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Good Question follow-up: Changes to Adopt-a-Highway program?

April 02, 2018 07:40 AM

In last week's Good Question report, Pat Taney was asked about Monroe County's Adopt-a-Highway program and why it is so expensive to enroll. This week, we discover new details.

After our initial report aired, many companies reached out saying the system needs to change. It was after we we introduced you to Jim Montanus in Greece.

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"I wanted to adopt a highway through Monroe County," Montanus said. 

He wanted to clean up piles and piles of trash along Island Cottage Road, but he couldn't afford to join the program due to a list of very expensive insurance requirements.

Since our report aired, we investigated and found some companies, like Stepping Stones Learning Center with Adopt-a-Highway signs up, aren't even in business anymore and haven't cleaned the highway in years.

Other businesses, which have maintained their portion of a road, were kicked out because they did not meet the insurance requirements.

So what is going on?

"It is sometimes challenging to keep up-to-date with the signs," said Jesse Sleezer with Monroe County.

Sleezer promised things will now be changing and there will be more accountability.

"We are going to be sending out letters this month to every business enrolled to see if they still exist and are still interested in maintaining that roadway," Sleezer said.

The county, however, will not be changing the costly insurance requirements to enroll in the program which include a $3 million policy.

"We think it's appropriate at this point in time," Sleezer told News10NBC.

Sleezer says the policies protect taxpayers from costly lawsuits if someone were to be injured while cleaning the roads. But some county lawmakers believe this needs to be investigated further.

"What I am going to ask is to see if we can follow what New York State does with its Adopt-a-Highway program," County Legislator Joe Morelle, Jr. said.

The state's program is very easy -- volunteers and businesses need only to sign a contract, waiving responsibility if someone gets injured. It does not have the lengthy list of requirements like Monroe County.

"If neighborhood Joe and his business is willing to pick up the garbage, let's let him do it and not have to take out a $3 million policy," Morelle said.

Morelle plans to send out letters to the county's transportation and legal departments to investigate this further.

Important to note: the county has few, if any requirements, for people who want to volunteer and clean up a roadway. You won't get an Adopt-a-Highway sign, but the county does encourage volunteer clean-up days. You can contact the county's Department of Highways for information on that.

As for Island Cottage Road in Greece, the county has sent a crew to clean up the mess Montanus showed us. The county will also be more diligent about removing Adopt-a-Highway signs of businesses that are no longer.

Credits

Pat Taney

Copyright 2018 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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