WALKER -- State aid highway funds haven't been covering costs for keeping up paved roads or paving additional county state aid roads in recent years.
Cass County Engineer David Enblom's projected construction program for the next three years calls for continuing to borrow against the following year's state aid funds.
"We have to watch that our borrowing does not equal the next year's allotment," Enblom said, warning the board some state or county action must be taken to increase funding before that happens to ensure road building and re-building can continue in the county.
Some projects have been shifted into future years to hold down borrowing against future allotments. The benefit to borrowing against state aid funds is it can be done interest free, Enblom said.
The county board approved a revised construction program Tuesday.
It will include a building a new section of road at Pine River, connecting Highway 371 with County State Aid Highway 2 through the planned Barclay West development.
Also on the news schedule will be grade widening and resurfacing on CSAH 8, bituminous surface on CSAH 29, resurfacing to 9 tons CSAH 36 and 18 (to connect Highway 210 to 77 at the same load limit) and new gravel base for County Road 130.
The current year 2001 program calls for re-paving CSAH 5 in Longville; new gravel base for CSAH 4; new bituminous surfacing on CSAH 10, 21, 22 and County Roads 153, 148, 149 and 169; re-grading and new bituminous surface and bridge on CSAH 13 (Onigum Road); and a bridge replacement on County Road 107.
The 2002 program will include two Boy River Bridge replacement projects; new bituminous surfaces on CSAH 4, 7 and 52 and County Road 130; and a federally supported project to improve CSAH 70.
In 2003, the county plans to put new bituminous surfaces on County State Aid Highways 2, 6, 60 and 71, with the 71 being the first of a multi-phase project.
Enblom reported Leech Lake Reservation, Rogers Township and the county have paid their matching fund shares toward FEMA funds for improving the Indian Service Road around Boy Lake following last summer's storm there.
The county had hoped to assume ownership of that road after improvements were made, but Commissioner Joanne Pels reported her impression is Tribal Chair Eli Hunt "doesn't want to give up that road."
Enblom said he hopes now to achieve a cooperative maintenance agreement with the reservation to enable the county to improve service there.
Leech Lake Reservation has not maintained that road well in recent years, because it lies a long distance from the reservation's primary service area at Cass Lake and does not have many tribal members living on the road.
Pels said she thinks the reservation may take a greater interest in providing service there if some of the tribal land leases are not renewed in that area.
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