Acting Road and Bridge Director John Summerville has been puzzling over what to do about the bridge, No. 40 on the county roll, going over the headwaters of Lyon Creek on 370th west of Sunflower Road heading to Remington Road.
The three-ton weight limit “crooked” bridge actually is in Dickinson County, but “due to the offset of the road,” by agreement in 1978 and prior years, Marion County is responsible for its inspection and maintenance.
“We don’t even maintain the road,” Summerville said.
Summerville has been looking at all bridges with low inspection ratings to come up with a plan for their eventual replacement. He said the bridge had a low sufficiency rating of 20.9 from the engineering firm of Cooke, Flatt and Strobel, and, “It needs to be replaced.”
Marion County Commissioners Bob Hein, Randy Dallke and Dan Holub decided to invite Dickinson County Commissioners Everett Kolling, Sheila Biggs, Joe Nold and their administrator, Brad Homman, to see what kind of agreement could be worked out.
Nold asked if Marion County had any kind of plan for the counties to share.
Summerville smiled, and replied, “We could donate it to you.”
Nold said Dickinson has had a similar situation with Saline County where it was worked out to replace a bridge by state formula with costs paid proportionately according to the valuation in each county.
“That worked out very well with Saline County’s valuation, but it probably won’t work out so well for us against you guys,” Biggs said.
Holub, in noting that the road basically seems to serve one Dickinson County resident, said, “There’s really not much reason for our people to travel it. The next road runs into Ramona.”
Holub said it may be better to gravel a couple of extra miles of road than go to the expense of replacing a bridge.
Homman said the two counties should cooperate in getting a load-limit sign to avoid liability issues on the bridge right away to replace one shot out by vandals.
Nold said he would guess that no agricultural interests use the bridge because it is too narrow for modern farm equipment.
The Dickinson commissioners said their bridge department could plan and build a bridge if it is to be done. They suggested BG Consultants of Manhattan to do a traffic count, and all commissioners agreed the bridge probably has a very low count.
Hein volunteered the senior center at Ramona as a central point for people in the area to come to a public hearing on what to do with the bridge at noon Monday, June 2.
Hein, Dallke and Holub volunteered to travel to Dickinson County for a meeting at 9 a.m. June 5, in Abilene, to decide what to do after the hearing.
Hein and Homman agreed that within their experience, citizens come to hearings to ask to keep a bridge open, but change their minds when they hear the construction costs.
In other business:
- Michelle Abbot-Becker, Marion County emergency management and communications director, said the county lost its 911 lifeline backup and the “brains” of the 911 system due to an electrical surge following the electricity outages of the weekend. She said the ATT system automatically recognizes such a failure, and re-routed it to tend to emergencies.
Abbot-Becker said the 911 system has become “PC based” without the reliance on land lines it once had.
Sheriff Lee Becker said the system doesn’t recognize the “dirty power” of the current back-up generator.
He and Abbot-Becker said that because of this non-recognition, the system batteries run until they are fully depleted. They expect the system to function correctly in about 30 days when the county’s new “cleaner” automatic back-up generator begins operational status.
- Abbot-Becker received complaints from Harvey County residents last week when a controlled burn by the City of Florence overran its boundaries to set about 2,000 tires on fire.
Dallke said he was there with firefighters, and the fire was out “within a couple of hours.” He guessed that the Harvey County complaints actually were based on pasture fires in the Park City to Peabody area.
Abbot-Becker said there does need to be a resolution developed for greater guidance by the county for what is expected in fire suppression equipment in agricultural burns.
- The commissioners said that the sheriff’s citations for mud and manure caked on Nighthawk Road during manure dumping with up to 80,000-pound truck-loads should remain in place. Dallke said damage to the road will need to be assessed with possible charges accruing to the owner of the land.
Becker said county road equipment and the landowner both brought in equipment to remove the mud, which he said would have been hazardous to automobile travel.
- County Clerk Carol Maggard said sales tax receipts for January, collected by the state in February, and distributed to the county in March totaled $47,418.40. Maggard said it was the best collection for that sales figure since before 2001.
- Cardie Oil of Tampa was awarded half of a road and bridge area fuel bid for 2,950 gallons of diesel in areas 1 and 2 for $9,752.70 over Cooperative Grain & Supply of Hillsboro at $9,789.40. CG&S was awarded the bids for 3,600 gallons of diesel in areas 3 and 4 for $11,876.40 over a bid of $11,973.60 from Cardie.
Cardie’s tire division was awarded a bid of $32,756.55 for a list of road and bridge tires over a bid of $33,822.58 from Rod’s Tires of Hillsboro.
- Holub said he wants the county to publish requests for proposals for boat rentals and cabins at Marion County Lake because the previous proposal for such development has been withdrawn.
Dallke said experiences with developments at the lake have taught the commissioners the biggest attraction there may be the heated dock for fishermen.
- The commissioners agreed to the purchase a vacuum cleaner for more than $1,300 with attachments to improve courthouse janitorial work under the supervision of Maggard.