Extreme winter weather has put pressure on Franklin County Highway Department supplies, manpower and equipment.
Recently the county replaced a motor in a dump truck for $24,000 to get the equipment back in service, said County Highway Administrator Joe Feldmann.
“We’re calling this an emergency situation because of the snow removal and extended weather events that we’re having,” Feldmann announced at the Tuesday county commission meeting.
First District County Commissioner Tim Brinker said it was the right move to replace the motor right away.
“We had to get it back in service as soon as possible, and that’s why the action had to be taken,” Brinker said
Brinker also said there was “seamless” communication with County Auditor Tammy Vemmer’s office and with County Counselor Mark Vincent to get the work done quickly.
Feldmann noted that this type of repair is not unusual.
Presiding County Commissioner John Griesheimer asked Feldmann for an update on snow removal costs for the winter, including salt supplies.
With the number and size of the winter storms the county has experienced this year the “costs obviously are going to be higher, but certainly you guys have done fantastic in keeping the roads safe for everybody to travel to work. We appreciate that very much,” Griesheimer said.
The county has exceeded its salt budget by about 10 percent, Feldmann said, adding that employee overtime costs could also be over by that amount as well.
County Auditor Tammy Vemmer said the bills for salt/cinders that have been submitted for payment so far total $80,537. But she said there could be other purchases that she is not aware of yet. Overtime costs were at $20,629 as of the end of February, according to Vemmer.
Feldmann said he thinks the county will have enough salt to make it through the rest of the season. He added that he plans to develop a full breakdown of the costs associated with his department’s response to winter road conditions.
Brinker and Griesheimer also praised county highway crews for their work throughout the winter in getting the roads cleared of ice and snow.
“It really means a lot,” Brinker said. “I want to echo all the opinions I’m getting from folks out there in the world who are saying, ‘Hey, they’re doing great.’ ”
Griesheimer agreed saying, “You guys have done a tremendous job.”
Feldmann said he appreciates all of the accolades for his department and said all of the praise goes to the highway crews doing the work.
In last weekend’s winter storm, there were few complaints from residents, he said.
“Most everybody was happy with what we had done this time around,” Feldmann said.
Griesheimer noted that it seems most of the winter storms have been hitting on the weekends at the “worst time.”
“It doesn’t come during the week when you can hit it real easy,” Griesheimer said.