Several Bourbon County officials reported heavy damage to gravel roads in the area, especially in the southwestern portion of the county. Public Works Foreman Marty Pearson said that he is currently running 7 trucks to facilitate timely repair of the damaged roads. “I’ve got trucks running out of Hammond and trucks running out of the George quarry,” Pearson said.
Commission Chairman Allen Warren, who drove the roads recently, said “We’re better off than Crawford County,” which Warren explained had sustained significant water damage. Warren displayed several pictures of the damage to those present at the commissioners’ meeting, including some from Grand Road near the Blythe Ranch. Two 6 ft. culverts were overwhelmed by the influx of water from rainstorms this week. Part of the road visible in one photo showed erosion that had washed away part of the road. “That’s not a 1/2 inch of water that had eaten that out over there,” Warren said. “It’s running enough water across it that it’s taking all of the gravel with it.”
According to Warren, local resident Joe Ludlum reported that this was the first time he had seen water jump over the two large culverts under the road. “This is taking our gravel with it every time,” Warren said. Pearson pointed out that rocky soil near the area does not hold moisture, which contributes to the problem. “I have made an educated guess that we’re going to haul 10 loads of shot rock and gravel to fix it this time,” Warren said. “It’s really something, the damage it’s doing. The fence is right up against the road, so you really can’t get a ditch in there.” According to Warren, the landowner is willing to move back fences on either side of the road to allow the county easement in which to work. Warren said that the owner did not currently have cattle in the pastures adjacent to the road, and that this would be a good time to work on the road and ditches in that immediate area.
As a solution to the problem, Commissioner Harold Coleman and Warren suggested that Pearson put in an additional 6 ft. culvert to increase water flow under the road. Warren said to Coleman, “After I looked at it, I came to your conclusion–put another tube in there [to increase] capacity.”
Pearson reported that it would take 3-4 weeks to have a new culvert ordered and delivered to the county barn. “We can’t do anything immediately other than block [the road] off or put in more shot rock,” Warren said. We need to get it barricaded.” Pearson replied, “I had it fixed last week–it was about as bad last week.” Pearson and the commissioners agreed that the area needed to be repaired to allow safe travel for citizens while the culvert addition is in progress.
Of the expense of the culvert, both Warren and Pearson agreed that in the long run, the culvert was the most economical choice. “Once we know how many loads of gravel are taken and man hours are involved . . .” Warren said. “It’s going to be a lot more than a culvert,” Pearson agreed. Commissioner Barbara Albright agreed that fixing the issue permanently would be the correct course of action.”I don’t want to be two years from now having a lot of problems out there,” Albright said.
County Emergency Manager Terri Coop reported on the state’s assessment of the flood damage from the storm. “The state is asking for submission of cost on this flash flooding,” Coop said. Coop said that she and Pearson are working on numbers to submit to the state in order to ask for a disaster declaration from damages, “especially since we have 9 more days of it forecast,” Coop said. “We missed luckily what was forecast for today.”
In other business:
- Peggy Hall requested that the county inspect the road at 1685 Indian Road to ensure the blacktop was not being weakened by water damage.
- Undersheriff Bill Martin announced a going away reception for Sheriff Ron Gray, who has served in Bourbon County law enforcement for over 20 years. The reception will be held on the first floor of the courthouse from 2-4PM Thursday August 8th. According to the press release from the Sheriff’s office, the public is invited “to share memories or thoughts with Sheriff Gray.”
- County Appraiser Judy Wallis brought 2014 budget information to the meeting. “I was able to lower overtime for personnel,” Wallis said. “Of course, we’ve paid most of the overtime when we were doing valuation notices at the beginning of the year.” Wallis also reported that she was able to lower the amount of overage for GIS/Mapping from $9,000 to $7,355, and office supplies from $5,000 to $4,000. “My biggest concern is the postage,” Wallis said. Wallis explained that her postage costs do not come out of the general fund, but instead have to be included in her budget. Wallis said that her office does plenty of mailing of valuation notices during the year.
- County Treasurer Susan Quick brought 2013-2014 budget information in order to go over publication expenses. “I have $10,000 in my budget for publications in the Tribune,” Quick said. Quick mentioned that publication would be free for the rest of the year, which would reduce the expense. Warren pointed out that some of that money would still be needed in order to advertise for open county positions should they arise. Quick estimated that $2,500 had been spent so far, leaving $7,500 for the remainder of the year.
- County Emergency Manager Terri Coop estimated that she would, barring an emergency situation, come in under budget for 2013. “Basically I see my budget coming in at about 10% under,” Coop said. Coop said that she had been able to “take a pretty big bite” out of contractual services for her department.