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County considers contracting road repair

Staff writer

The county’s road and bridge crews may contract out maintenance work next summer, even if contractors are more expensive than doing the work themselves.

Jesse Hamm, road and bridge supervisor, told commissioners Thursday that Circle C Paving of Goddard approached him earlier this year offering to do contract work for 43 miles of chip seal. They would have charged $80,000 for the work if the county bought the material and oil.

“What I was going to do after chip seal season here is figure up my 13 employees’ wages, the three and a half weeks it took us, compared to their week and a half it would have taken them,” Hamm said.

The company can work 24 feet wide, doing chip seal on the entire width of a road in one pass.

“I’ve got a good crew who can do good chip seal,” Hamm said. “I’d put them up against anyone, contractors and all, but we don’t have the capabilities of doing 24 at one time.”

Hamm said his calculations will include every cost he can think of.

“The early figures I did — I know they need to make money — but we’re still going cheaper doing it ourselves,” he said. “But I wanted to get the total of everything at the end of this year and bring that to you guys. If I have a contract to do my chip seal, then I can continue with blade patching and getting roads prepped for the next year. Maybe that $80,000 will be cheaper in the long run.”

“All this work needs to be done at the same time,” commissioner Randy Dallke said.

Commissioner Kent Becker asked about Roxbury Rd.

“We need to get (engineer) Darin (Neufeld) back in here quick as we can because I’m getting asked every day now by more than one person, ‘we’re taking for granted 330th,’ ‘it isn’t going to get done,’ ‘what’s going to happen?’” Becker said.

Hamm said Neufeld needed until the start of September to prepare bids.

“Even if we get bids and we can’t get it done, what’s the plan going to be?” Becker asked. “Because people are scared to death about this winter out there.”

Hamm said September through November is the perfect time for a slurry or dry mix for the contractors.

Chairman Randy Dallke said road conditions throughout the county is a concern of the commission.

Bowron

Novak said the county should file an insurance claim on the Bowron building roof.

“I think the thing needs to be totally restored,” Novak said. “I think it’s a stately building. Yes, it’s going to cost a couple hundred thousand, who knows how much, to repair it, but I cannot imagine not restoring this building.”

Becker said the building would cost more to restore than Novak thought it would and wanted to see an economic development report first.

Dallke said the building needed a lot of work and suggested a private business should do it.

“It comes to the amount of dollars, and I think the dollars can be spent wiser,” Dallke said. “I’m willing to put ‘er up for sale right now without spending any money on it. There may be people out there willing to buy it, maybe.”

“I love the building,” Novak said. “I should restore it and make it my house.”

Commissioners entered a closed session for three minutes to discuss acquisition of property, but took no action.

Flying permit

County counselor Susan Robson recommended model airplane regulations at the county lake. She said certain things must be included because of the proximity to the airport.

“I think we’re going to want to limit the hours, keep it under a certain feet (ceiling), keep it to within a certain range of that model strip,” Robson said. “Do you want to prevent them, do you want to make them have insurance, rules about radio frequency?”

She said the county could even require a license.

“We need a little bit more control county-wise, a little bit more rules set, in order to protect ourselves and to protect the residents,” Robson said.

She suggested a permit system.

“You’re going to know who’s out there and you’re going to see that they have insurance on the plane,” Robson said. “But then we’re going to have to pass a resolution and you’re going to have to have somebody go out there and enforce that resolution.”

Spencer suggested codifying rules and regulation, adding a waiver of liability on the county if people do not follow the rules, and signage at the model airstrip.

In other action

  • Commissioners held a 15 minute closed session to discuss personnel wages and performance, followed by another 10 minute closed session, at Spencer’s request. No action was taken.
  • Robson said three properties so far have been redeemed out of a planned tax sale in November. “You can tell when people are getting served because I’ve started getting three or four phone calls a day,” she said. She said businesses are only redeemed if they pay in whole.
  • New county appraiser Lisa Reeder told commissioners about her first month on the job.

Last modified Sept. 7, 2017

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