April 3, 2007 Farm to Market Meeting
At 1:00 p.m. the Farm to Market Hearing was opened by Chairman Watne, with Comm.’s Fjeldahl, Gruenberg, Erickson, and Lee present. Also present were County Engineer Roger Kluck, Assistant Engineer Dana Larsen, and Auditor/Treasurer Devra Smestad.
Chairman Watne welcomed everyone in attendance, and introduced Smestad, Kluck, Larsen and the Commissioners.
Kluck informed the audience that they would be presented an eight and ten mill construction plan and after the presentation, they would be given an opportunity to comment and ask questions. Kluck also explained that not every county road is a Farm to Market road; that the mill levy pays solely for the construction and maintenance of Farm to Market designated roads and State Aid Highway Distribution pays for the operational costs of the Highway Department.
Kluck presented the Board with a letter from the City of Sawyer informing the County that a citywide paving district was being created and requesting the County participate by overlaying the county roads that are within the city, with the hopes of completing the paving in 2008.
Larsen discussed the 2007 year construction projects – Farm to Market and General Construction, and then reviewed the 2007-2012 Five Year Farm to Market Construction Program under a ten mill plan and an eight mill plan. Larsen also informed those in attendance that bridge replacement evaluations were conducted every two years by the state and are placed into the plan prior to knowing which bridge(s) would be replaced.
After the presentation, Kluck introduced Rick Melchert, the new Road Foreman for Ward County.
John Coughlin then appeared for comment requesting the Commissioners to continue on with the ten mill program.
Casey Tompkins, Surrey Township Supervisor appeared and stated that several people from Surrey, New Prairie and Sawyer Townships were present to question why the paving of CR 23 into Sawyer was not placed on the plan. Kluck informed the Board and audience that a new traffic study had to be conducted before funding could be pursued. Previous studies indicated a low traffic study.
Kluck also commented that until the Legislature decides if they are going to place caps on the Counties, as in proposed legislation, and until the Commissioners vote on an eight or ten mill program, it is unknown if the County will be able to pave any new roads or if they would be forced to maintain the current roads.
Comm. Lee requested Kluck and Larsen to explain how federal aid is allocated to each county. Kluck and Larson explained that it was determined by the County’s population, the miles of road in the County and the mill levy program. They further commented that North Dakota is a “receiver state” meaning they get back $2 for every $1 spent on road projects.
Tompkins then questioned when the last traffic count on CR 23 was conducted. Larsen informed him that it was done about two or three years ago and it wasn’t even 100 vehicles per day. Discussion was held on CR 23 south to Sawyer versus CR 23 north to Deering.
Mark Vollmer, Surrey Township Supervisor also appeared to question if CR 23 would need to be re-built prior to paving. Kluck and Larsen informed him that the road would be need to be widened to at least 36 feet and that many of the curves would also need to be rebuilt.
Bob Whitted from New Prairie also appeared to state that he would support the ten mill program.
Chair Watne asked for a show of hands to support the ten mill program. The majority of the audience raised their hand. Chairman Watne then asked for a show of hands to support the 8 mill program; no one in the audience raised their hand. When asked about a possible 15 mill program, one comment was “yes, we like good roads.”
Minot Chamber of Commerce President John MacMartin appeared to inform the Board that he was representing the Minot Chamber of Commerce who endorsed the ten mill road program. Comm. Lee requested MacMartin ask the Chamber Board their opinion of a 15 mill program.
Curtis Hall from Mandan Township appeared to report some problems on CR 9A near 30th Ave in the Berthold area. Kluck informed Hall that he and the Road Foreman would schedule a meeting with him to review the area.
Kluck informed those in attendance that several townships had requested the County to take over road maintenance and asked if there were any other interested townships. Tompkins and Vollmer requested rate information. Kluck informed them that it was currently at $75-80 an hour as per state law, but that he was researching if it could be lowered. Chairman Watne requested that Kluck keep the Townships informed when he receives an answer on the rates.
Chairman Watne thanked everyone for attending and providing input.
At 1:58 p.m. the hearing was closed.
ACCEPTED AND APPROVED THIS 17th DAY OF APRIL, 2007.
s/Darlene Watne, Chairman
Ward County Board of Commissioners
Ward County Auditor/Treasurer
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