Letter to the editor

Gary Mauer

In response to Mr. Keninger’s complaint regarding the Secondary Road Department and roads at the meeting of the Board of Supervisors on May 28, 2019, which was reported in The Grundy Register on May 30, 2019, Mr. Keninger is correct in saying that the gravel roads are in rough condition. However, this is not due to inferior maintenance. Grundy County spends over $2 million on its rock-surfaced roads (including snow removal), and the Road Department will receive $1.75 million in property taxes in fiscal year 2019.
I have visited with surrounding county engineers, and they have said the same thing—rock surfaced roads are in tough condition. We had over 21 inches of rain last fall (saturating the soil) followed by 60 inches of snow this past winter (which broke an all-time record) and a colder than normal winter, all of which contributed to the poor conditions. This spring has been wet and cool and has not allowed the roads to dry out and firm up. It is difficult to blade roads when the conditions are too wet. The Grundy County Secondary Road Department exceeded the snow removal budget by over $100,000. The rock that was hauled this past spring is now embedded in the soft roads and no longer visible. The county is required by law to stay within its budget which means that other line items in the budget must make up the difference. The current FY2019 Secondary Road budget had to be amended due to these increased costs.
Mr. Keninger failed to mention and the Grundy Register did not print that his road (130th Street) will receive 250 tons of road stone per mile this summer as reported by Supervisor Schildroth at that meeting. Grundy County has 93 miles of Farm to Market (FM) rock-surfaced roads, and beginning in fiscal year 2013, the board of supervisors authorized the road department to resurface FM rock-surfaced roads every year, putting those roads on a three-year rotation. The other rock-surfaced roads (540 miles) received 100 tons per mile last year. This summer, this will be increased to 135 tons per mile (a 35 percent increase). A construction project had to be delayed in order to accomplish the increase in rock surfacing.
The Grundy Register reported in the article that according to Mr. Keninger, he witnessed county employee(s) making personal purchases at Norby’s Farm Fleet. This is not what Mr. Keninger said. He said he heard county employees talking about personal sprayer parts, of which no personal purchase(s) were made using county funds according to our records. The Secondary Road Department does own a lawn weed sprayer to spray weeds on yards around county shops. Parts were purchased for that weed sprayer last fall. The Grundy Register incorrectly reported this and should retract that statement. Just because a person says something does not mean it occurred. The Grundy Register should follow up on serious accusations before printing in the newspaper.
We are doing the best we can to maintain the rock-surfaced roads in Grundy County while staying within the budget in a situation that is out of our control.
Gary Mauer
Grundy County Engineer

The Grundy Register

601 G. Avenue - P.O. Box 245
Grundy Center, IA 50638
Telephone: 1-319-824-6958
Fax: 1-800-340-0805

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