Commission talks updates on county roads

The Marion County Board of Commissioner met for their weekly meeting on Monday. The highlight of the meeting was hearing an update on progress being made on getting rock distributed out to roads in serious need of it.

Brice Goebel, County Engineer gave the update to the commissioners.

Goebel expressed gratitude to everyone who reached out to him the past week to express condolences on his mother dying.

“I appreciate that and it goes a long way. It’s never a good thing, but obviously she is in a better place,” said Goebel

Goebel asked for vacation extension days on a staff member who has been unable to use any time-off due to needing to be available for work. The commission voted on a 90 day extension for the employee to use his vacation time.

We have finished the installation of all the culverts, including the precast structure south of 190th,” said Goebel. “They were pretty heavy. We ended up renting a backhoe to get those in there and that still wasn’t enough. But we managed to get it all done.”

He also reported that for rock crushing, the current contractor has gotten a lot done and has been working six days a week. The contractor decided to reach out and get help from another contractor in order to speed up the work getting done.

“A lot of the problems he has faced has to do with weather. One of the things we talked about is would it be beneficial to proceed to the easier areas of Lincolnville and other cleaner areas and then he can move out to the other areas closer to winter. We can decide now or at a later time. But this way we can get going and get the material done and distributed,” said Goebel. “We can crush it right there and get it spread out. We can store it right there, too.”

Goebel explained that the Lincolnville site looks cleaner and is quicker and easier to crush. However, moving to the site means losing a week while the contractor tears down, moves, and reinstalls the equipment. Storage would be easier as he would have to move it less distance.

Gehring said he would rather see the contractor stay right where he is and keep going so more time isn’t lost.

Goebel explained that by staying at his current location of 340th and US 56/77 where he is, he could finish this spot and in case the county chooses to find someone else, they could start on the second pile and only be responsible for that one spot, where no one else has been.

The commissioners voted 5-0 to have the contractor stay in the current location.

County Clerk Tina Spencer read a COVID-19 report from the Marion County Health Department. There are currently 5 active cases, zero hospitalizations and 24 vital statistics confirmed deaths. The 14-day rolling positivity rate for the county through May 1 is 15.5 percent. All of this information and more regarding vaccines is available on the Marion County website.

Commissioner Jonah Gehring shared reports that he has read that the vaccines work on the new strains/variants of COVID-19 that have recently appeared.

Josh Housman, Director of Weed/HHW/Transfer Station/Recycling reported to the board that they had a small fire in their trailor last week, but they were able to get everyone and items out and then got the fire out quickly. He said he did not yet know the cause of the fire.

Housman said that Nelson and Fowles, LLC came out and looked at the damage and gave two different prices to repair damage to a chute and other issues. One estimate involved a rubber option and the other involved metal.

Housman explained that the work is for the back side, but he would like to do repairs on all of it, including the west side where there has been damage to the concrete.

The commission voted to go back to the rubber option since that is what Nelson and Fowles suggested.

Housman said he is looking for a new driver for recycling as his current one resigned and will be done this week. The driver does one load a week to Hutch and one to El Dorado as well as other drives.

The commission and Housman discussed the fact that finding drivers has been a national problem. They discussed the pros and cons of hiring someone or contracting out and will work on some options for both.

For a contracted driver, the driver would provide the truck, liability insurance, worker’s comp insurance and then the county would provide the trailer.

In other business, the board:

n heard that Marion County Attorney Joel Ensey has appointed Laura Viar as a special prosecutor for a case in Marion County.

n met in executive session regarding personnel performance. No decisions were made in the session.

n held a work session to make a to-do list and plan of attack.

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