Phelps County’s road superintendent expects to be able to only give 26 miles of county roads the chip-and-seal treatment this year.

Phelps County’s road superintendent expects to be able to only give 26 miles of county roads the chip-and-seal treatment this year.

Walter Snelson told county commissioners Tuesday during their meeting that based on the cost of materials, especially oil which has increased, he said he believes “we can only do 26 miles” of chipping and sealing.

Snelson said that “won’t make a dent” in the number of miles of roads that probably could use the chip-and-seal treatment.

A total of $400,000 was approved for chip and seal in the 2013 county road and bridge budget.
“What I hear you saying is that you need three times what is budgeted for chip-and-seal,” said District Two Commissioner Gary Hicks.

The $400,000 approved was above the $260,204 used out of that chip-and-seal fund last year.

District One Commissioner Larry Stratman said in the mid to late 2000s, he remembers the county highway department being able to chip and seal about 50 miles of county roads a year.

Also at Tuesday’s commission meeting, the commissioners received correspondence from Pella Windows after a representative from the company toured the courthouse to look at damaged windows that were installed around 1992, when the current courthouse was built. The letter from Pella states that the windows installed then carried a one-year warranty and that county officials can discuss options and prices for replacement parts with the company.

It was noted that 93 of the courthouse windows had “varying degrees of wood deterioration on the sash frames or wooden frames.” County Facilities Manager Mark Brookshire said there are more than 10 windows that need “immediate replacement.” The commission is giving Pella until Tuesday, July 16, to hear a response on prices of replacement parts.

Hicks said the windows have an “obvious design flaw” and Presiding Commissioner Randy Verkamp said he wants to keep the deterioration from spreading on the “good windows to save the ones that haven’t gone bad.”

In other business

• Among the other business conducted by the county commission this past week, commissioners received documents to close out the County Road 5240 bridge project over Beaver Creek. Verkamp said the county will request federal reimbursement of funds that can then be paid to the contractor and subcontractors. The road department is still working with county resident Eddie Farrar on his requests, such as fencing.

• County Clerk Carol Bennett informed commissioners that there are now five scheduled hearings before the county board of equalization set for Wednesday, July 17. Casey’s has dropped two of its appeals.

• The commission agreed to solicit bids to sell a 2007 Dodge Charger currently owned by the sheriff’s department. The minimum bid is $4,000 and bids will be opened July 23.

• The commission discussed using County Road 3410 between State Routes F and BB as a detour route for when the Route 8 bridge over the Dry Fork Creek is scheduled to be closed for replacement in the summer of 2014.

• Hicks asked if centralizing county road department facilities would help improve service. Stratman said he feels the cost of maintaining the current shed at St. James is minimal and having road department vehicles and equipment in that area saves on the cost of transporting vehicles and equipment to that area. However, he said the cost of stockpiling gravel or other road materials is a different story.