Wet conditions continue to affect roads
Sauter Township to receive help for 2009, 2010 flooding
COUNTY – Excess water in Walsh County in one form or another had the attention of the Walsh County Commission at its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday at the Walsh County Courthouse.
With all members, Ernie Barta, Jack Karas, Lawrence Burianek, Allen Ruzicka and Luther Meberg present, the board voted unanimously to help Sauter Township pay contractors for road repairs as a result of flooding in 2009 and 2010.
Luther Meberg made the motion and it was seconded by Ernie Barta to loan Sauter Township up to $150,000 to pay contractors for work done while they wait for reimbursement from FEMA.
Conditions for the loan are for it to be interest free for 30 days with three percent interest charged after that.
With nearly constant moisture in the form of rain and snow over the past month and farmers trying to get their crops out of the fields, mud on roadways throughout the county has become a major problem.
According to Walsh County Highway Superintendent Sharon Lipsh, nearly every road in the county has been affected.
“You can pick any gravel road in this county and they’re pretty much destroyed,” Lipsh told the commissioners Tuesday. “Our county trucks are even sanding pavement today (Tuesday) so drivers have something to drive on.”
Lipsh told the commissioners that as of yesterday, 50 sites in the county where damage to roads has occurred have been documented. She asked the commissioners for advice on how she should proceed to remedy the problem.
Commissioner Lawrence Burianek commented and the rest of the commissioners agreed that the expense of blading and re-graveling roads was too much for the county and individual townships to absorb. There was also concern that most of the gravel being applied this late in the season would end up in the ditch because it wouldn’t have time to get packed down.
Without a formal motion, the commissioners instructed Lipsh to go ahead and implement the county’s mud on roads policy which calls for the county to fix the damaged roads and then bill the landowner and renter for the expense.
Lipsh also informed the board about a couple of state grants available. The first would come from the 2014-2017 Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).
Lipsh identified a two mile stretch of Walsh County Road 12B south of Park River as a good candidate project to be submitted for the grant.
Lipsh also informed the commission about federal funds distributed through the North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) for railroad crossing safety projects.
Lipsh said several crossing in the county are in tough shape and identified four crossings including County Road 1, West of State Highway 18; County Road 7 in Adams; County Road 22 near Fairdale, and County Road 6 in Nash.
In other business the commissioners, upon the recommendation of the Walsh County Water Resource Board, unanimously passed a motion to increase the special assessment for maintenance of the Fairdale Drain to $2 per acre for the remaining six miles of the drain that needs to be cleared and any other maintenance that may come up. A public hearing on the matter was held Oct. 30.
The commissioners were also informed by Walsh County Sheriff Lauren Wild that two new employees have been hired. Wild said Katie Fruetel has been hired as a road deputy for the county to replace deputy Adam Koenig who resigned Oct. 16. He also said Jeremy Quale has been hired as a new jailer at the Walsh County Law Enforcement Center and his first day of employment will be Nov. 19.