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Commission contemplates $1M of road projects

Staff writer

Marion County Commission instructed Road and Bridge Superintendent Randy Crawford to get an estimate of what it would cost to double chip seal approximately 30 miles of gravel roads that were previously blacktop.

The county plans to double chip seal three miles of 90th and 120th roads from K-15 west to the McPherson County line and possibly five miles of 330th Road immediately east of Tampa. That would leave about 22 miles to hire a contractor. Crawford estimated the cost for a contractor to double chip seal a road at $40,000 per mile, resulting in a rough estimate of $1 million.

Commissioner Randy Dallke raised the idea of the costly project on the basis that it would be extremely difficult for the department to catch up on double chip sealing without neglecting other needs.

Roads that would require contractors to complete would be 330th Road from K-15 west to the McPherson County Line, 120th Road between K-15 and Indigo Road, 60th Road between Peabody and Timber Road, and 40th Road between Timber Road and U.S. 77.

Crawford also spoke about his goal to get the department operating more efficiently, like a construction company. He said there is too much of an attitude among employees of not doing things because it isn’t specifically their job. As part of his effort to combat that attitude, Crawford wants more cross-training in the department.

“There’s a lot of laziness, but there’s a lot of skill,” he said.

One way to improve efficiency could be to switch to a work week with four 10-hour days in the department during the summer when crews travel around the county for projects. That would reduce time spent driving too and from work sites, Crawford said.

Commissioner Dan Holub asked what road grader operators did during the long dry period before the weekend rain. The time was long enough they should have had plenty of time to grade all of their roads.

Crawford said they can pull the shoulders on dirt roads during those times. But too often they pull dirt and grass onto gravel roads from the shoulders. He said the test of whether a gravel road is good enough is whether a “soccer mom” driving a minivan could get through.

In other business:

  • Tim Peterson resigned his position as a dispatcher, Emergency Communications Department Interim Director Linda Klenda said. Klenda said Peterson plans to run Sharon’s Korner Kitchen in Peabody. The county will advertise for a new dispatcher.
  • Marion Elementary School fifth-graders Drew Helmer, Jarred Rahe, Devin Soyez, Hap Waddell, and Larry Zieammermann visited the meeting and were recognized for each reading more than 700,000 words worth of books outside of school this year.

Nov. 30 meeting

At the Nov. 30 meeting, the commission reviewed all employee evaluations that had been completed by department heads to date. The next step is for department heads to meet with employees individually to review their evaluations.

General sales tax receipts for September sales were $52,636, a decrease of 13.8 percent from September 2010. However, overall sales tax receipts for the year are up 1.9 percent from the same period of 2010. Sales tax receipts for the jail project were $46,742, bringing the three-month total to $139,822.

Dallke proposed installing signs along major roads directing travelers to towns in the county, using the new larger lettering standard for road signs. The proposal was approved, and the commission will seek Crawford’s recommendation of where signs should be placed.

The next scheduled commission meeting will be Monday.

Last modified Dec. 8, 2011

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