Engineer: Too cold for salt

FAIRMONT — Martin County commissioners on Tuesday heard from County Engineer Kevin Peyman, who provided a highway department update, primarily involving work conditions due to recent snowfall, as well as keeping the roads safe in Northrop for emergency workers.

“We did have to work some over the weekend with the roads,” he said. “We stayed an hour late on Friday, and then Saturday everybody worked for about five hours and went out for three and a half hours on Sunday.”

Peyman said people may have noticed a lot more sand in use than salt.

“Salt is pretty much wasted right now,” he said. “When it’s this cold, the salt doesn’t help. The sand is still treated, so there’s some salt in it but it’s mainly just putting some sand down to try and get some traction when it’s this cold. The cold is hard on people and on equipment, so we’re ready for a warmup.

“We did send a truck fairly often in and out of Northrop with different loads of sand and salt. We just redid that road this summer, so I’m a little nervous about what’s going to happen. It is covered with ice right now, but there could be some issues we have to deal with on that road once it all thaws out with that much water and the heavy equipment.”

The LB Pork grain elevator in Northrop was consumed by a blaze that began early Friday morning. Numerous fire departments from around the region responded to the scene.

Peyman also commented on the four-way stop by Welcome, which has become increasingly slippery.

“It has gotten icy a few times, and I don’t think it’s ever been unbearable, but we have so many trucks go through that they polish it out,” he said. “So what we’ve done is hit it with salt and sand at the end of the day, and the first part of the day to try and keep some traction. Luckily it’s not a through, so other traffic is stopped too.”

In other action, commissioners:

o Approved a motion to appoint Dr. Michael B. McGee as the medical examiner for Martin County. The county has been utilizing McGee’s services since the resignation of Dennis Gremmel in 2016.

o Approved a motion to set minimum salaries for elected county officials. The amounts, per annum are as follows: $71,905 for the auditor/treasurer and the sheriff; $54,225 for the recorder; and $84,510 for the county attorney.

o Approved a motion to set the dates and locations for regular commission meetings. The board will continue to meet on the first and third Tuesday of each month.