FAIRFIELD — The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors on Monday approved their 2020-21 fiscal year budget, with road resurfacing a centerpiece to the budget.
The county will improve five area roads starting with this construction season, but there will also be bridge renovation among the almost $9.5 million allocated to capital projects in the county.
Two of the roads — Pleasant Plain Road, which runs northeast of Fairfield, and Packwood Road, which will be resurfaced south of Brookville Road west of Fairfield — are heavily traveled, but supervisor Lee Dimmitt said that all the roads have been in need of improvement for a while.
Vetch Boulevard will be resurfaced south of “Four Corners” east of Fairfield, and Dimmitt said Germanville Road has been “a very high safety concern for a couple, three years.” Brookville Road, which connects Fairfield to Packwood Road, also would be seeing improvements.
Three of the road projects — Packwood Road, Germanville Road and Brookville Road — came in at a lower cost than expected, which allowed the county to allocate money to the other two road projects and the bridges.
“We’ve been replacing a lot of smaller bridges with tank cars, and we got into that several years ago,” Dimmitt said. “It’s a phenomenal way to replace bridges at a significantly lower cost with a 50-year lifespan. Our own crews can tear them out and set them in two or three days, weather permitting, as opposed to being closed down for weeks.”
The capital projects budget has increased 177 percent since 2018-19. All the projects will be completed by one company, allowing for a fairly seamless transition from one project to the next.
“We’re really ambitious this year with the improvements,” he said. “What we’re hoping is that we can, pardon the pun, get ahead of the curve and see what our revenue is.”
In all, $22,906,891 will be devoted to county services for the fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30, 2021.
Other items from the meeting:
• The Southeast Iowa Multi-County Solid Waste Agency (SEMCO) will not be taking trash from the general public until Gov. Kim Reynolds’ declaration of a state health disaster ends April 13. Only commercial haulers will be able to take trash during this time so employees at the facility can avoid close contact with citizens because of the new coronavirus.
“I know this will cause an inconvenience, but if we don’t do this, it will have to shut down,” supervisor Daryn Hamilton said.
It is unknown whether individuals will be able to set out more trash in the process.
• The county re-appropriated $6,200 from the sheriff budget to the district court budget.
• A resolution for plot of land with outstanding property tax was under scrutiny regarding whether it could be joined with another plot to improve a subdivision. After discussion, the resolution was amended and approved — contingent on the payment being made by March 31 — after a motion by supervisor Dee Sandquist.