Plans presented for road work in Benton County

Benton County Courthouse

Five-year plan explained for secondary roads

VINTON – Benton County is looking ahead to five years of road work, as outlined by Benton County Engineer Myron Parizek at the Tuesday, April 14, meeting of the Benton County Board of Supervisors in Vinton.

Parizek gave a year-by-year breakdown. The county is working on three bridges this year. Culvert work is also planned, including culverts near Tara Hills and Atkins. They will work on a letting date and will distribute the plans later this fiscal year. They are also purchasing right-of-way to widen the shoulders of the road north of Blairstown.

For next fiscal year, proposed contract work will include two bridges north of Vinton, with the help of federal funding. Another bridge project is north of Dysart, with the state, Tama and Benton Counties contributing. A bridge is to be replaced east of Oak Grove Church, as well as a bridges east of Shellsburg, west of Shellsburg and north of Blairstown. Culvert work is planned west of Mount Auburn. Resurfacing is planned north and south of Blairstown, as well as from the landfill to Hannen Park. An estimate is planned for a rock base for residents south of Vinton on 61st Street Drive. They are looking at cost sharing.

Beyond that, Parizek said they hope to widen shoulders on the West Side road near Atkins, similar to what the plan is north of Blairstown, and did several years ago south of Van Horne. In a few years he’d like to also add more right-of-way to old Highway 131 north of Belle Plaine.

The Department of Transportation secondary road budget was explained. Parizek pointed out traffic has decreased since Covid-19, down by 30 percent on weekdays and 50 percent on weekends. The DOT expects a 25 percent reduction in revenue in road use tax. This will impact May road use tax revenue for the county. This could mean postponing some of the projects listed in the five-year plan.

The current five-year program was amended to carry over several bridge programs from last year into this year’s program.

Other business

Supervisor Tracy Tracy Seeman presented a proposal from Newhall to put solar panels on county property, where the maintainer shed is located. These will be used to run the city’s nearby water facility. They discussed the possibility of the city mowing a strip of grass on the county’s property, while the county might hook into the panels for their maintenance shed. Parizek felt this was worth researching. Supervisor Chairman Richard Primmer suggested looking into panels at other county facilities. This will be on the agenda for the April 21 meeting.

Benton County Treasurer Melinda Schoettmer was at the meeting regarding Masters Touch LLC for tax statement processing and mailing. This is the second year they have provided this service. Supervisor Gary Bierschenk asked about using e-service for this. Taxpayers are already able to pay their taxes online. Benton County has 17,000 parcels. It would be more expensive to send digitally instead of mail.

A land use hearing hearing was held for Damian and Jessica Andrew for land in Section 31, St. Clair Township. They are planning to build a home on an acreage on an old farmstead southeast of Blairstown. The driveway meets driveway policy requirements. The site has rural water. A new septic system is required. The board approved the land use change. Benton County Land Use Administrator Marc Greenlee said there have been nine land use change hearings since the start of the year.

The board set May 12 as the date for amendment to the current budget. The hearing is at 9:30 a.m.

There was discussion on the insurance value for the new service center. It is currently valued at $2.4 million with contents. The also discussed the value of the courthouse.

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