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It’s like gold

8/29/13 (Thu)

It’s like gold
Gravel becoming hot commodity 
By STU MERRY
As McLean County department heads present their proposed budgets to commissioners, the common denominator seems to be cost. Everything keeps going up. That’s probably most evident in the highway department budget.
One of the biggest anticipated increases is the cost of gravel. The proposed budget could jump 21 percent, going from $350,000 this year to $425,000 in 2014. County officials said gravel is becoming almost like gold.
“The cost keeps going up and accessibility keeps going down,” said Auditor Les Korgel.
Commissioner Steve Lee added: “We are fortunate we have some gravel around the county. Other counties aren’t as fortunate.”
The spike is due, in part, to increased crushing costs and royalties.
Fuel costs up
The cost of fuel has become another wild card. The amount spent by the county in 2012 was $342,562. About $490,000 was budgeted for this year, and that will remain proposed for next year. But is it enough?
“Fuel, that’s a guessing game,” said Highway Commissioner Ron Wagner. “You never know what winter will bring, or spring or the price – there’s three variables right there,” he said.
Also on the wish list is another bulldozer. County officials remembered the expense to the county two winters ago having to hire contractors with bulldozers to move snow. The cost – more than $1 million. Commissioner Barry Suydam reasoned that it would be beneficial to have one machine at each end of the county.