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  • Last modified 218 days ago (Dec. 13, 2017)

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Gravel surfaces again at county commission

Staff writer

A county resident sent a bouquet of flowers to commissioner Dianne Novak after the pair disagreed on road gravel a week ago.

Soon after Monday’s meeting began, a bouquet was delivered to the county clerk’s office during an executive session. The flowers were brought to Novak when open session began again.

Novak read the card with the flowers and said they were from Mike Beneke.

“Thank you, Mike,” Novak said.

Beneke said he wanted to clarify what he’s meant a week ago when he asked for partial reimbursement for gravel he’d put on 280th Rd. and was refused reimbursement. Novak refused Beneke’s request because his feedlot had caused damage to the road.

“I have done this for five years,” Beneke said. “I don’t want to maintain a private road on my own property. It’s better to maintain the county road.”

Beneke said his 6,000 head of cattle are only a single digit percentage of the cattle raised in his area.

Later in the meeting, commissioners heard from a Hillsboro farmer with thoughts on the same subject.

Mike Meisinger said he wanted to talk about comments made when Beneke was refused reimbursement for gravel.

Meisinger said agriculture is one of the main industries in the county and supports other components of the economy.

Beneke was told the damage to his road was caused by his feedlot operation and it is not the county’s business to subsidize his operation.

“He is subsidizing the county if he rocks the road,” Meisinger said.

Meisinger said 15 years ago he rocked part of his own road and the county reimbursed him and agreed to maintain the road.

“I guess I think you guys need to have a policy or a protocol on that,” Meisinger said. “I think really right now you’re acting unjustly toward Mike.”

“What Mike did is — I’m just stating the fact — he took upon himself to go buy rock,” Novak said.

Novak said if everyone who wanted their road graveled did that and expected the county to reimburse, that would wreck the road and bridge budget.

“I think you need to have some sort of procedure,” Meisinger said. “I just have a problem with the whole idea that we’re pinning the problem on cattle producers and saying they’re the cause of the problem with our roads.”

Novak asked commissioners Randy Dallke and Kent Becker if they wanted to discuss the matter of a gravel policy at another meeting.

“We can’t do one one way and another the other,” Becker said.

Last modified Dec. 13, 2017

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