Several Farmington residents met with the County Highway Committee and asked that work be completed on County Road Q.
They complained of deteriorated conditions along a 1.4-mile stretch of County Q, between State Highway 54 and Round Lake Road.
Sandy Kramer, one of the citizens who spoke to the committee on Friday, May 17, said County Q serves as a major gateway into the Chain O’ Lakes area.
She said more than 1,000 vehicles per day use this stretch of County Q.
“Vendors have to take alternative routes,” Kramer said. “Boats become unhitched.”
The Farmington residents said county board politics, rather than budget issues, were responsible for the project being halted.
Wayne Verdon, of Farmington, said the project had been scheduled several years earlier, but was then postponed until 2016.
“The right of way was purchased, the utilities had been taken care of,” Verdon said. “It seems to me the project was shovel ready.”
Verdon then suggested the committee had postponed the County Q project because Farmington’s county supervisor, Gerald Murphy, had voted against a bonding proposal for county road projects.
“It’s a lousy way for the committee to do business,” Verdon said.
Committee members did not deny Murphy’s vote against bonding influenced their decision to postpone the project.
“Farmington has a supervisor who votes against bonding,” said committee member Don Aasen, who represents a rural district north of Iola.
Aasen said there are many other roads throughout the county which need major repairs.
“Every other supervisor is voting for bonding, and they need roads repaired, too,” said committee member Bob Flease, who represents Mukwa on the county board.
Flease said Murphy expects funding for county roads in Farmington even though he consistently votes against the bonds to fund that work.
The County Highway Committee has also had disagreement with the Farmington Town Board about the scope of the project.
County Highway Commissioner Dean Steingraber spoke to the town board during a special meeting in February 2012. He presented several options, ranging from a total reconstruction with paved shoulders and a new intersection at Golke Road for about $820,000 and a reclamation project with gravel shoulders which would cost $400,000.
In 2012, Steingraber said the delay was caused in part by what seemed to be a lack of direction from the town board regarding the project.
Although town board members said they favored the less expensive option, Town Chairman Dale Trinrud said the board had never requested that the county reclaim rather than rebuild County Q.
“In government, we’re nothing if we don’t have public support,” Steingraber said at Friday’s meeting. “In other parts of the county, the support is there through bonding votes, through support from the township.”
Steingraber suggested the citizens who came to the committee meeting speak with their neighbors and representatives to ensure the project had public support.