Council, county commissioners hear road complaints

By: 
JENNY GESSAMAN
Reporter

Fergus Community Council Member Rod Boling used his second month in office to start addressing his constituents’ concerns. At the group’s February meeting, Boling addressed county commissioners Sandy Youngbauer and Ross Butcher about Denton-area roads.

One of his concerns was road maintenance.

“The people in Denton are dissatisfied,” he said. “We haven’t had a person on the maintenance route that lives there. They have to be called out from Lewistown.”

Boling added that although the Fergus County Road Department had rented a room to keep an employee in the area during bad weather, it was not commonly used. In one case, he was told emergency vehicles had to bring in a plow because the road was not cleared and the house was unreachable.

Boling’s other concern was Benchland Road.

“It is probably the worst road in our county,” he said.

Boling explained closure of Central Montana Rail to grain shipments in 2011 put a greater pressure on farmers to get their product to market. They bought or rented semis to transport grain, which in turn took a greater toll on the road. Now, the state of the travel way was becoming an obstacle for farmers.

“A farmer can’t pay his bill if he can’t get his crop to market,” Boling said. “It’s vital, it’s the lifeblood.”

Butcher acknowledged the difficulty with maintenance, adding it could also be difficult to find employees experienced with an area’s roads.

“It’s the matter of finding an employee that lives in Denton or wants to live in Denton,” he said.

Butcher also addressed Boling’s Benchland Road concerns, offering to drive the road and assess its state, as well as set up a meeting with the road boss and local people to see what could be done.

“I think the problem is gravel roads are never going to be the best things to run loaded semis on,” he said.

“I think you’re right on the Benchland Road,” he said. “I feel like something has to be done, it’s just going to be a long time waiting for a secondary like that one to pop up and be in line to get it done.

“You need to start,” Boling said, “before there’s a fatality.”

 

In other business

• Secretary/Treasurer Tom Wojtowick reported the Fergus County Community Council has a balance of $1,602. He added he would bring official paperwork to the next meeting so he could be reimbursed for an ink cartridge and ream of paper, or roughly $74.

• Several Community Council members reported their constituents were complaining about the inaccuracy of the Fergus County Courthouse clocks. County Commissioner Ross Butcher stated one face was broken, accounting for the difference between it and the other three faces. He added the dome was leaking and needed some structural restoration and roof repairs.

“It’s in our five-year capital improvement plan,” Butcher said. “We’ll see where our budget sits.”

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