Farmer seeks compensation for damage to combine
Jefferson County Board of Supervisors amended its fiscal year 2014 IDOT Secondary Road Construction Program Monday for rock surfacing projects.
The county has been procuring rock from a local quarry, which has been the low bidder.
Brian Messer, taking county engineer Scott Cline’s place at Monday’s supervisors meeting, said the county will contract to get more rock.
Supervisor chairman Lee Dimmitt said he’d like to look at Van Buren County’s rock roads to see if the rock quality is different than what Jefferson County uses.
“What we get passes state specs,” said supervisor Dick Reed. “We could get rock from two different quarries and see if there’s a difference in quality of rock.”
Messer said the state sets specifications but there are ranges of quality within each specified category.
The supervisors approved a contract for a twin box culvert project on Brookville Road for $325,321 with Iowa Bridge & Culvert, Washington, Iowa.
“We received three bids, this was the lowest and about $50,000 under the other bids,” said Messer. “It’s 3 to 4 percent under the consultant’s estimate.”
The project will be worked on this summer. It is on a gravel portion of Brookville Road that is not part of the RAGBRAI route.
Reed noted he had asked Cline for a map of the Secondary Roads Department projects last week.
“He’s done an excellent job, providing a map with each project detailed in the five-year plan,” said Reed.
County resident Roger Buckingham appeared before the board of supervisors to ask for compensation for an accident with costly repairs due to a washed-out edge of road at a culvert.
“A month ago I was taking my combine to the repair shop,” said Buckingham. “A mile west of Pleasant Plain, there’s a rough spot near a culvert under the road. I steered toward a smooth patch, the weight shifted and the combine slammed into the pavement. I stayed upright and I stayed on the road, but if you look at the pictures I have, you wonder how I stayed on the road.”
He said repairs cost $20,900. His insurance covered all but $1,000 deductible, $1,000 the insurance took on depreciation and another $1,000 “was trimmed off,” Buckingham said.
“I’m asking for $3,000 in reimbursements from the county,” he said.
Messer said Cline had been out to see the spot.
“He didn’t consider it a severe issue, it’s about 3 inches,” said Messer.
Dimmitt said he went with Cline.
“It’s on a culvert and it is washed out,” said Dimmitt. “It’s a culvert issue. And as you’re driving the road, the spot is hidden from view as you approach it.”
Reed asked Buckingham’s speed, and agreed that sitting higher up such as in a combine would make it harder to see the washout.
“When we get into situations such as this, we set a precedent if we open the checkbook,” said Reed. “It’s rare for us to pay without a lot of research.
“We’re taking a road tour after the meeting and will look at this. Roads aren’t perfect and accidents happen. We don’t write checks often, but if I were you, I’d be sitting there also, asking. We’ll table this until we’ve looked at it.”
Buckingham said the spot has been filled in with rock since his accident.
“I’ll send my photos and the gouge in the road is still there now, where the combine dragged,” said Buckingham.
In other business Monday, the supervisors:
• Renewed a 28E Agreement with Southeast Iowa Case Management, which has been providing care in Jefferson County for 21 years.
Its website describes itself in part as “a social service agency that provides support to individuals who are diagnosed with brain injury, chronic mental illness, mental retardation, and developmental disabilities and who are Medicaid eligible. We also serve individuals who qualify as frail elderly, those who receive 100 percent county payment for services, and those who are able to privately pay for their support. ICM is a private organization that subcontracts with thirteen counties in Southeast Iowa area forming a consortium.”
• Approved a liquor license renewal for Cedar Valley Winery.
• Approved Department of Human Services request for new office furniture purchase with money from its own budget.