Residents ask board to fix potholes

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Not everyone is happy with the way Mower County paves roads.

The Mower County Board of Commissioners promised to look into roads in need of repair in northern Mower County, specifically stretches of County Road 1 and 7, after two people approached the county board about the apparently huge potholes littering the roadway.

County Coordinator Craig Oscarson said road repair projects are often scheduled and determined by yearly funding, though the county highway department does have a crew go around the 400-or-so miles of county roads to pave roads in disrepair based on complaints.

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Some of the funding to repair those roads could come from a recently approved, $10 wheelage tax, which county commissioners publicly called attention to during the meeting.

They defended their decision to approve the wheelage tax at the last county board meeting, as they needed time to get the proper paperwork filed with the state, which will collect the tax for the county.

“It’s an issue that I think we’ve all got phone calls on, trying to explain [why we did it],” Commissioner Mike Ankeny said during the meeting.

Commissioners came under fire for the initiative in a Daily Herald editorial last week after the board approved the tax without holding a public hearing or even putting the vote on a meeting agenda.

Oscarson said the county has several options in using the tax, which could include lowering the county’s highway tax levy to account for the increased revenue.

The $10 fee, which will be paid starting next year when drivers renew their licenses, could generate up to $357,000 a year to be used in repairing and maintaining area roads.

In other news, the county:

—Approved a $7,521 grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for feedlot performance.

—Reapproved permitting for a 10-acre gravel pit owned by Paul Ulwelling to include stockpiling and crushing concrete, as well as washing aggregate, on a site near Sargeant Township.