MORGAN — County roads need more attention, but enough money to complete the job may be a long time in coming.
County Councilman Ned Mecham recently sought to use money freed up by a change in the planning and development services department director salary for much-needed road repairs. He said it could go toward multiple days of $2,000-a-day asphalt patching throughout the county.
“I don’t think anyone will deny that we will never come up with enough money to give the roads the attention they need,” Councilman Robert Kilmer said.
The council agreed to put the planning department funds left over after the personnel change into the general fund, where it will be up for grabs. However, some council members, including Mecham and Don Mathews, are encouraging the road department to come up with a plan and request the funds as soon as possible.
The amount available may be around $36,000, but exact figures aren’t available. The county clerk and new planning and development services director will work together to determine the funds available to transfer.
“That’s just a Band-Aid to fix the most immediate problems,” Mathews said.
Many council members say they would like to see a long-term, countywide road maintenance plan. Currently, Mathews said, the plan is “whoever calls in and has the biggest pothole gets the most attention.”
“We have major problems in the county on roads,” Councilman Lyle Nelson said. “We really need to have a real plan of how to address the needs of the county roads, and patching doesn’t do it. The scope of this problem is huge. It’s a $5 million problem.”
“I have a lot of constituents who call and ask if we have a road plan,” Kilmer said. “I don’t have anything to give them.”
Councilman Howard Hansen said the last three years have seen $3 million in road repairs in the county, including work in the Croydon area. But Nelson said that money didn’t cover a lot of miles of county roads. Mathews added that some of that money came from state sources.
Plans are in place for a $2.2 million federal/state road project on south Morgan Valley Drive, as well as future plans for the Stoddard Lane Bridge.