New traffic signs for SVHS
Commissioners' Court votes 3-2, County will provide and maintain, school will pay
By Richard Zowie
Times Guardian Staff Writer
In a 3-2 vote, the Comal County Commissioners' Court on July 15 approved a measure to provide Smithson Valley High School with new street signs designed to alleviate traffic confusion.
Specifically, the measure stated that the county would provide the signs to the school and take care of the upkeep while the school will pay the expenses for the acquirement and maintenance of the signs.
Smithson Valley is nestled in Comal County's southwestern corner at Highway 46 and FM 3159. The school will be given four signs; two will be posted on both sides of FM 3159 indicating the bus entrance and two will be posted on both sides of FM Continued on 3159 indicating the main entrance. The signs will be able to be seen whether motorists are driving north or south on 3159.
"The main reason for signs is we're kind of hidden out here," said Brad Williams, principal of Smithson Valley. "For people who don't really know where we're at it can be difficult to find the entrances."
The principal noted an incident that occurred a few years ago where Smithson Valley hosted a sporting event between an Austin and San Antonio school. One motorist was killed when he reportedly missed the entrance and tried to make a u-turn.
"The signs will be beneficial with the number of people coming for activities and aren't familiar with the roads. We play places like [Converse] Judson and [San Antonio] Madison, and they bring lots of buses. We'd like to let them know which entrance to turn in to. When you come out here and haven't been here before, it can be confusing.
Voting for the measure to have the county provide and maintain the signs while the school paid the bill were Commissioners Jan Kennady, Cristina Zamora and Jay Millikin while Commissioner Jack Dawson and County Judge Danny Scheel voted against it.
"The school district is another taxing entity," Commissioner Millikin said. "My concern is if the commissioner's court opens things up to paying for this and other signs, it opens the potential to no end to where the county is paying for many other signs."
The commissioner also noted that, according to County Engineer Tom Hornseth, this wasn't a standard county road sign. "This again leads me to believe it's an atypical request and something not to be handled in the county budget," the commissioner explained.
"My feeling was just that we could work with the school districts to provide those for them at no costs to the school district since they're also a government agency," said Judge Scheel, explaining why he voted against the measure. "I just like cooperative effort between government agencies."
Either way, Commissioner Kennady feels the signs are needed.
"We need to keep the students as safe as possible and [the signs] should help," she said.
In other business, the commissioners' court announced its support of a cooperative development of the Canyon Lake Spillway Gorge between the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority and the Water Oriented Recreation District of Comal County. "This unique natural resource will provide educational and economic development opportunities for the citizens of Canyon Lake as well as Comal County and the State of Texas," Judge Scheel wrote in the letter.