Jefferson County Commissioners held a work meeting Aug. 30 to discuss funding for construction on the Kettle Butte Dairy road.

In a meeting on July 19, Public Works Director Dave Walrath informed the commissioners that he had received an estimate of just under $4 million for the Kettle Butte Dairy road. It would be approximately $1 million a mile.

During that meeting, Walrath had stated the road has been validated as a county road. The county is not going to try to get deeded dedicated right-of-ways from the property owners.

During the Aug. 30 meeting, Walrath stated the meeting was meant to start looking at funding for construction.

Economic Development member Ted Hendricks stated this is preliminary. According to Hendricks, the construction financing is anticipating what they looked at in the last budget, which is approximately $4 million for construction. They are trying to secure $3 million from the Economic Development Administration (EDA), which is an 80%/20% share.

Hendricks stated, when they applied for the design money, they were under an 80%/20% ratio as well, but this was for the disaster declaration, due to the flooding that happens in the Kettle Butte Dairy area. Hendricks mentioned they will have to come up with between $800,000 to $900,000 on their own, but can try to apply to the State of Idaho to get some extra funding.

According to Hendricks, they have already had two businesses commit $100,000 each.

Hendricks mentioned the easement issue was a big item they had to work through before they could move ahead with applications, but there will have to be two separate applications, one for the EDA and one for the State of Idaho. They have to get one in order to be funded for 2022.

Chairman Scott Hancock asked if they have the applications, and Hendricks stated they know what they have to submit but have not started on them yet. According to Hendricks, the EDA application has changed substantially and will take more time than one they did three years ago. The EDA application can be submitted at any time.

Ben Burke with Horrocks Engineers stated they have provided their final design to Walrath; there is an estimate, plans and a spec.

Burke is working with landowners to get written property use agreements to have their permission to be on their property during construction. They don’t want the contractor out there when someone is farming. Hendricks stated they thought about doing the earth work during the first year and then come back and finalize the paving the following year.

Hancock asked how many landowners there were, and Hendricks mentioned there are six, but they all own multiple parcels; the dairy owns three parcels. Hendricks stated one of the landowners is concerned about more traffic going by his house, but Hendricks reassured him by stating there would only be an additional fifty cars a day.

Hancock thought they had already approved the application, Hendricks said they still need the forms saying the easements are in place.

Walrath mentioned he is not sure on some of the pricing. Hendricks stated they will apply and base their budget around the estimate; they need to have a good contingency to make sure the numbers are good. Walrath stated they have 10% included in this. When they had submitted the original application to EDA, Walrath did not feel good about the construction cost estimates.

Walrath also mentioned some of the landowners were worried about doing this during harvest, and would like to be compensated for loss of crops.

Commissioner Roger Clark stated he would rather do this earlier in the year. Burke mentioned that it rains a lot in the spring; they could start in late fall, but then they have to push the pavement off. Hancock stated he agrees with doing it during the spring because there is less traffic. They will be able to assess how much crop they will actually damage.

The commissioners stated they would prefer the project to be started in the spring of 2022, but Hendricks and Walrath would like to wait until fall of 2022. However, this will all depend on the funding.

Hendricks stated they will know if they received the economic development funds by either January or February.

Walrath stated a big factor in cost will be where the material source is at; this will not be from a county source. Walrath mentioned he has a good number in the bid — $70 a ton. Hancock asked if the state bid is at $50 a ton, Walrath said yes, but the $70 includes everything.

Walrath stated they have HK Contractors, Depatco, Knife River and Western, which Hendricks said they all should be interested in this.

There was no final decision made at the end of the meeting. The next step is to have Hendricks fill out the applications.

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