With one Buena Vista County Highway Department employee retiring, the county could be looking at not filling the position and dropping a motor grader route.
At a meeting of the Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, County Engineer Jon Ites brought up the possibility of dropping one of the routes. While he agreed that filling the position would be easier, he said not hiring a replacement would save money. Ites thought that since drivers help each other with snow removal when necessary, current drivers might be able to maintain the roads that must be cleared.
"I think it flies in the face of everything we're trying to do in the rural areas," said Supervisor Jim Gustafson, objecting primarily "as a gravel road resident and a county supervisor."
Gustafson also said the county needed to make county roads more accessible to encourage rural development.
"We've got to look at the whole thing in the rural areas," Gustafson said. "I still think we can hire somebody part-time in the winter time. I don't want to be another hour or two longer getting out."
Ites was hesitant to put a part-time driver on a piece of road equipment costing $125,000 to $200,000.
Supervisor Lorna Burnside moved that the board change policy and drop one motor grader route. The motion passed 3-2, with Burnside and Herb Crampton and Dick Vail voting for the motion while Gustafson and Bill Lamphere voted against dropping the route.