• Last modified 719 days ago (Feb. 6, 2020)


Spat erupts over rock for county's roads

Novak demands session to discuss Goebel’s performance

Staff writer

A proposal from county commissioner Dianne Novak, discussed a week ago in a commission meeting and referred to county engineer Brice Goebel, sparked disagreement Monday when Goebel said that Novak’s information was flawed.

Novak said she’d researched rock quarries and trucking companies and learned that harder rock can be purchased from Nelson Quarries at Toronto for $6.60 per ton, or $8.79 less per ton than the county is now paying, and hauled to Marion County for $4 a loaded mile, saving transportation costs.

Goebel said Monday that his five-year plan will be completed and he could show it to them after Friday. Roads need to be rebuilt, not simply maintained, Goebel said.

Turning his attention to Novak’s proposal, Goebel said Nelson Quarries has better rock, based on durability and wear.

“But at what cost?” Goebel said.

Nelson’s Toronto quarry sells base rock for $8.20 a ton, he said.

“The material stated as road rock for $6.60 a ton is actually AB-3 from Gas City, which is 36 miles farther than Toronto, which has much more fines in it and is not the material needed for our roads,” Goebel said.

Goebel also said quotes from local haulers don’t come close to $4 a ton. One hauler said $4 a loaded mile would add $376 a 25-ton load to the cost. The other two said $13 and $14.50 per ton, which would amount to $325, and $362 per 25-ton load.

Novak argued that several truckers can haul the rock at $4 a loaded mile.

“What is your issue with even trying something else?” Novak challenged Goebel.

County resident Linda Peters said Goebel was “throwing out exorbitant prices” and that the county has to do something else.

“It looks like a marriage between Harshman Rock and Marion County,” Peters said.

“I resent you even said that about my integrity,” Goebel said.

Goebel said he’s looking at the overall cost.

Novak said she needed a decision from the commission as to whether the county would try and do business with another company.

Commission chairman Jonah Gehring said that’s the department head’s decision.

Novak angrily called for an executive session with Goebel “to discuss personnel matters of non-elected personnel — his performance.”

After the executive session, Goebel walked down the stairway at Marion’s courthouse looking unhappy. He was called back to the meeting and commissioners told him to look for the best price for the county.

Last modified Feb. 6, 2020