County resident says gravel roads are a mess
BY BROOKS TAYLOR
Mt. Pleasant News
Gravel roads took center stage at Tuesday’s Henry County supervisors meeting.
“Gravel roads are the biggest concern to the public and us,” stated Jake Hotchkiss, county engineer. “They are not good and it will be a process to get the roads cleaned up.”
Hotchkiss said above-freezing temperatures in January always create problems on gravel roads. “I think the roads in general are in pretty good shape considering the weather. Anytime you get a January thaw, this is going to happen.
“The roads are showing a lot of distress,” Hotchkiss continued. “We are spotting the worst locations and waiting for temperatures to drop so we can close up ruts and haul spot rock to those locations with our equipment. We appreciate everyone’s patience last week.”
Canaan Township farmer John Mathews, who came in to talk to the supervisors after Hotchkiss left, had a differing view. “There has to be a crown on gravel roads. When you have traffic going through the soft spots, it gets worse.”
Mathews claimed that the substance being put on the gravel roads was not adequate. “They are putting gravel down out there but it is a lot of dirt and the gravel is not good. We don’t need half gravel and half dirt in my opinion.”
During his report, Hotchkiss also told supervisors that the contract would be awarded for bridge repair on the Oakland Mills Bridge over the Skunk River (located on Franklin Avenue) on April 18. The county is replacing abutments on the bridge. He said the bridge would be closed an estimated five weeks, dependent on the weather.
“The closure will affect people in the southern part of the county. I feel this is the most economical way to go,” the engineer continued. “It is one of those deals that will be tough. We don’t have a lot of detail until we get the contract.”
In other news from the engineer, he said county workers had begun stripping operations at the quarry and will continue for the next couple of weeks, dependent on the weather.
In addition to his comments on the state of gravel roads in the county, Mathews also asked the supervisors to think carefully before making any decisions on county salaries.
“For the last couple of years, farmers have been on the short end of the stick and it is going to get worse,” he remarked. “I pay $20,000 in property taxes. I don’t mind paying the taxes as long as the money is not wasted.
“For farmers to survive, we have to keep salaries in line,” Mathews continued. “Who represents the farmer? Nobody. That is why I’m here. I’d appreciate you holding the line on salary increases. If you give them 5 percent (raises), that is a lot of money.”
Ken Brown, executive director of The Fellowship Cup, gave his annual report. The Fellowship Cup receives $500 a month in funding from the county with the money going to the food pantry.
Brown reported that the Quarter Maybe More Store operated in the black last year with $232,373 in revenue and $225,864 in expenses.
In 2016, volunteers worked a total of 15,845 hours at The Fellowship Cup and Quarter Maybe More store.
The food pantry served 9,433 households and 23,541 individuals. Total food pantry expenses were $15,837.
Henry County’s RSVP program provided transportation for 470 individuals with medical appointment and spent 1,283 hours driving individuals to medical appointments.
County Recorder Shirley Wandling presented her fiscal 2018 budget proposal. The budget called for $234,330 in expenses, which was little change from fiscal 2017.
Supervisors will meet again in regular session Thursday at 9 a.m., in the Henry County Courthouse.