October 14, 2015

Commission takes cautious approach to road projects

By Daniel Arens

Following a tense public meeting on a proposed property tax levy increase, the Mercer County Commission was wary about how to approach road projects. Much of the public meeting’s controversy centered on road issues, making the commissioners leery of further roadwork plans.
Sakakawea Estates has been a source of concern for some time, which is looking at a drainage solution to flooding on its road. As part of the project, the water board has looked at redoing the road, and are asking the county commission to help with the roadwork.
Commissioner Wayne Entze emphasized the need for the drainage issue to be completely resolved before even beginning to discuss the roadwork. The project needs to have a final implementation worked out, so that costs are not expended on drafting plans that are ultimately rejected.
The rest of the commission agreed that, while the problem at the estates is real, the county has to be realistic about what it can and cannot do in terms of costs, and ensure that a project undertaken is done right.
Commissioner Wes Gunsch moved to make the road upkeep the responsibility of Sakakwea Estates, who could pay for the costs by levying a special assessment on the estates. The commission noted that the assessment would not be easy to carry out, but emphasized the cost-effectiveness to the county. The commissioners did say they had no problem helping out with routine maintenance.

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