Cass County Engineer Charles Marker said Tuesday, work is scheduled to begin this Summer on asphalt overlay projects for certain Farm-To-Market qualified roads. During the Board of Supervisors meeting, Marker said a State bid letting was held January 18th in Des Moines, for an asphalt overlay project on Cass County Road M-56, north of Marne. There were two bids for the project. The Supervisors approved a bid from Henningsen Construction, amounting to nearly $1.8-million, for the 3-inch asphalt overlay project. Marker said the contract requires work to begin no later than August 13th. The contractor will have up to 50 working days to complete the project, regardless of when they start.
Marker said the next project in his 5-year construction plan, which is similar to the M-56 overlay, is for the Lewis road, from Highway 71 west, toward Lewis. Marker said they will borrow ahead out of the Farm to Market account to pay for the project, the plans for which have not yet been formulated. Marker explained how the Farm-to-Market account works to repair area roads commonly used to bring crops to local elevators. He said money for the repairs is generated through the Road Use Tax Fund. The amount is kept in Des Moines to do only those projects which are termed “Farm-to-Market.”
Marker says the County receives quarterly reports from the Iowa DOT, informing the County how much money is in the account. He says as of December 31st, 2011, Cass County had $171,000 in the F-to-M Account. The County receives just under $200,000 per quarter for F-to-M roads, or about $1-million per year. He says the County can borrow as much as 5-years ahead from that account, to combine and handle major road projects, as long as the account is not borrowed on for more than 5-years at a time. He says Cass County has a total contract amounting to nearly $1.18-million, which means the County has a negative balance because it has borrowed nearly two-years ahead.
In his five-year construction plan for Farm-to-Market roads, Marker says he has to show the County will be back in the black within two-years, which would allow the County to start borrowing ahead again. That would allow for the completion of a middle segment of M-56, from Atlantic Airport Road G-30, south to Highway 6.