Phelps County highway department workers are still working on repairs to roads and bridges more than a month after floods caused more than $700,000 in damages last month.
Because of the continued work to recover, other road projects that the department would normally be working on this time of year have been delayed.
Among the projects delayed is asphalt overlay work on Twitty Drive and Old St. James Road (County Road 3060), County Road Superintendent Walter Snelson told county commissioners this past week.
“It was our intent to hot deck Twitty Drive or Old St. James Road this year, but I’m not sure if it will be this year,” Snelson said Tuesday.
He reiterated the point at Thursday’s commission meeting, noting, “We couldn’t chip and seal any roads this year because of the floods.”
In July, Snelson told the commission that he had enough in his budget to give 26 miles of county roads the chip-and-seal treatment this year. A total of $400,000 was approved for chip and seal in the 2013 county road and bridge budget.
In other business
• At Thursday’s commission meeting, the commissioners heard from Paul Munger, Charles “Chuck” Morris and Todd Dablemont, of Benton & Associates, Inc., consulting engineers/land surveyors about services they could offer to the county.
A few years ago, the former business Morris & Munger Engineering merged with Benton & Associates, which specializes in hydraulics and hydrology engineering, including low-water bridges.
The representatives told the commission they could rank bridges in the county based on risks. Munger also said the company has a stream model that looks at potential problems in streams and creeks, such as incision, erosion and sedimentation.
• Also at Thursday’s meeting, commissioners briefly discussed how the new health exchanges, which are expected to be ready Oct. 1, under the Affordable Health Care Act, will affect county employees.
It was noted that for large groups like the county has, employees will be given the option to use a health exchange if they choose instead of the county’s insurance, however, those individuals will not be eligible for a subsidy from the federal government to help pay for it.
District One Commissioner Larry Stratman said he foresees three options for the county — renew the county’s contract with United Health Care, the county’s current health insurance provider; look at a self-funding option; or drop the current provider and let all county employees use the exchanges.
Presiding Commissioner Randy Verkamp said before a decision can be made, “we need to see the rates first (for all three options).”
• The commission approved an application for federal and state public assistance after record-setting floods impacted the county in early August.
Page 2 of 2 - • The county commission will not hold their regularly scheduled meeting Thursday, Sept. 26. Verkamp and County Clerk Carol Bennett will be absent.