County focuses on road repairRoads were the main concern dealt with by the Stutsman County Commission during its regular May meeting Tuesday. “Just on our main collectors we are looking at about $4 million in damages,” said Mike Zimmerman, county road superintendent. “The state is reviewing the report now and will decide what will be covered next week.”
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
Roads were the main concern dealt with by the Stutsman County Commission during its regular May meeting Tuesday.
“Just on our main collectors we are looking at about $4 million in damages,” said Mike Zimmerman, county road superintendent. “The state is reviewing the report now and will decide what will be covered next week.”
The principle county roads are referred to as the main county collector system and are covered by a program of federal funds administered by the North Dakota Department of Transportation. The program designed to deal with the washouts caused by flooding this spring is called the Emergency Relief program and will cover 80 percent of the repairs leaving the county with a 20 percent cost share.
“The state will determine which of the damages they will cover based on the location of the damage,” Zimmerman said.
Along with the roads Zimmerman also expressed concern about some bridges in the county.
“Bridges that have been under water will have to be inspected before we open them to full traffic,” he said.
There are currently three bridges, all over Pipestem Creek, ready for inspection and are open for car traffic only at this time. Two other bridges on the James River are still under water.
The commission also made loan money available to townships in their efforts to repair roads.
Noel Johnson, Stutsman County chief operating officer, presented a list of 15 townships who had expressed an interest in borrowing a total of $375,000.
“I want to help these guys but we need to make sure we get this money back,” said Mark Klose, commission chairman.
Johnson said the county has accumulated a reserve of nearly $1 million over the past years by banking any unanticipated revenues, often state estate taxes. The funds are the likely source for the county share of any road repairs necessary.
Debate on the loan program centered on the townships’ ability to repay the loans at an interest rate of 5 percent over a 10-year period. The loan program also initially included a provision that only Federal Emergency Management Agency-eligible repairs would be covered, making the loan program a short-term program covering expenses incurred by the township with a large share repaid to the county when the FEMA payment was received.
“There will be expenses not covered by FEMA,” Johnson said. “Most of the counties don’t have the resources to cover their share of the covered expenses much less the 100 percent cost of non-covered repairs.”
In the end the commission approved a program where the county would loan townships 100 percent of the cost of FEMA covered expenses and up to $10,000 per township for non-covered expenses. The program was also capped at $250,000 in loans for non-covered expenses.
The county also heard from Nellie Degen, a cabin owner on the Jamestown Reservoir, asking the county to consider participation in the National Flood Insurance Program. A representative of the program will be invited to a future commission meeting.
The Stutsman County Park Board approved sending a letter to all cabin owners on the reservoir concerning dogs running at large.
The Park Board also heard a report from Dennis Lorenz, park superintendent, estimating it would be at least a month until boat launching facilities at either the Jamestown or Pipestem Dams would be out of the water and dried out enough for use. He estimated the water would need to fall at least 8 feet for the highest launching facility to be useable.
For reference Lorenz pointed out that the elevation of the beach at the Jamestown Reservoir was 1,433 feet above sea level. The lake level is currently 1,453 feet above sea level.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at
(701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org