McCOOK, Nebraska -- The chairman of the Red Willow County, Nebraska, board of commissioners doesn't want to start road maintenance for one subdivision because then every other subdivision will want the same treatment.
And, commission chairman Earl McNutt said he's worked hard to treat the county's six subdivisions the same -- no county maintenance on roads that are not publicly owned. McNutt said he's set a precedence in the past, that the county does not maintain roads in subdivisions.
Taking over maintenance of a road inside the Calabria Subdivision northeast of McCook "would be a huge mistake," McNutt said. "Or there are going to be more subdivisions approaching the county" for the same treatment.
In fact, McNutt said, a subdivision developer appeared before commissioners Monday morning asking about the proper procedure to request county maintenance of the roads in the subdivision, north of the fairgrounds in McCook, in which he lives.
"This could have a domino affect," McNutt said, in regard to cost, labor and equipment to maintain roads in subdivisions.
Commissioners tabled -- again -- any decision on a request from homeowners in the Calabria subdivision northeast of McCook that the county maintain their roads. The homeowners are not asking for improvements, two homeowners reiterated Monday, just gravel and blading when it's necessary.
McNutt will contact Lloyd Smith, the county's roads superintendent who lives in Valentine and works for Niobrara Valley Consulting, to request that Smith inspect the subdivision roads and research their history -- whether they were dedicated to use by the public and built to city or county roads standards, whichever is more stringent. If the answer is "yes," to both questions, by state statute, the county must maintain the roads -- even though the plat for the subdivision was originally approved (in the late 1990s) by the City of McCook -- because it is within the city's two-mile radius -- and the county had no voice in the plat's approval.
County Attorney Paul Wood recommended that Smith investigate and research the roads and the plat. "What if part (of the subdivision roads) meets standards and part doesn't?" Wood asked. "Which is more stringent -- the city's (standards) or the county's?" Is there guidance in the law, he asked.
Commissioner Steve Downer said the county board needs to have Smith do the study, and look into making the subdivision roads public roads. "All the other subdivisions would have to jump through the same hoops," Downer said.
"There's not a big advantage to being part of the county road system."
Fellow commissioner Vesta Dack agreed with Downer, but McNutt said he's "trying to make the responsibility fall where it should, with the developer."
Another subdivision developer "understands the responsibility," McNutt said, and assesses regular maintenance and improvements to homeowners. "I don't think this is a situation for the county to be in," he said.
The subject returns to the commissioners' agenda on Monday, July 11, at 9:30 a.m.
Commissioners divided road gravel needs in 20 precincts among three providers when chairman McNutt opened annual gravel bids Monday morning.
Hancock Gravel was awarded: Bondville Precinct, bidding $7.21 per ton delivered; and Fritsch, $7.38. Hancock's bid if the county hauls gravel from its pits: $5.35 per ton.
Paulsen Inc.: Tyrone, $7.88 per ton; East Valley, $7.33; Indianola, $6.99; Red Willow, $6.99; North Valley, $7.65; and Alliance, $7.25. Paulsen's FOB is $5.50 per ton.
EIA LLC: Lebanon, $7.42 per ton; Beaver, $7.01; Danbury, $6.47; Gerver, $5.93; Grant, $6.02; Missouri Ridge, $6.95; Valley Grange, $5.37; Driftwood, 5.32; Willow Grove, $5.37; Perry, $5.37; Box Elder, $6.17; and Coleman, $5.66. EIA's FOB is $6.
Commissioners approved and signed a disaster declaration presented by Red Willow County Sheriff Gene Mahon in which Red Willow and Furnas counties are seeking $150,000 from the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, for repair of damages to public and private property (particularly to Nebraska Public Power District electric lines and poles) caused by severe storms and flooding between May 24 and June 24.
Myra Stoney of McCook presented the annual report from the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department to commissioners. Stoney said the health department does not request county funds, but reports activities and projects to county commissioners each year.
The health department was established by the State of Nebraska on May 14, 2002, and is one of 18 health districts formed as a result of LB692. The health department system is funded by federal tobacco settlement funds.
The mission of the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department, in partnership with other entities, "is to promote a healthy and secure quality of life for our communities."