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Cass County Board: Cass to buy gas from area fuel stations

BACKUS — Cass County will begin buying diesel fuel from local gas stations for trucks and highway equipment using credit cards.

Kris Lyytinen, assistant county engineer, informed the county board that old diesel gas pumps the county has been using at county highway garages have been recording inaccurate gallonage. Additionally, parts for the 40-year-old pumps are now obsolete.

To buy new pumps would cost $10,000 each or a total of $70,000. Any diesel cost savings would not cover the installation cost, he said.

The county regular gas fleet of cars and pickups will continue to use pumps at the county highway garage, he said, though the sheriff’s office has switched to credit card use at local gas stations so they can fill in their work districts.

William D. Scepaniak Inc. of Holdingford was low bidder to obtain a contract to lay gravel on unorganized township and county roads in the northern area of the county for $514,183.35.

The county usually lays a new gravel layer on gravel roads on a five-year rotation. The contract awarded Tuesday had increased 40 percent over the amount the county paid five years ago. Two roads were added to this year’s bid, Lyytinen said.

With the cost increase, County Engineer David Enblom said he will consider in the future whether some lower traffic roads could wait six rather than five years for re-graveling.

Traffic Marking Service’s low bid of three to paint lane striping on paved roads was up 20 percent over last year at $$121,239.81. That includes 1,779,341 miles of solid white strip and 1,283,748 miles of yellow stripe.

Enblom said savings on snowplowing expenditures this winter will cover the cost over his estimated $80,000 for lane striping this year.

Lori Koch presented the highway department’s annual report to the board Tuesday.

The county spent $2,474,012.42 to maintain 500.7 miles of state aid roads in 2011. Of that 361.37 miles are paved and 139.33 miles are gravel.

The county spent $178,715.09 to maintain 31.15 miles of municipal state aid roads. Maintenance on Cass state aid roads was paid in 2011 69.6 percent from state aid money and 30.4 percent from county property tax levy, which is about average for the last five years.

Maintenance for the county’s 69.32 miles of county roads is paid from local property tax levy. In 2011 that cost $1,663,095.30.

In 2011, Cass completed construction projects costing $4,092,127.90 on regular state aid roads, $98,145.80 on municipal state aid roads and $702,945.11 on county roads. In addition, the county used $239,525 from local tax levy money for state aid road construction.

Now that the county has used local levy dollars to pave all county roads carrying more than 150 vehicles per day, more local tax levy dollars will be shifted to construction projects on state aid roads. State aid has not kept pace with the need to repave existing state aid roads as they need resurfacing, he said.

Koch noted the highway department’s cash balance going into 2012 was about $1.2 million lower than the beginning of 2011. She said this is due to the lag time between when the county completes construction projects and when they receive state aid payments.