Rains challenging county road dept.

After two years of drought, this year?s frequent rains are causing gravel to be absorbed into the earth faster than the Road and Bridge Department can apply it, director Randy Crawford told the Marion County commissioners Monday.

Adding to the problem, Don Stenzel, whose farm is located on Old Mill Road in the northern part of the county, said increased traffic by oil drilling industry vehicles and equipment is rutting and deteriorating roads so quickly that he has to slow spring planting frequently to deal with machinery damaged on the roads.

Stenzel said in some areas, road surfaces and shoulders are nearly gone, leaving a surface of ditches.

Stenzel said that even the formerly good road surface past Strassburg Baptist Church on Remington Road is developing bad pot holes in the wet weather.

Crawford said his crews can divert time from normal road maintenance to patch bad areas with added rock in places such as Remington Road, but there is nothing he can do about heavy oil-field equipment because oil and gas companies are entitled to use public roads just like other citizens.

In other matters, Diedre Serene, Health Department administrator, said she is concerned that Marion County, as a less populated county, could eventually be among the rural counties directed by the state to combine health services with more populous counties?unless county residents show strong support now for local hospitals and services.

Both her department and county hospitals are maintaining levels of service now that the public needs to use to keep, she said.

?I would hate to see the hospitals and clinics not be here,? she said.

Commission Chairman Randy Dallke and Commissioner Dan Holub said they would like to see the county mill levy dropped from 67 to 65 or 64 during their terms in office, perhaps even this year.

Tonya Richards, Planning, Zoning and Environmental Health director, reviewed a new survey of citizen services offered in county through her office, including land surveyors, well drillers, sewer contractors, concrete companies, electricians, plumbers, heating services, landscaping and lawn fertilizing.

Emergency Management Director Dan D?Albini said weekend storms generated reports of golf-ball-size hail at Florence, and some wheat laid over by wind and precipitation.

The commissioners said they would support Gayla Ratzlaff, Department on Aging coordinator, in using departmental funds to encourage more senior citizens take advantage of meals provided from the Peabody Senior Center. Ratzlaff said senior citizens don?t have to eat the meals at the center, but can carry them out, or take them frozen to reheat for later use.

Concern is that if participation doesn?t increase at the center, it could lose funding.

The commissioners gave permission to Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt to remove an 8-foot-tall heavy chain-link fence from the old jail for use at the transfer station.

















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