February 23, 2011 11:59:00 AM
Residents of Oktibbeha County can expect to receive new addresses in the not-too-distant future.
A meeting will take place next week among county officials, emergency responders, the U.S. Postal Service and the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District, among others, to discuss the proposed address changes, Oktibbeha County Administrator Don Posey said Tuesday. New address numbers will be assigned to properties based on locations related to the end of each road. Properties along the first mile of each road, for instance, will receive new addresses with digits below 1000; properties along the second mile of each road will be given addresses between 1000 and 2000; properties along the third mile of each road will be given digits between 2000 and 3000, and so forth.
Only county residents outside Starkville city limits, including Maben and Sturgis, will receive new address numbers. Starkville city residents will not be affected.
Posey expects county residents to receive a notice in the mail within the next month or so with a photo of their home, their address and their new address number, as proposed by the GTPDD. Street names won''t be altered, although the county did have to name approximately 150 previously unidentified short roads and driveways on which three or more homes are located.
It may be a few months before addresses officially change, Posey said, but once they do, residents only will be able to receive mail at their old addresses for one more year. Residents will be expected to change all of their mailing and billing information in that time frame, Posey said.
Oktibbeha E-911 Director Jim Britt said the address changes are necessary to help responders find homes in emergency situations. In several parts of the county, addresses are out of sequence, even and odd numbers are located on the same side of the road and some homes at the ends of long driveways are difficult to find, he said.
"This (new address system) will quickly help us pinpoint where the address is when we respond to emergencies," Britt said. "Over the years, we''ve used a grid system and addresses were not all that accurate. It was a lot harder to find these addresses, so it took a lot more time for emergency responders to get there. With this new system, we''ll certainly be able to get to the right address faster."
The county will have to install new signs and poles for each of the 150 newly named roads, Posey said. The total cost for each sign and pole is about $35, plus labor to install them, he said.
Oktibbeha County employees are used to installing new signs. The county has to replace 25 to 50 stolen signs per month, Posey said, from street signs to Stop signs to directional signs.
"We have people who will steal anything we put out there," Posey said.
The county loses money every time someone steals a sign. Thirty-six-inch Stop signs with a reflective border, for instance, cost about $80, Posey said.
Some of the signs likely are being turned into decorations for college students, Posey said, but others are being sold as scrap.
Sign thieves also are creating dangerous situations for drivers and residents, Posey said. Drivers could very easily speed through intersections where Stop signs are missing, Posey said, and emergency responders have difficulty finding homes where road signs have been stolen.
"What if it was their grandfather who lived out there on a county road and he''s having a heart attack and the ambulance zooms by because they can''t find his road?" Posey said. "People don''t think about those things when they''re stealing these signs."
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