Wayne County Secondary Road Department battles January winter weather roads

The past few years we’ve been rather fortunate regarding winters being lighter, however Mother Nature came on strong this past month dumping many inches of snow across the state. The abundance of snow has kept the Wayne County Secondary Road Department busier the past few weeks.

During the Jan. 28 Wayne County Board of Supervisors meeting, Assistant Engineer Dan Carpenter was present to give an update on road conditions across the county.

“The big topic of conversation the last few weeks has been the weather,” started Carpenter. “We still are in good shape so far on salt really, we’ve burnt through a lot but if we get another month like the last few weeks have been then we won’t be in very good shape.”

“If we get another month like the last few weeks then I’ll be out of hay,” said Supervisor Duffy Kester.

“We’re not anywhere near out of winter yet,” said Gary Bishop, Appanoose County Interim Engineer.

The supervisors along with Carpenter have concerns regarding private individuals that have bladed the windrow off when blading near their area on county roads.

“They are cleaning out their driveway and they just push it across the road,” said Carpenter. “They take more rock off doing that than they know but most people aren’t trying to damage anything.”

“We will never recapture that windrow,” said Kester.

“It’s just my opinion but they are going to need to blade at least one the windrows off,” Bishop began. “They need to hold it up six to eight inches trying not to get the gravel.”

Carpenter added, “We need to post in the papers about what our policy is.”

“Technically speaking they’re not supposed to do that,” Bishop added. “It’s Iowa code that anybody that does any work on roads, city, county or state are supposed to have a permit for that. I know in farm country they’re just trying to survive, but we gotta be careful with that.”

“It’s a darned if you do, darned if you don’t,” said Carpenter.

“If you let one person do it, you’re going to get into a slippery slope,” said Supervisor Tom Swearingin.

“I appreciate them for doing it, or we’d have to have our guys out running 24 hours a day,” said Carpenter.

“You get concerned because some guys have been working what 20 some days straight,” Bishop added.

“I think they’ve done a good job,” Swearingin said.

“Secondary roads have done a job way above and beyond what we expect of them,” Kester said. “A very good job.”

“In particular there was a gentleman called Terry Wilhite that left a message on my phone giving kudos to the guys out there,” said Supervisor David Dotts. “He wanted it mentioned.”

“I’ve had a few calls too that I’ve mentioned to Dan,” said Swearingin.

“From one snowfall to the next, these guys take a different route,” said Carpenter regarding the schedule for blading roads within the county. “Who was first last time won’t necessarily be first this time. We do have extenuating circumstances at times where we have people who need chemo treatments and we try to get to them to get them out.”

Wayne County Sheriff Keith Davis was in attendance during the meeting asking for approval to purchase a new vehicle for the jail. Davis submitted quotes for a Dodge Durango in the V6 and V8 models.

He stated the vehicle would be used by the jail for transporting inmates in a reliable vehicle and would remain unmarked. The supervisors approved this purchase for the V* model which was priced at $30,999 with the equipment package priced at $6,966.

Bill Byrns, Director of EMC/E911 spoke to the board regarding courthouse security and the usage of courthouse employee ID cards. All county employees working within the courthouse would be issued a card following the supervisor’s approval of this request.

The board reappointed Diane Olson Schroeder to the Wayne County Conservation District for a five-year term. Dotts was also reappointed to the Fifth Judicial District.

A resolution was also approved declaring the courthouse building security plan and security video be kept confidential. A resolution was also approved to keep current with GASB34 after requested by the state auditor.

Dan Coffey was present to update the board on courthouse maintenance issues and concerns. He stated he was looking into vending machines being placed within the courthouse by the same company that has machines in East Penn, the Wayne County Hospital and Shivvers. The machines would be rented and the can money would go to the Empty Stocking Program.

Coffey pointed out windows need to be re-caulked at the courthouse. He also mentioned the alarm system needs to be finished inside the elevator to be up to code. It was also noted the ceiling tile project of the courthouse has one floor complete with two floors left to be done.

Wayne County Director of Veteran’s Affairs Joella Perry informed the board she was looking into purchasing coins for the area veterans that would commemorate the 100-years old monument anniversary. She stated the statue in Corydon was one of the first in the State of Iowa.

The 300 coins she was looking to purchase would cost $782.40. She would need to use her own personal card to pay the difference due to the county issued card having a $500 spending limit.

The board made a motion and approved an increase to her credit card limit making the new amount $1,000. This was to avoid Perry needing to use her own personal card for purchases.

Wayne County Auditor Michelle Dooley requested a new tabulator machine be purchased for the county for elections. She informed the board the county currently has five machines with no backups. It was approved to purchase a sixth tabulator that could be used as a backup some years and other years it may be needed in a sixth location.

The Board of Supervisors will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 11 at 9 a.m.

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