Board balks at abandoning rural roads

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors gave a chilly reception Tuesday to a proposal to cease all maintenance on 100 miles of rural roads.

The staff of the Department of Transportation and Public Works presented the move as a way to help close a $43 million gap in the county general fund.

But several supervisors looked dubious. Any attempt to release roadways to the elements would spark huge opposition from residents who consider basic road maintenance to be their right as taxpayers, Supervisor Valerie Brown said.

"People will say &‘I don't bother you, I don't get in your way,'" she said. "'But when something happens on the road, I expect it to be taken care of.'"

Brown and other supervisors asked Phil Demery, the county's director of transportation and public works, to present alternatives when they convene again Wednesday to consider the spectrum of cuts facing the county.

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