By Catharin Shepard • Staff writer • A number of residents of the Blue Springs community approached the county commission Monday with concerns over dirt roads reportedly causing problems with their mail service.
Multiple people in Blue Springs reported they stopped receiving mail over the last month, and weren’t informed that they’re now responsible for picking up their mail at the main post office.
They were told the condition of the dirt roads doesn’t allow mail trucks to deliver mail on several roads in the neighborhood, residents told commissioners. Several people spoke of elderly residents unable to get to the post office to pick up their mail, including some with health problems who receive their medication through the mail.
In response, the board members took an unusual step in voting to draft a resolution addressing the matter with the United States Postal Service. Typically the commission does not become involved in matters concerning the federal agency, but pleas from residents convinced county leaders it’s a matter of public health.
Gina Daniels reported issues with flooding on her road in Blue Springs. The water rises and makes it difficult for public services such as mail carriers and ambulances to access homes, she said.
Daniels, followed by other speakers from the same neighborhood, asked for the county’s help in addressing the maintenance problems on Platt Road, Roosevelt Street and Daniels Drive.
Generally, the county does not have the authority to invest public funds to repair roads. Residents who live on private roads are often considered responsible for maintenance.
But not everyone has the money to pay for that type of expense, Jim Davis, also a resident of Blue Springs, said in comments.
Davis asked the commissioners to consider reviving the county’s “rural roads” committee. When similar issues were brought before the board a few years ago, the county formed a committee to look into the matter and see if anything could be done. Davis was one of the members of the public who served on the committee.
“Our request tonight is to revive that and see what we can do together to resolve the concerns of the citizens involved, and maybe look at procuring resources from Build Back Better to make these issues go away and address the concerns of our citizens,” Davis said.
The residents presented commissioners with a petition, and photos of the flooding problem. The board passed the information to Andrew Jacobs of Hoke County Emergency Management, who has for several years worked to apply for grant funding that can help mitigate drainage issues in some specific situations.
The commissioners also asked County Manager Letitia Edens to reach out to the Postmaster, and voted to draft a resolution.
The board doesn’t usually take action during public input sessions, but Commissioner Tony Hunt explained that based on what the residents reported, this situation presents a health hazard.
“I see this as an emergency when folks can’t get their mail, especially when they’re getting medicine in the mail. That is a safety hazard as far as their health,” he said.
The commission voted to draft a resolution addressing the mail service issues, and discussed reaching out to Hoke’s state and federal elected representatives for their support as well.
The board additionally directed county staff to contact the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office about reports of theft in the community.