Engineer estimates damages from floods
Washington County Engineer Jacob Thorius told the board of supervisors that damage to county roads ranges from $55,000 to $65,000. He provided the update at the board’s weekly meeting, Tuesday morning.
He said his department is working to get the rest of the roads fixed. The Riverside Road opened Monday afternoon.
“We’re working on all of our gravel roads, trying to get those cleaned up,” Thorius said. “They’re all passable, but rough with rock loss.”
The damage to Dogwood Avenue and the Riverside Road is about $25,000. Thorius said the county would need a presidential disaster declaration for state or federal funds to make repairs. The gravel roads, with damages estimated at $30,000 to $40,000, would be eligible for FEMA funds, but the damages would have to be $75,000 or above for FEMA aid.
The damage to county roads is more extensive than the damage in April 2013.
“At that point, we were declared a disaster and received funds to make the repairs,” Thorius said.
He emphasized the necessity of not crossing barricades or driving around large machinery, such as the excavator that was used to close a road this past weekend.
“ I do ask if this happens again and we’ve got barricades up or an excavator across the road or whatever, you don’t go around them,” Thorius said. “It’s for your safety, even if the water’s off the road.”
Once the water receded on the Riverside Road, the department found areas that were undermined by the flooding.
“Traffic driving across it could have busted the pavement off and caused more damage to the road, let alone to the vehicle or an accident,” he said. “It’s a safety concern.”
Thorius also said his department needs to inspect a couple of culverts for damage once the water goes down.
The board also learned that Thorius is going to hire another employee for his department — an assistant engineer. He said the department is down two employees from when he was hired. The department is getting behind in design work and there are more regulations to comply with, he said. Design work can add 10 percent to the cost of a project, a cost he could avoid with another assistant engineer.
In other business, board chairman Steve Davis said the county has received invoices from the contractors who put in five private on-site septic systems in Richmond and Rubio for property owners with no means to pay for the systems. The invoices ranged from $11,615 to $14,287.
The board approved the process of directing the county attorney, treasurer and auditor to prepare the necessary documents and resolutions to recover the costs of the five systems by way of a special property tax assessment. They agreed to charge 2 percent interest.
The property owners will be asked to repay the cost of their systems with one payment a year for 10 years.
The process will continue during next week’s board meeting.
The board approved a proposed contract with Chauffeurs, Teamsters and Helpers Local Union No. 238, on a 4-to-1 vote, with Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. voting no. The contract was negotiated during closed sessions. Davis said the negotiations took several months.