or the location of projects. Almost all grants require matching funds on the order of 20% to 30% from the Highway Department, and still more money is required if the grant and matching funds do not cover the entire scope of the project.

 

Why pave when you can use less expensive chip/seal? 

Chip/seal is about 20-25% of the cost compared to a typical asphalt overlay.  Unfortunately, to establish a maintainable and lasting road, it requires about 3 treatments in the first five years, then 2 or 3 more treatments over the next 7 years. So, when each type of road compared with the same 12-year lifecycle, the chip/seal is more costly.

 

If you don’t have funding for paving, can you do something about the dust?

Dust control is an expensive endeavor, there are many products that help, but are temporary and expensive.  It would cost about $450,000 each year to just spray dust pads at each house throughout the County.  We have approached the County Commissioners to discuss a $10 per year increase on the local license plate fee.  These increases are allowed by the State Legislature, most recently in 2011 and 2017 but we have failed to pursue them.

 

Why did you turn your mowing over to a contractor?

Before we added the contract mowing, we were not able to get all 400 miles of County roads mowed in an acceptable timeframe.  By adding the contract mowers to our regular long arm mowing, we ensure the roadsides are cut twice each year while our long arm mowers continue year-round to do slower detail mowing and clean further into the right-of-way. This is a more functional approach to make sure we avoid potential safety issues across the entire County and keep vegetation from encroaching further into the roadway.

 

Why didn’t they mow near and around our fence?

Fences along the road should not be placed within the road right of way.  If a property owner constructs a fence, or other structure, in the right of way they may be required to remove it at their expense.  If there is a fence in the right of way, the owners are required to keep their fence line clear or be required to remove it.

 

How do you pick the speed limit on my road?

The speed limit for all County roads is set by the State.  Statutorily, they are set at 55 mph.  We can apply to the State to reduce the limit if a speed study finds it should be reduced.  Speed studies are a formal and expensive process that are typically performed by a consulting engineer. More information on speed limits can be found at: Speed Limits | Ohio Department of Transportation

Where do I get a map of my property? 

The Tax Map Department is located on the second floor of the County Administration building or contact the Guernsey County Map Department

 

I would like to transfer my property. Do I need to have my property surveyed first? 

This depends on many factors, such as the quality of the current deed description, or whether you are transferring all or just a portion of your property. The County has Land Transfer Procedures, or Conveyance Standards, that you should review. You can all call or visit the Tax Map Office to have your questions answered.

 

Where do I find information on road closings? 

We provide a 48-hour notice to the radio and newspaper when possible. Occasionally, emergency repairs or storm damage will cause a road to be closed with little warning. We also list road closings on our website.

 

Do I need a permit to connect a new or widen an existing driveway to a public road? 

Yes, a permit is required and forms are available at the County Engineer’s Office

 

Why is my road the last to be snow plowed? 

Guernsey County has 9 planned snow routes designed to be as efficient and effective as possible. High volume roads get priority because if these routes are not open, secondary routes will back up. Routes are planned to enable each driver to cover a specific area and then return to the cinder and salt storage facility with minimization of backtracking on roads already plowed. Sometimes, it appears roads are skipped while a nearby road is clear first.  This occasionally occurs because a paved road is treated with a combination of salt and sand mixture, while the gravel roads receive an additional course of limestone to provide traction.

 

How close can I build a fence to the road? 

Fences should not be built on the right of way which is typically 30 feet from the center of the road on each side. The sides and rear of the property may be place at the property line. Many fences already exist in the right of way and may pose a serious hazard.  They will be handled on a case-by-case basis for removal at the owner’s expense.

 

How do I get a house number?

Contact the Guernsey County Map Department, 740-432-9277

 

Do I need approval for a septic tank before I can subdivide a property or purchase a newly created lot(s)?

Yes. Before a new lot, lots, or a subdivision can be recorded the owner must obtain approval from the County Health Department.

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