The Marshall County Council members discussed at length the purchase of an asphalt zipper at a cost of almost $160,000 to come out of the rainy day fund.
Marshall County Commissioner Jack Roose first spoke to the council members and explained his opposing vote for the asphalt zipper at the commissioner’s meeting last week. He feels that a purchase such as this should be tabled until a highway superintendent is hired and not by the interim superintendents.
“Not to detract from the job they’re doing or anything but I really feel that if a highway superintendent comes in he’s going to want to take a look at the highway and the equipment that he’s got, the situations that he’s got and he would be the one best suited to make that judgment call as to what equipment we should buy. I would hate to see something that we buy now not fit into his plans later on and sit out there and be something that would not be utilized that much,” commented Roose.
Roose said he’s talked to other highway superintendents and the machine is not what it’s cracked up to be.
Roose believes that an announcement of a new superintendent could come soon.
Commissioner Kevin Overmyer and Commissioner Deb Griewank were with Interim Highway Superintendent Jason Peters to discuss the purchase with the council. Peters explained that the asphalt zipper rejuvenates roads where the existing asphalt is ground up and laid back down, packed, and a layer of calcium chloride is applied to harden the surface so the road can be driven on without travel hampered in a short amount of time. They are also seeking additional resources to help the process along so residents won’t have to deal with bad roads or a delay.
According to Overmyer, another plus is that the machine will berm the roads and help with the issue of standing water.
Overmyer is in favor of the purchase as is Commissioner Griewank.
“Is it the perfect answer? I don’t know if there’s a perfect answer. Is it a direction that I think we need to go as commissioners? I think it is because this winter was very hard on those roads. They are putting a plan together to start getting these roads fixed. If we can do 50 miles in a year of chopping and running this zipper or Roadhog, it shows to the public that we’re doing something and it’s also economic development. We’ve got to get these roads back to where they need to be,” said Overmyer.
The council gave a favorable recommendation toward the purchase, but considered it as a future appropriation rather than approve the expense. Council President Matt Hassel commented that he’s happy to hear that there is a plan in place and that it will be followed.
The purchase approval was also delayed as another company plans to hold a demonstration on another asphalt zipper this week. The council members will be getting information on that schedule so they can see what the machine is capable of doing.