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County commissioners debate cost of mowing

by Dennis Sharkey

Commissioners on Monday debated the costs and benefits to mowing county roads.

First District Commissioner Lynn Luck questioned the need for the service. She said county crews mow a single strip that grows back a month later. She questioned whether or not it’s a good way to spend money.

“I really think that is something we need to look at eliminating,” she said.

Luck said she realizes that some intersections will still have to be maintained but if there is no safety hazard why mow?

Chairman Richard Malm said residents in his district see the service as a plus. He said if crews come by a second time, much of the brush is chopped up. Furthermore he said mowing the sides of the roads helps with snow removal in the winter.

Road and Bridge Director Francis Hubbard said he would develop some cost figures for commissioners. Currently only two mowers are working with another mower in need of repairs.

In other actions:

• Hubbard said there are 10 working days left in the bridge project on Ferguson Road north of K-92 Highway. Ferguson road has been closed about three miles south of K-16 Highway for a couple of months while the bridge is being replaced.

All concrete work on the bridge is complete. Embankment work, guard rails and cleanup are left to do.

• Health Department Director Beth Brown said two applicants are being interviewed for an open RN position. Brown also said that her department has found a replacement for a speech therapist.

• Brown reported that the hospice division capacity is at the max and has been for several weeks. Currently there are 17 clients in the county with another coming on board soon. Brown said the usual range is 12-15 clients but the department has consistently had 17 or 18 clients recently.

• The Health Department has contracts in hand with all six county school districts for nursing services this year. Each agreement is the same as last year with no increases.

• Commissioners approved two resolutions that re-establish fees for various county offices that were repealed earlier this year. The only change is an increase in application for development plan approvals from $100 to $200. Planning and Zoning Director Eloise Tichenor said the reason for the change is the costs involved in the process. She said the plans go through the same planning process that conditional use permits and other planning do and require notification and publication.

• New home building permit numbers are down from last year but valuation of homes is increasing.

At this time last year 17 new home sites were under construction at an average value of $86,000. This year only 14 new home sites are under construction but the average value has jumped to more than $113,000.

Tichenor said those numbers are still way down from the peak period between 2003 and 2006.

Tichenor said last year homes that were being built were smaller in size but also had less accessories. Some people decided to just add on to their current homes.

• The Planning and Zoning Commission has been reviewing the county’s comprehensive plan and regulations and there may be a desire to scrap the conditional use permit system and go back to a commercial zoning system. She said it would be similar to the way planning and zoning worked from 1977 to 1995 when the current system was adopted.

Tichenor said the system would be a use table. She said it would simplify things for the applicant, commissioners and planning and zoning staff.

“The use table just seems to be a good concise tool and more user-friendly for the public,” Tichenor said. “(The Planning Commission) was extremely responsive to the discussion.”

• Commissioners approved Roger Wood, Meriden, to another three-year term on the Planning and Zoning Commission.

• Commissioners accepted a bid of $500 for property in the Lakeside Village Campgrounds.

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Posted by on Jul 18 2011. Filed under County, County Commission, Government. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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