August 26, 2015

Funding an issue as county discusses 2016 budget

By Daniel Arens

As budget season looms for the county and its departments, funding for several projects must be carefully considered by the county commission.
A chunk of money for roadwork that was set aside from House Bill 1176 of the previous legislative session has been a subject on ongoing discussion at the county. A large amount of the finances has been  set aside for Coyote Creek in dealing with County Road 25, but the company requested more money to finish the paving of the road. The county felt that the money should be more broadly spent on helping fund different road issues.
The county had initially hoped to set aside funds from the bill for County Road 37, but the roadwork there does not meet the criteria established by the bill. The county could either reallocate funds to a project like County Road 25, or could carry over the remaining money to help with the 2016 budget.
The commission determined to hold the funds for the next budget season. They held that enough money had already been set aside for County Road 25, and it was up to Coyote Creek to come up with the remaining amount if they wanted to see the road paved.
“I think it’s time that those guys step forward and say, ‘Hey, here’s what we’re gonna do and here’s the money we got’, so we know where we can go,” Commission Chairman Gary Murray said.
Commissioner Bill Tveit brought up a proposal for road work on the Sakakawea Estates road. The proposal by private contractor Trotter Construction would rebuild the road  with a top of 28 ft., at a rough cost of $20,000. The estimates for the road work being bidded out had preliminary engineering costs alone at $35,000.
Road Superintendent Ken Miller expressed concerns that the project be done right, stressing that the various factors influencing and influenced by the construction be kept in mind.  Commissioner Wayne Entze echoed these concerns, pointing out that the county should not be held liable if some detail of construction is overlooked.
Miller has not met with the contractor before, and has not been able to determine whether all of the specifications that are applied to road construction are met with this proposal.
The commission agreed to have Miller and two commission representatives meet with Trotter Construction and discuss the details before making any agreement.

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