■ Documentation found, plans to repair in Highway budget
This week’s public participation portion of the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners meeting brought a crowd of about 30 community members from the Sunset Terrace and Platteview housing subdivisions, located just over 15 miles west of Aurora near the Platte River.
The group was on hand to address a few rumors they had heard concerning road maintenance, as well as request an update from commissioners on the status of their efforts to improve the condition of their roads.
“As you know, as we’ve talked about Patty (Hooker), a lot of progress was made last week,” said Chairman Rich Nelson. “The problem had been documentation. We could not find where the county had officially taken on the roads in Sunset Terrace. There was no documentation in the Highway Department as to that effect. We really. as a board, cannot approve work being done unless it is actually county property.”
There are always individuals who would “love” to have the county put in a bridge or a culvert on their personal property, he added, but the work cannot be done.
“We have to stay within state statutes and that’s what we’re doing,” Nelson explained.
After a great deal of searching, Hamilton County Attorney Mike Powell returned to commissioners last week reporting that he had in fact come across documentation that showed the county was responsible for the roads in Sunset Terrace. “(We) installed the roads
“(We) installed the roads and there was an engineer that did a study and recommended approval of that road and the completion of those roads,” he continued. “And that then would become the county’s responsibility. As I spoke to you on Friday, K.C. (Pawling) has it in his budget to do the road and has been instructed to work quickly to get it bid out and see if we can’t get it done as soon as possible.”
One of the group’s representatives, Gary Alberts, noted that he has lived in Sunset Terrace for more than 40 years. He questioned commissioners on if both subdivisions were included in this statement.
“Yes, Sunset Terrace Road and the roads in Sunset Terrace,” Commissioner Roger Nunnenkamp confirmed. Fellow long-time resident
Fellow long-time resident of Sunset Terrace Larry Keller recounted contracting with the county to build the blacktop road.
“I guess my question here is what is the confusion, or the delay in decision making,” he asked. “The question of owned or not owned?”
Nelson voiced that he wished Powell was in attendance to answer this question more fully. Powell had been excused from the meeting due to prior scheduled personal reasons.
“This board has asked Mike to look at it for some time,” Nelson said. “And a big part of the problem was the documentation and trying to get our hands on that documentation. I know Mike struggled with that and I know we had to go back through the records and try to find that, where that had been done.”
The documentation that proved the work that had previously been done, including the engineer study, needed to be found before further action could be taken to fix the road, according to Nelson.
“That all came together, we talked about a week ago today,” he said. “Mike Powell and K.C. sat down on Tuesday (Aug. 11) and together they concluded that was where we were at. This board has never said that if we found the documentation, we (wouldn’t) find a way to get the job done.”
Keller noted that indeed was a development. He also reported that rumors had been circulated about the matter, which was concerning.
“None of us on this board wanted it to take this long,” Nelson sympathized. “And we asked about it frequently, I know K.C. did too and we were trying to get to the bottom of it so we could get this matter resolved.”
“We just couldn’t spend the money without having the documentation,” Nunnenkamp added.
Nods were shared amongst commissioners as well as members of the public.
“That’s the assurance I think most of us would be pleased to hear,” Keller said.
It was clarified that Sunset Terrace Road is a county road. Community member Patty Hooker asked again, for clarification’s sake, that the county will indeed be maintaining Sunset Terrace Road. Chairman Nelson affirmed this statement.
“I’ve been doing this for at least eight years because that road has been in disarray,” she said. “My point is, what you said today, I want to hear and I don’t care if it’s in the newspaper or a phone call to the subdivision, when is this going to happen?”
“I’ve already said we’re trying to get it done as soon as possible,” Nelson replied. “If we could get it done before the snow flies, we would get it done before the snow flies. We’re not talking about the one and six (year plan), we’re talking about getting the job done.”
Another member of the community in attendance asked for clarification on a rumor she had heard that stated the county was not wanting to help with snow removal in the subdivision.
“That’s one of the rumors that we’ve heard,” she said. “And with having a lot of young families now in our Sunset Terrace subdivision they are worried because we only have one way in and one way out. So if the snow removal vehicles don’t come down and remove the snow they have no way of getting out to get to their jobs, get their kids to school and that type of stuff.”
Pawling, who was also sitting in on the meeting, reported that the county will be helping.
“Snow removal will continue,” he confirmed.
Discussion continued briefly before the majority of the group concluded their public participation visit.
‘As I spoke to you on Friday, K.C. (Pawling) has it in his budget to do the road and has been instructed to work quickly to get it bid out and see if we can’t get it done as soon as possible.’
Chairman Rich Nelson