Concerned Pulaski County Residents Voice Opposition to Irrigation Ordinance

Pulaski County Commissioners Tracey Shorter, Kenneth Boswell, Michael Tiede

More than 50 farmers and community members attended Monday’s meeting of the Pulaski County Commissioners to voice their opposition to a drafted ordinance preventing irrigation systems from spraying on the road.

The commissioners had the ordinance drafted after receiving a number of complaints from drivers who claimed to have been sprayed heavily by irrigation systems while traveling on motorcycles or in convertibles, and Commissioner Kenneth Boswell said they were being proactive with this ordinance to prevent high-pressure sprays from causing any traffic accidents.

One concerned resident, Gary Brandt, told the commissioners that he could not find any county in Indiana or Michigan that has an ordinance of this kind, and he feels that the fines for violating the ordinance are excessive. He said that sometimes the irrigation systems malfunction and cannot be stopped from spraying over onto the road from their end-guns, and a $1000 fine for such a malfunction is outrageous.

Brandt also questioned why there is no grace period mentioned in the ordinance to allow farmers time to fix their equipment before getting fined, but County Attorney Kevin Tankerslee said that there is a grace period, and enforcement of the ordinance would be at the discretion of police officers.

Another resident, Chris Loehmer, told the commissioners that he feels this ordinance would open a can of worms that would ultimately force the county to pass more ordinances restricting farmers, and taxpayer Larry Brady recommended that the commissioners form a committee of farmers and other residents to work with the commissioners in drafting an acceptable ordinance.

The commissioners voted to table the matter until the next meeting, when they will decide whether to form a committee, rewrite the ordinance, disband it entirely, or leave it as it is.