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County paving plan challenged

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Cherokee County Board of Supervisors heard from two citizens who questioned during the a paving project of four miles of gravel road during the Tuesday meeting of the supervisors.

The planned project of paving 480th Street is expected to take place in two parts, with the first part being between F Avenue and Highway 143. The second part is between F Avenue and L-40.

The road is expected to handle truck traffic from the north going to the biodiesel plant under construction near Marcus.

Jim Nielsen and Bruce Dreckman questioned both the cost to the county and the impact of increased traffic on that section of road.

Nielsen predicted that most truck traffic would not use the new paved road since the majority of truck traffic will not come from the north. He also predicted that the actual cost will be more than the $2 million estimated for the four miles once such expenses as purchasing right of way and moving a Sands Seeds building are factored in.

Ron Wetherell, board chairman, said that the area of the county where the paving is planned has crucial elements needed for industrial development including access to a major water source, access to natural gas, and access to rail transportation. "Don't you want to see the area grow?" Wetherell asked.

Larry Clark, county engineer, said that the road would divert truck traffic from Marcus.

"This enterprise zone has a lot of potential," Clark said.

"A lot of times when you build for something to come it doesn't always come," Nielsen said.

The matter was not an action item.

In order for the board to have a quorum for action items, Terry Graybill was called at home where he was sick with the flu, so he could participate with Wetherell and Jeff Simonsen. Mark Leeds and Dean Schmidt were both out of town and had not been expected to attend on Tuesday.

The three in attendance voted to accept the one bid submitted for snow removal. This was after hearing from Ginger Walker, conservation director, about the possibility of the conservation department handling snow removal in the block containing the courthouse and law enforcement center.

Walker said that she is willing to try this although her initial reaction was that it would not be practical. During the winter, there are only two other conservation employees besides herself. Maintenance projects that cannot be accomplished in the summer are done in the winter.

The supervisors approved the purchase of a digital camera for the Cherokee County Medical Examiner. During an earlier meeting, the supervisors questioned whether a $2,200 camera was needed but it was determined that in some situations, picture quality could be essential.

Mike Halder of the secondary roads suggested to the supervisors that one of the supervisors should attend monthly safety committee meetings for the secondary roads employees. As per prior discussions, Mark Leeds was designated to serve this function.

Dave Skou of the Cherokee County Communication Center at the Law Enforcement Center and 911 Board member, presented a request to the supervisors for taking care of the landscaping (most likely putting white rock on top of a mat) inside a fenced area where there is a new emergency generator for the communication center. Skou explained that there are certain restrictions on the use of 911 funds and such a landscaping project is not an approved use.

The supervisors approved the request.

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