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County board discusses safety concerns at entrance to Aurora Co-op elevator

The Superior Express of Superior, Nebraska

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The Nuckolls County Board at Monday's regular meeting discussed safety concerns regarding the entrance to the new Aurora Co-op elevator east of Superior with Gary Warren, county highway superintendent, and Jeff Wagner, road and bridge engineer.

Apparently, the access road that runs parallel to Highway 8 is releasing so much dust, grain truck drivers are not able to see each other. Additionally, when the wind blows from the south, the dust is causing major visibility problems on Highway 8.

Commissioner Doyle Christensen asked if it would be worth trying to work with the railroad to add a crossing. Shaking his head, Warren said the entrance is the way it is because Aurora Co-op didn't want to tangle with the railroad. Wagner interjected that the only way to get the railroad to put in another crossing would be to give up an existing crossing. Christensen said he would be fine with that.

In the end, it was decided the road should be paved, but at $1 million per mile for hard-surfaced road, the county could not afford it. Warren said he planned to visit with the county attorney to learn what the county's responsibilities and liabilities are in those circumstances.

Warren also reported he has two employees working on replacing road and hazard signs again, an ongoing project. The county has until 2018 to replace every sign in the county with high intensify signs. Warren said the project is 75 to 80 percent complete.

Warren said he has two gravel trucks running this week, replenishing the stockpile at the county yard in Nelson, and three motorgraders are in the shop for their 2,000 hour service in preparation for winter. His crew has also been working on dirt work, replacing collapsed culverts and driveway culverts and finishing the mowing for the season.

Commissioner Tim Zikmund thanked Warren for allowing his employees to help with maintenance issues in the courthouse, mostly concerning the recent mold remediation project. Warren asked if the commissioners agreed their wages should come from the general fund rather than the road and bridge department budget when they are working in the courthouse rather than on road and bridge projects. The consensus of the board was it would be more fair to Warren to not have to use road and bridge funds for courthouse maintenance.

The board opened and reviewed bids for two culvert replacement projects — one on Road G southeast of Ruskin (two six-foot steel culverts) and one on Road A southeast of Hardy on the state line (two seven-foot steel culverts).

Bids were received from Midwest Sales and Service in Schuyler, $17,920.86 for the six-footers, $22,111.22 for the seven-footers for a total of $40,032.08; Contech Engineered Solutions in Lincoln, $15,168.80 for the six-footers, $18,583.32 for the seven-footers for a total of $33,752.12; and Ace Irrigation in Kearney, $ 16,094 for the six-footers, $21,480 for the seven-footers for a total of $37,574.

The board accepted the low bid from Contech Engineered Solutions, pending approval by Nebraska Emergency Management. Both projects are replacing culverts damaged by flood water in the severe storm earlier this year and will be completed using FEMA funds.

In other business:

Sheriff Brad Baker discussed with the board a quote of $8,790 he received recently to have bats removed from the attic of the sheriff's building, a quote he said he considers to be "crazy high." Baker said before doing anything to remove the bats, they need to fix the area where the bats are entering the building, which is near the top of the original sheriff's building. Apparently, the gutter needs to be removed and the flashing underneath replaced. Bat removal was tabled until a contractor can be found to replace the flashing and prevent bats from entering.

Baker also discussed renewal of the law enforcement contract between his department and the City of Nelson. He will negotiate with the city council in the near future and present an agreement for the commissioners' approval. Currently, the City of Nelson pays $18,270 per year for the law enforcement agreement.

An executive session was held to discuss a matter of pending litigation. Included in the closed session were the three commissioners, county clerk and county attorney.

Monthly reports were accepted and reviewed from the county clerk, treasurer, sheriff, county court clerk-magistrate and clerk of the district court.

Sara Bockstadter was sworn in as county attorney.

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Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015

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