Chairman takes issue with changes proposed by Town of Grafton
Town of Belgium officials made it clear on Monday that they were satisfied with extending a road maintenance contract with the Ozaukee County Highway Department that expires at the end of the year.
They also made it clear they are not interested in proposed changes made by Town of Grafton attorney Sara MacCarthy on behalf of the municipalities that contract with the county.
Town officials in Belgium, Fredonia and Grafton partner with the county for services ranging from snow and ice removal to mowing roadsides.
The towns of Port Washington and Saukville contract with a private company to perform road maintenance.
The proposed county contract, which would run retroactively through Dec. 31, 2016, would add a provision that a township could contract with a private company if the county doesn’t perform services in a timely manner.
The proposed changes also include removing a clause indemnifying the county for any injury attributed to failing roadways and strikes a provision that says the county would not be held responsible for damage to town roads as a result of maintenance work.
“We’re not supportive of the changes and would prefer the language from the previous contract,” Town Chairman Tom Winker said, noting the county likely wouldn’t support the changes either.
Under the proposed contract, townships would pay the county $164,285 for its services each year.
That charge, which includes labor, machinery, materials and overhead costs, is almost 34% lower than the previous agreement.
It’s unclear if the county will agree to such a drop.
Services not included in the new contract include drift prevention, reviewing driveway permits and plowing snow from certain private roads.
The town budgeted $344,010 for road work this year, down about 2% from last year.
Under the previous agreement, the county agreed to salt and plow town roads, pick up trash and debris and inspect bridges, among other services.
Services like crack-filling paved roads, minor ditch cleaning and cutting trees and brush along roads were performed on an as-needed basis.
Town officials seemed content to ask the county to perform similar services when it signs the next agreement.
It’s unclear when that will happen, because the county Public Works Committee has yet to review the contract, Supr. Bill Janeshek, a Highway Department employee, said.