By Rebecca Hertz

Killeen Daily Herald

LAMPASAS – Lampasas County commissioners reviewed the ongoing and escalating problem of theft and destruction of signs on county roads Monday.

Commissioner Lowell Ivey reported an instance in the past week in which 12 to 15 signs had been pushed over. As a result, crews were dispatched on Monday to replace the posts and signs.

Ivey asked Sheriff David Whitis to increase patrols in the area. Whitis said that it would be difficult for a deputy to capture someone in the act of destroying or driving over signs, and with the department's high call ratio at this time, he couldn't promise anything.

"Without signs, there's going to be a serious accident and it's needless," said Ivey, who recovered 13 signs in Lometa after receiving a tip from a resident.

Commissioner Jack B. Cox said he had talked to Lampasas Independent School District Superintendent Randy Hoyer and encouraged him to come up with an idea to challenge high school students such as an essay contest about the problem. Cox suggested that the title for the essay should be: "How Much Education Do You Need to Know How to Run Over a Highway Sign?"

Cox also proposed offering a $1,000 reward for turning in someone who destroyed a sign. Since the problem is outside the city, an ordinance would not be an appropriate measure.

"I agree that a reward would be most effective," Whitis said. "We looked into Crime Stoppers, but it would have to be a specific event."

If someone is killed in an accident that results from a sign being damaged or stolen, the individual responsible for the damage could face charges of voluntary manslaughter because they voluntarily ran over or stole the sign, Ivey said.

The issue will be placed on the agenda for an upcoming meeting.

In other business, Sue Faulkner was reappointed to another two-year term on the board of trustees for Central Counties Center for MHMR.

"She's done a great job on that board and she has agreed to be there again," said Wayne L. Boultinghouse, county judge.

Commissioner Alex Wittenberg was reappointed to the Lampasas Economic Development Corporation board for another one-year term.

The court will convene in called meetings Monday through Wednesday for budget workshops.

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