Highways and recycling were the main topics of discussion for the Custer County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday morning. The discussion for the Custer County Highway Department centered on the need for vehicles and asphalt projects. Custer County Highway Superintendent Chris Jacobsen said the department is in desperate need of work vehicles as employees are having to use personal vehicles for work-related jobs.
Bids were received on vehicles from Sandhills Motors and Gateway Motors. While the bid of $45,400 for a Chevrolet pickup was accepted from Gateway, the issue of being able to have the pickup delivered is the problem.
Currently, there is a massive demand for vehicles, but due to the lack of computer chips and reduced manufacturing of certain vehicles, there is no supply available. In fact, there is so much unknown as to the possible delivery date of vehicles, both bids did not have an estimated time of arrival.
The Supervisors agreed they would accept the bid, but due to the immediate need, the Highway Department would continue to look for vehicles immediately available.
Approximately twelve miles of asphalt on three county roads will likely see improvements next year as the Supervisors accepted a lone bid from Paulsen Inc. in Cozad. The $3,767,369.79 bid was $117,000 above budget and $300,000 over the engineer’s estimate of the project. It was briefly discussed if the project should be re-bid, but there was concern there would not be any further interest and there may also be an increase in the bid.
The Supervisors unanimously agreed to accept the bid, but would not award the bid until the engineer and Highway Department could look at possible cost-saving measures. The project consists of improving asphalt on 4.5 miles of Gates Road, 2.1 miles on Sumner Road, and 5.5 miles on Rhino Road. The estimated start date is June 1, 2022, with completion in the Fall of 2022.
At a previous meeting, the Supervisors asked Custer County Recycling Manager Kelly Flynn to see if there were any ways to reduce some of the costs at the Recycling Center. Flynn told the board the way things are at the moment works. He also noted that prices are up in nearly all categories of materials and most recently the plastic was double the initial estimate. He said the Recycling Center is a service to the community as it was when it was originally designed.
“The idea is to keep stuff out of the landfill and I think we are doing that,” said Flynn.
When asked by the Supervisors who retrieves the recycling trailers, Flynn said either they do or Myers Construction will gather the larger trailers that usually have cardboard. District 4 Supervisor Dwain Bryner suggested that the other towns bring the trailers to the Recycling Center to help reduce some of the travel costs. Flynn noted that Sargent had already said they would not be able to have someone take the trailer and Litchfield would likely stop using the trailer as they are out of the county.
Supervisor Bryner made a motion to ask each town to bring the trailers to Broken Bow to cut down on labor and also for the Recycling Center to look at having one of the employees only work part-time and split the rest of the time with the Highway Department. District 1 Supervisor Bobby Myers and District 2 Supervisor Tammy Kleeb both disagreed with the motion as they had concerns there was too much unpredictability with someone who works part-time, especially on the Highway Department side. The motion died due to a lack of a second.
Supervisor Bryner then made a second motion and stated that starting January 1, 2022, each community will bring the recycling trailers to the Recycling Center. The motion passed 5-1, with Supervisor Myers the lone dissenting vote.
Also approved during the meeting was signing the Highway Superintendent Certification, an MOU for a juvenile service grant with Healing Hearts & Families, and the Oconto Tower lease agreement.