April 4, 2006 Farm to Market Hearing
At 1:00 p.m. the Farm to Market Hearing was opened by Chairman Gruenberg, with Comm.’s Watne, and Lee present. Also present were County Engineer Roger Kluck, Assistant Engineer Dana Larsen, and Auditor/Treasurer Devra Smestad.
Chairman Gruenberg welcomed everyone in attendance and introduced Chief Engineer Roger Kluck.
Comm. Erickson joined the meeting.
Kluck gave a brief overview of the presentation and other items to be discussed during the hearing and introduced Assistant Chief Engineer Dana Larsen.
Larsen discussed the 2006 current year construction projects – Farm to Market and General Construction, and then reviewed the 2006-2011 Five Year Farm to Market Construction Program.
Kluck informed the audience that he had received two additional requests: one from Lynn Watne requesting CR 16 from Logan East to CR 23 be placed on the 5 year plan for paving and one from Dakota Skies Biodiesel requesting the County upgrade 72nd St SE from Hwy 2 north to the Railroad Tracks to County standards and then add the road to the County system.
Loren Johnson, Denmark Township, appeared to request the County pave CR 3, from CR 2 north to tie into a Renville County paved road.
Doug Pfau, Afton Township, appeared to urge the County to improve 37th Ave SW, east of Minot Chrysler & Toyota Center, which connects to 13th St SW, near Schatz Econostop Travel Center. Pfau explained that the streets currently get a large amount of traffic, and will get more use with the new Wal-Mart Super Center. Kluck and Larsen will contact the ND Department of Transportation for traffic counts on these streets. Chairman Gruenberg informed Pfau that the Board would ask the Engineer for his opinion and consider the project in the future if appropriate.
Mark Vollmer, Surrey Township, appeared to request that CR 23 be paved into Sawyer due to heavy truck traffic.
Duane Poynter, Sawyer Township, appeared to request that CR 18 from Hwy 52 to Hwy 83 be paved due to high usage of semi trucks hauling canola to Velva. Larsen pointed out that this road is not a federal aid eligible route.
Homer Nesson, Rice Lake Township, appeared to request having CR 19 extended south of Minot for use in traveling to Minot without using Highway 83.
Curt Engelhard, Ree Township, appeared regarding the finishing of CR 8 and to inform the Board that he has had many complaints regarding the discrepancy of the new load limits. Kluck and Larsen explained the reason behind the changes to the load limits and the State system. Chief Engineer Kluck will prepare a report on the issue, along with recommendations for Board action.
John Coughlin, Coughlin Construction, appeared regarding the connecting of 37th Ave SW and 13th St SW , and questioned if the project wouldn’t qualify for federal funds since the two streets would actually be connecting highways with traffic lights. Larsen explained that since the road was actually a township road, and not on the county system, it was not considered a Farm to Market road and that no other programs had enough money to cover the amount of work the road would need, but would check with to see if any new federal programs were available. Kluck explained that the streets actually fit better into the City system then the County system.
Curtis Hall, Mandan Township, appeared regarding township road maintenance. Kluck informed him that subject would be coming up later in the meeting.
Larsen then presented the GIS program/mapping effort the Highway Department has conducted and the maps that are available on the Highway Department’s website. Larsen presented the following maps: flood, school district, fire district, and ambulance district.
Rex Lenton, Surrey Township, appeared to question what happens when the districts conjoin other counties where the streets and avenues run different directions than they do in Ward County (i.e. the avenues running north and south). Larsen explained that the dispatch is handled in each county.
Larsen informed the audience that he was currently working with the ND Department of Transportation to get an updated listing of all DOT numbers on the railroad crossings in Ward County to help with 911 calls.
Discussion then turned to Township maintenance, and Kluck explained that he had requested input from both the contracting industry and the townships in regard to having the County do more township maintenance or to quit township maintenance all together. Kluck informed the audience that he had received two letters one from Newman Township, and one from Lund Township, both of who requested the County increase their maintenance.
Curtis Hall, Mandan Township appeared to ask if contractors had requested more maintenance. He commented that the County has always done a good job for them, and that they have had contractors do their work, but not as satisfactorily. Kluck commented that he had contractors ask the County to quit doing township maintenance, so he sent letters to Iota Flat and Sawyer Townships informing them of this, and was asked to continue doing so by the two townships.
Duwayne Brandt, Ryder Township, appeared to comment that he had both the County and contractors do the work, and that the contractors raised their rates without doing a better job.
John Coughlin, Coughlin Construction appeared to ask what the County charged for township maintenance. Kluck explained that by law the County could not charge less than the contractors, that currently it was $50/hour for the machine plus the man for a total of about $75-80/hour, with the rates reviewed annually.
Duane Poynter, Sawyer Township, appeared to comment that they hire a contractor for the summer and use the County for winter work, as not many contracts have the equipment to handle snow removal. Poynter also questioned why the County wanted to discontinue this service. Kluck explained that there has become a higher demand on the services provided for the County road system and there isn’t enough time, manpower and/or resources left for the townships.
Howard Rodgers, Iota Flat Township, appeared and expressed his township’s disappointment in the letter as they have the County do their summer and winter maintenance and the township appreciates the equipment and the job the County does. Rodgers suggested that the County not trade in some of its equipment and train “off-season” employees to have available at other times of the year when demands are greater.
Curt Engelhard, Ree Township, appeared and commented that his township has private contractors do half of his township and the County does the other half, that they both do a good job and that the township likes the arrangement. Engelhard also commented that the County has done a much better job of maintaining the County roads in the past few years.
Rex Lenton, Surrey Township, appeared to question if the County was going to mandate that the townships use County forces for maintenance. Kluck informed him that they were not, they just wanted input.
Loren Johnson, Denmark Township, appeared to comment that his township uses both private contractors and the County and is happy with the arrangement.
John Fjeldahl, Mandan Township, appeared requesting that the County not completely quit doing township maintenance, to use the private contractors if the County can’t address all the township needs, but to leave the options open to the townships.
John Coughlin appeared to question if the County provides gravel for the townships. Kluck explained that the gravel is provided by contractors, the County does the blading.
Dennis Beeter, Quality Construction, appeared and commented that it can be hard for contractors to purchase equipment for township maintenance when they only contract with one township and conduct maintenance once a month.
Kurt Hanson, Hanson Excavating, appeared to comment that he had taken over many townships in the southwest part of the County, and that he is mostly thanked for his work, but it is hard to please everyone. Hanson also expressed his concern over winters with heavy snowfalls and the need for contractors to have enough equipment to handle the needs.
Homer Nesson, Rice Lake Township, appeared to comment that his township needed the County’s involvement due to the heavy snow around the lake.
Chet Reich, C&C Construction, appeared to comment that he handles twelve townships. He stated that in the summer he can handle more townships, but less in the winter as manpower, not equipment, is the biggest challenge.
Geneil Evanchenko, Linton Township, appeared to comment that the County has done winter maintenance for his township, and the township opens their own roads with the county widening them when they can. He also stated that the new maintainer operator is the best they have had in many, many years.
Donn Brown, Donn Brown Construction, appeared to comment that he handles 10-11 townships with 2 pay loaders and three graders, but commented their biggest challenge was the time spent on the road between the townships. He commented that he is happy with having the County doing some of the maintenance, as long as they are not cheaper than the contracting industry.
John Coughlin appeared to comment that it appeared obvious the County shouldn’t quit the township maintenance, but not to take over everything either.
Duane Poynter appeared to ask if there was any way the County could have road construction workers, with heavy equipment experience, work for the contractors and/or the County during the winter months when they were un-employed. Larsen explained that the County’s summer help was mostly college students and older retired farmers. Kluck said that they haven’t had much interest in the past from construction workers, but would look into it some more.
Curt Engelhard appeared to comment that his township has trouble getting the roads mowed and asked the County to look into getting some extra help with that.
John Coughlin appeared to ask the county to act as a resource for those townships looking for mowing help and those contractors who would like to provide mowing services.
Chet Reich appeared to comment that not all contractors were willing to invest in mowing equipment as it can be expensive as there is a lot of work and it is hard on the equipment.
Kluck commented that if anyone had any other issues to feel free to give him a call.
Chairman Gruenberg thanked everyone for coming and providing input.
The hearing closed at 2:35 p.m.
ACCEPTED AND APPROVED THIS 18th DAY OF APRIL, 2006.
Chair, Ward County Commissioners
Ward County Auditor/Treasurer
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