Burt County Courthouse 2017

The 100th anniversary of Burt County Courthouse will be celebrated June 14 with an all-day open house.

When county supervisors met with officials from the various townships recently, they admitted they will have plenty of their own work to do.

They called it a slow turning wheel.

That wheel started to turn a little more at last week’s board meeting.

Supervisors devoted much of their meeting time to roads and how the decisions they make affect the townships that go back into business in 2020.

Among those decisions is signage. Highway Superintendent Ann Chytka asked the board who will be responsible for road signs on township roads. She said Tory Penny, who takes care of the county’s signs, has been told two different things by the last two superintendents.

“We need to know so the townships can budget for them,” she said.

Dist. 1 Supervisor Cliff Morrow once served on the Arizona Township board. “Having been on both,” he said, “I don’t see how the townships can keep up with the regulations. You have to know what you’re doing.”

Road Foreman Dale Huffman said the county has been taking care of the job in all the townships the last couple of years. He suggested continuing that practice but charging the townships to install signs on township roads.

Chytka said Penny’s most recent inventory showed 80 stop signs in the county need replaced. Signs run about $27, the posts are another $16.

Dist. 7 Supervisor Carl Pearson said $50 to install a sign wasn’t an unreasonable rate.

Chytka said she’d work up a proposal for the board to address.

The board also will have to come up with a billing rate if the restarted townships want to contract with the county to maintain township roads. The county is now charging $90 an hour in the places where it already does that work, specifically Quinnebaugh Township. Conversely, Silver Creek Township hires its own contractor and pays $125 per hour.

The county’s road graders track their operational hours.

Dist. 4 Supervisor Paul Richards said an exact figure for time spent on particular roads, wouldn’t be needed. “If we can just get close, that’ll be a big help.

Board members also discussed equipment needs. While the board praised the efforts of county road crews to get the roads open in a timely manner following the Feb. 23 snowstorm, Dist. 6 Supervisor Gary Swanson said the crews probably could work more efficiently with one less road grader and one more payloader.

Dist. 5 Supervisor Dale Webster sees it the other way.

“I think they’re running with the minimum they can run,” Webster said. “When (the snow) comes, you can’t get enough equipment.”

He suggested paying off the contract on one of the county’s graders and then keeping instead of trading it in on a new model.

Board chairman Dave Schold said a decision on that front may have to wait until the townships get going.

The townships are required to file a budget this summer.