Rancher fixes road, wants Pima County to pay
He says it was a last resort, after multiple appeals to county officials
Reporter: Claire Doan
REDINGTON, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) – Vigilante construction or proactive problem-solving? One rancher has found a way to help the county maintain a stretch of road, but wants the county to foot the bill.
Andrew Smallhouse, the owner of Carlink Ranch, graded a 6.5 mile dirt road in Redington near his business, after multiple meetings with Pima Co. officials to get road work done. His ranch is located at the far northeast side of Pima County.
“We’re not asking for a whole lot. We’re asking for them to do basic maintenance, basic obligation to the taxpayers,” Smallhouse told 9 On Your Side. “It’s one of our only services out here and we rely on it.”
The Smallhouse family has owned Carlink Ranch for over a century, and Smallhouse said the terrible road conditions directly impact their economic viability.
“All of our business is either cattle sales or lumber sales. And if people lose their taillights or they tear up the truck when they come here, they don’t want to come back,” Smallhosue said. “We have to bring stuff in and out to make a living.”
Smallhouse said the road conditions became unbearable a year ago, when Pima Co. dropped a private contractor that maintained the road due to budget problems. It was then left dangerously bumpy, he said, threatening not only his business, but also public safety.
“We talked to the county until we were blue in the face,” Smallhouse said, explaining that he met with county officials multiple times, despite the two-hour trek from his ranch to Tucson.
So Smallhouse decided he would fix the road himself, enlisting the help of two friends and using his own equipment to grade the dirt road. He followed up by sending the county a bill of approximately $2,500 – a bargain, he said, since it didn’t involve sending a contractor out to Redington and he was willing to pay for the water.
However, Pima Co. officials refused to reimburse him, leaving him wondering where his tax dollars have gone and what measures he should resort to next.
“Some people might call me a vigilante, but I am a survivor. That’s what I would call myself,” Smallhouse said.