Prairie City road repairs continue as point of discussion for county officials
Core sampling of the Prairie City Road by Brosz Engineering, Sturgis, has opened a new can of worms for the county.
The Brosz report was sent to Local Transportation Assistance Program (LTAP) personnel in Pierre for analysis and it changes what Cliff Reuer told county commissioners and Prairie City residents back in August.
Reuer, a LTAP employee, who recommended engineering to determine the existing grade of gravel said at that time that it could be mixed with the ground asphalt and distributed over the road, then to let it “cure” for a year and, in the third year, make the decision of whether to put oil on top of it or return the road to gravel.
Following studies of the core samplings, LTAP now says that, to bring the road up to DOT standards, crushed rock will need to be used vs. gravel.
The gravel could be gotten from the Shadehill pit but that pit belongs to Fisher Gravel. They would sell the needed crushed rock to the county but the amount needed would cost Perkins County an estimated $375,000, not including hauling to the site.
Highway superintendent Cody Green has spoken to an engineer who thinks he can get a better price but he was unable to be present at last week’s meeting of the County Commission. He’ll be there in December.
Another option would be for the county to grind the existing asphalt and mix it with gravel and then patch only the soft spots, as they appear, with the crushed rock.
Commissioner Wayne Henderson, who represents the people in the Prairie City area, doesn’t want to take any “shortcuts.” He said, “Let’s do this right the first time.”
And so….the saga continues, at least until the December 7 meeting.
Another issue has occurred on the Foster Road. Hunters have been parking in the road and leaving their vehicles to walk the area in their quest for prey. According to Commissioner Rusty Foster, who lives on that road, it’s a dangerous situation. He requested “no parking” signs be placed alongside the road. Unless the county makes an ordinance, it wouldn’t be an enforceable offense. They aren’t ready to do that just yet. Green is going to visit with Game, Fish and Parks to see if the two entities can work together to resolve the issue.
Doug Lewton, who lives just west of Hwy. 75, ¾ of a mile off Hwy 20, was present last Tuesday to make road signage request. He actually lives on 166th Ave. but that road, basically the driveway to his house, has no signage. His 911 address is Highway 20. He cited that delivery trucks and visitors often have trouble finding him and that GPS mapping has actually landed people in the middle of a corn field! Green will order signs and they will be put up at the junction of Hwy 20 and 166th Ave.
There were several other visitors to the commissioners’ board room last week:
Mel Utter, GF&P, reported on the number of predators, primarily coyote, that were taken in the past year.
Courthouse custodian Jackie VanVactor told the five-man board about several leaks found in the jury room, the Register of Deeds office and the boiler room. She said that the overhangs on both entrance doors to the building drip and leave icy spots on the sidewalks below.
Kyle Carmichael, who is chairman of the county commission and whose business is roof repair, will take a look at the areas in question and fix them. His peers authorized him to do the job, without it being a conflict of interest, because nobody else in the area does that type of work.
Ida Sander, Farm Bureau Insurance Agent who carries the county’s Wellmark health insurance package, was present to present the new rates for 2022, which will increase by nearly 14%.
County Finance Officer Sylvia Chapman is a little irritated with the increase, although it is fairly consistent with what other entities are seeing. Only a few Perkins County employees used the insurance last year.
The increase isn’t based on this county’s usage alone, according to Sander, but to the entire region to which it is a part of. Sander also cited a change in the county’s demographics, with at least 5 new employees being added – some of them younger who include a family in their policy.
“That’s just the way it works,” said Commissioner Mike Schweitzer. The new package and premium were approved for next year at a total cost of $305,752.92. Of that amount, the county will pay $244,602.34 ($25,479.41/mo.) and the employees share will be $61,150.58.
In other business: 1.) Commissioners set a public hearing for Dec. 7 at 11:00 a.m. regarding re-districting of commissioner districts following the 2020 US Census; 2.) authorized Chairman Carmichael to sign, on behalf of Perkins County, an online document in support of the American Beef Labelling Act; 3.) removed the county’s burn ban in light of recent rains and lack of forage; 4.) set Monday, Dec. 27 as a Christmas Day holiday for county employees; and 5.) approved employee Christmas bonuses to equal what they received in 2020.