Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Lafayette County Leaders Explore Campaign Sign Regulations

By Alyssa Schnugg

News editor


The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors is looking at possibly not allowing campaign signs to be placed in the county right-of-way.

Image via MDOT

On Monday, Supervisor Larry Gillespie brought the matter up for discussion.

He said he is not running for office in the upcoming election this year and isn’t trying to make things more difficult for those who are; however, he said the growing number of signs littering the right-of-way is a problem.

Bushhogging season begins soon and Gillespie and County Road Payton Conner said the abundance of signs creates more work for road crews and possibly dangerous situations when a sign gets hit by the bush hog and can splinter and be thrown into traffic.

Supervisor Brent Larson said while he agrees the county needs to implement some guidelines in regard to signs in the right-of-way, he wasn’t for “changing the rules in the middle of the game.”

“I think it’s the right decision after the election but in the middle of the election I don’t think it’s right or fair to candidates to change the rules now,” he said. “I think it should be done but just after the election.”

Supervisor Chad McLarty said he would like to see all signs on private property only.

“They get in the way of our bush hogs and slow our guys way down,” McLarty said, who admitted he has placed campaign signs in the right-of-way before.

“But I put them out a couple of days before the election and pick them up after the election,” he said. “There are signs out there now that have been there for four years.”

The supervisors discussed how an ordinance banning signs in rights-of-way would be enforced even if enacted.

Board President Mike Roberts said he didn’t think fines would work because people could put up signs just to get a certain candidate in trouble and knowing who to fine can be an issue.

It’s already illegal to put signs in the city of Oxford or Mississippi Department of Transportation rights-of-way.

The Board tabled the discussion to give county leaders time to see how other local counties have handled their sign littering issues and bring suggestions back to a future meeting for discussion.