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Improvements from recently approved road levy will be seen next summer

The Lake County commissioners and Road Supervisor Jay Garrick would like to thank voters for overwhelmingly approving the road rehabilitation levy that was on the primary election ballot. The funds generated by the levy will be put to good use and residents will see improvements to some of most highly traveled roads in the county beginning in the summer of 2019.

The levy will be placed on tax bills that will mailed this fall. When taxes are paid, money generated by the tax will placed in a fund that will be dedicated to purchasing road oil that is used in chip seal projects. It is estimated that about $200,000 will be collected annually during the two year assessment. The county projects that between 20 and 25 miles of currently chip sealed roads will receive an additional coat of chip seal that should significantly extend the life of the roads. Many of these miles of road were initially chip sealed in the 1990s when the price of oil was low and the county could afford to chip seal out of the road department budget. The price of oil then increased significantly and it became impossible to maintain existing roads or treat additional miles of road from the road department budget.

The county will perform traffic counts on roads this summer and fall to determine which roads will be prioritized for work during the summers of 2019 and 2020. Roads throughout the county will receive consideration for upgrading. No existing gravel roads will be chip sealed by money generated by the levy, and roads that are currently chip sealed but need extensive repair work will also not be considered.

The county will stretch the dollars as far as possible, but we also realize that there will be some miles of roads that could benefit from rehabilitation that we will not be able to address. After two summers of work we will be able to get a clear picture of the success of the program. A decision could then be made as to whether or not the county would again go to the voters for approval of additional years for the levy.

The commissioners understand the value of having good roads in the county. Residents are fortunate to have road and bridge departments that take pride in their work and do their best to keep our roads and bridges in good condition despite budget constraints. We appreciate the fact that our residents have approved recent levies dedicated to the road department and hope that the wise use of your tax dollars may potentially generate future support.

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