Motor carrier ordinance

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, December 7, 2011

CASSOPOLIS — By an 11-3 vote Dec. 1, the Cass County Board of Commissioners adopted a 10-page commercial motor carrier safety ordinance.
With an increase in commercial vehicle traffic coinciding with Road Commission “maintenance challenges“ due to state and federal funding reductions coupled with state staff reductions, the Sheriff’s Office “will need to more closely monitor commercial vehicle traffic to ensure the safety of residents,” according to Resolution 162 of 2011.
Proponents, such as Commissioner Robert Wagel, R-Wayne Township, said having the ordinance “would greatly increase not having our roads torn up by overweight trucks” while furthering cooperation between the Road Commission and Sheriff’s Office.
“The Road Commission has scales to provide for the weighing of vehicles. We’re going to be having training for deputies involved in this,” Wagel said. “We’re a leader as about the second county to have this ordinance,” which comes from the Michigan vehicle codebook. “A lot of trucks traversing these highways do not have adequate braking systems. Loads are not tied securely.”
Commissioner Ed Goodman, R-Silver Creek Township, who voted against the ordinance along with former chairmen Robert Ziliak, R-Milton Township, and Johnie Rodebush, D-Howard Township, said it elevates local police to a “higher level” with warrantless cargo inspections.
Sheriff Joe Underwood said the advantage of  operating under a county ordinance rather than state statute is that 70 percent of fines deputies collect through enforcement return to county coffers.
“Now, 70 percent of those funds go to the State of Michigan,” the sheriff said. “The Road Commission came to me about this ordinance and I went to the judge. She gave her stamp of approval because she has to agree to collect fines. Then it goes to the state police for a memorandum of understanding. There is no additional cost to the county.”