County facing backlog in road work

The county road and bridge department is being stretched to the limit.

Dana Gleason was at the Marion County Commission Monday to protest road conditions in his home area between 90th and 120th on Chisholm.

Gleason said road conditions for the 14 families living along that stretch of road are untenable with county tree trimming in the ditches and five expanses of water puddles to drive through.

Road and Bridge Director Randy Crawford told Gleason, ?We?ll take care of you as soon as we can this week (barring another round of rain).

?You can get home right now,? he added. ?We have to take care of people who can?t even get home yet because of the rains. You have to understand that we have 1,600 miles of roads to take care of. There are people (even on dirt roads) who have to get to fields for wheat harvest starting in about two weeks.?

Crawford said if it begins to rain again this week, it will set his ?undermanned? road and bridge crew even further behind.

The commissioners approved a plan presented by Wayne Scritchfield, consulting engineer with the firm of Kirkham Michael out of Ellsworth, that would give 100 percent state government financing for $381,685 of road upgrades in the north half of the county and $456,550 in the south half for 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Commissioner Randy Dallke asked that the upgrade begin in the southwest part of the county because of the higher population there.

Commission Chairman Dan Holub said he liked the roads program, but warned that the state hasn?t approved its budget yet.

The commissioners approved a road and bridge bid of $3,200 for companies with hydrovac equipment to locate utility lines on Nighthawk, including $1,000 for contractor flagmen, from Energy Construction Solutions Inc. over competitive bid of $6,000 from both Miles Construction and Nowak Construction Co. Inc., and $7,600 from McCullough Excavation Inc.

The commissioners met for five minutes in executive session to address personnel with Crawford. No action was taken when the public session resumed.

The commissioners approved granting the Marion County Fair Board $6,185.15 from sales tax for 2016 to continue making improvements.

Holub said it is ?phenomenal? what the board was able to accomplish for this year.

Board president Myron Regier said the fair is not a profit-making business, seldom clearing more than $700 a year, but relies largely on merchant donations and volunteer labor, particularly by fair board members.

About 22 to 23 percent of the financing comes from the county, he said.

Although attempts to locate commercial kitchen schoolings and upgrades weren?t successful at the fairgrounds, Regier said, work has continued to upgrade the kitchen in the foods building.

Regier said the effort includes electrical and gas upgrades and state-approved fiberglass sheeting over drywall?all necessary to keep the current food vendor.

Extension Agent Rickey Roberts said volunteer labor at the fairgrounds has been of utmost importance each of the 15 years he has been here. Roberts said he just returned from 4-H camps, and he expects to focus on the upcoming fair until it?s over in July.

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