This Week in Lincoln County – June 26, 2017

It has been an eventful weekend in my world.  My mother, who will turn 85 in August, took a little spill while playing basketball at my nephew’s graduation party. I am happy to report that she is doing well, but I think her basketball career is nearing an end.  She was able to attend the annual Colbert family reunion in downtown Louisville, MO, on Sunday, which happened to be the 141st anniversary of the Battle of the Little Bighorn.  Unlike General Custer, we had a peaceful gathering and everyone made it home safely.

A few items of interest that the Commission has been working on are below.

  • This week I want to talk about asphalt. When the weather begins to get dry and roads get dusty, we begin to get a number of calls as to why a particular road is not paved and what it takes to get a gravel road paved.  The tenor of these calls ranges from inquisitive to aggressive and everything in between, but one statement in particular that I heard recently needs to be addressed.  Because county roads are under the purview of the Commission, it has been suggested that a good way to get asphalt on a road is to put “pressure” on the Commission.  While political pressure may work in Washington D.C., it doesn’t enter into the decision making process for county road paving.  The decision to pave a road is based on an objective decision making process that takes months and even years to complete. Factors such as population density and maintenance costs are weighed against budget constraints and other maintenance needs to establish our overall paving program.  While I encourage anyone who wants to talk asphalt to call the Commission, I can assure you that phone bombardments and threats of involving the media are not the way to get anything done.  We owe it to the taxpayers to make business-like decisions and avoid the urge to make subjective decisions because they may seem like the easy way out.
  • Our current inventory is made up of 150 miles of paved roads and 330 miles of gravel roads. As you can see, there are many more roads that are gravel than paved, but as we move past the financial blow of the 2015 floods, the Commission is working to resume our new pavement program.  Asphalt prices have risen due to strong demand, so this remains a challenge.  The material alone for a mile of asphalt is hovering in the $150,000 range, which, when spread over the life expectancy of the pavement, ranges from $20,000-$30,000 per year.  The annual material cost for that same one mile of gravel is about $1,000, so you can see that   paving a road is a huge undertaking.

That’s all I have time for now.  As always, call, e-mail or stop by the Courthouse if you have questions.  Until next week…

Dan Colbert

Presiding Commissioner

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