County supervisors approved paying a road claim after a Brandon woman drove off the side of the road to avoid a pothole on Lake Caroline Boulevard in March, sparking another discussion last week about updating the county’s policy on handling claims. 

Bill Patrick of Brandon asked supervisors last week to pay $250.36 for a new tire from an accident back in March. Patrick said his wife was visiting their daughter in Lake Caroline and in an effort to avoid a pothole ran off the side of the road, ruining a tire. 

Patrick said he followed the current county policy of notifying the county EMA office of the accident, but was told the pothole had been fixed within seven days after being reported so the county was no longer liable. 

Patrick said the county policy was “backwards,” in that the county only pays a claim if they don’t fix something after an accident. 

Supervisors discussed the policy back in February after paying for another man’s claims after his son hit a pothole on Bozeman Road resulting in a bill of nearly $800 in repairs. 

District 3 Supervisor Gerald Steen asked for an update on getting new policy proposals to review. 

County Administrator Shelton Vance said they have received some information from their insurance company and they are putting it all together to find something “acceptable” for Madison County. 

“Put that as a priority,” Steen said. “I agree with some of the concerned citizens and constituents.”

Steen said the current policy “doesn’t sound kosher at all.”

District 4 Supervisor David Bishop made the initial motion to pay Patrick’s claims, saying that part of Lake Caroline Boulevard has been repaired numerous times and it continues to be problematic. 

He said even though the county “fixed” the pothole after Patrick’s wife ran off the road, it continues to be a problem. 
“My opinion is until we can fix that thing and fix it correctly, this is gonna happen some more,” Bishop said. “I don’t think it’s the taxpayers’ responsibility for making up what we’re not doing. Either we fix it right or keep paying claims.”

County Engineer Dan Gaillet said the road was not built to handle the construction traffic and heavy vehicles and needs to be rebuilt entirely to the tune of up to $900,000. He said the county would need to dig down a couple feet and add a minimum of eight inches of asphalt for the road to handle the current traffic load. 

Supervisors then voted 4-1 to pay the claim, with District 5 Supervisor Paul Griffin voting against. 

Griffin said if he has a blowout on a state highway or interstate the state isn’t going to pay him anything. 

“I wish no citizen damage to their tire or car on the roads,” he said. “But if I was to get out there and do damage to my tire or car on Highway 51, I-55, any of those state roads, state government ain’t gonna pay me a penny. And I’m gonna have to just go along with state government on voting against this.”

Steen said Griffin supported to pay the claim back in February. Griffin said it’s up to the board to look at this on a case-by-case basis.