By Tia Lynn Ivey
County Manager Michael Lamar has asked the Board of Commissioners (BOC) to consider revising Morgan County’s Vehicle Damage Reimbursement Policy.
The county currently offers reimbursement for vehicle damages to citizens whose vehicles are damaged by passing county vehicles or equipment. However, Lamar noted that the policy has become “cumbersome” and “burdensome” to county staff, and hopes the BOC will consider revising the policy to protect the county against fraudulent claims.
The BOC discussed making the policy more stringent by adding a timeframe in which people must make their claims to the county and possibly requiring a police report be made at the time of the damage before reimbursing a claim. As of now, the county policy only requires a person to submit a claim in writing along with three quotes estimating the cost of the damage incurred.
“With the policy we have now, it’s become somewhat questionable if the county is responsible for the damage,” said Lamar, who noted that county staff must review several of these claims per year and usually award upwards of $500 per claim.
Most claims stem from kicked up rocks and gravel from county vehicles or mowers damaging people’s windshields and hoods.
“You just want to make sure that what you are doing is fair and equitable, but that you also set the bar high enough that if there are people interested in trying to gain the system that they are dissuaded from doing so,” said Lamar.
The BOC will consider Lamar’s suggestion and decide in the future whether or not to add time constraints and other documentation requirements to the current policy.