Gary Diepenbrock wasn’t going to wait for the county to get around to fixing his road. He took the matter into his own hands.
“Sometimes you just have to help yourself,” he said. “That’s where we were at. We needed to help ourselves.”
Diepenbrock hauled, using his end-dump semi truck, 229.47 tons of Ottawa rock, which cost $4,322.94, and spread the rock over a 3/10 mile stretch of Vista Rd. north of 290th Rd., which leads to the Lincolnville Cemetery. He then submitted his bill to the county, and offered to accept $9.50 per ton of rock put down, which came to $2,179.97, just over half the price of the rock.
The commissioners felt Diepenbrock’s offer was reasonable, but were wary of what kind of precedent would be set.
The county agreed to reimburse Diepenbrock, with stipulations.
Commission Chairman Roger Fleming raised the point that if the county starts issuing reimbursements for citizens who rock roads on their own, such a system could be abused. Going forward, Fleming insisted, the requests to rock roads and receive any reimbursement from the county must be made in advance and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Diepenbrock said he talked to Road and Bridge Director Randy Crawford in advance, and Crawford approved the independent rocking of the road.
“He did not indicate, nor did we expect the county to reimburse us,” Diepenbrock said. “But if the county’s paying $9.50 a ton for this rock and they have to haul it, I felt like I should turn in a bill to see if I can get reimbursed up to that amount.
“How can the county go wrong if they have people willing to do this? And I am one of those people.”
Diepenbrock had a prepared statement, which he read to commissioners.
“You owe the taxpayers to keep these roads well maintained, useable, and in good condition, not to the local quarries buying rock that grinds to dust or dissolves to mud,” Diepenbrock recited. “I contend that we would be better off with half as much Ottawa rock rather than local rock.”
Diepenbrock also expressed concerns over county graders coming in after he re-rocked the road and grading over the rock, which spread it out and pushed some of it off the sides of the road.
“County grader operators need to be capable of assessing the road conditions at hand and be able to make necessary adjustments,” Diepenbrock said.