Grand County solicits feedback on road maintenance
October 26, 2010
The way Grand County maintains 707 miles of gravel road was discussed at a recent road maintenance workshop attended by the Grand County Board of County Commissioners, road and bridge personnel and about 20 residents and business owners. More emphasis on clearing ditches, grading roads and training drivers were a few suggestions. Lee Morrow, owner of Morrow & Sons Construction said the County needs to run maintainers more and gravel trucks less. “There’s a lot of wasted motion, time and material,” Morrow said. “Ditches are full. Nobody spends time looking at the ditches. Drainage is a big deal for keeping roads in shape.” More training for new employees maintaining roads was also suggested, though the County’s high-turnover problem may be a thing of the past. “We were training people and they were getting their CDLs and then they were getting hired away by the private sector where they could make more money,” Commissioner Nancy Stuart observed. “Now people are sticking to their jobs because there are no other jobs out there.”Dan Enright, who runs a snow-plow business, commented on a lack of asphalt repair. “No crew does patch work on asphalt, so year after year it deteriorates.” Another complaint was graders driving to and from the Granby garage to Grand Lake every day instead of being stored near the area. And several gravel pit operators wondered if the County could buy gravel cheaper instead of running its own pits. Overall, road and bridge was commended on its winter work. Last winter, the department implemented a new system for tracking phone calls and emails received by customers, explained Superintendent Ken Haynes. “People can call their district foreman if they have a concern,” Haynes added. “Their cell phone numbers are posted on the road and bridge website.” When Haynes asked if the department could scrap the $23,000 to $40,000 year striping project, the majority in the room agreed. “That’s money that can go to crack sealing,” Haynes commented. Hearing comments from those gathered at the workshop was helpful, according to Commissioner James Newberry. “Our primary purpose is to maintain roads, and I think we got caught up in the landfill closure and mag chloride project.” When asked how propositions 60 and 61 and amendment 101 would affect services by road and bridge, Newberry said the county didn’t believe in scare tactics. “But there will be changes in the service we provide if these amendments pass,” he said. The bottom line is the County will likely see less money for maintaining roads. Last year the operating budget decreased 10 percent and the commissioners have asked all departments, including road and bridge, to cut another 10 percent from this year’s operating budget. “We are trying to be more efficient with what we have, anticipating a 20 to 22 percent reduction in property tax revenue,” Commissioner Gary Bumgarner said. The county road and bridge budget is $6.3 million with funds from the State and Federal Highway Users Tax, PILT (Payment in lieu of taxes), the County general fund, and sales tax. Superintendent Haynes said he would consider all suggestions and make changes during the spring. A follow-up meeting will be scheduled in September. For more information, see http://www.co.grand.co.us, or call 970-887-2123.