LaBoda Grading awarded Irish Creek plowing contract
Two bids came in for plowing the 10.5 miles of the newly created Irish Creek Subordinate Government Service District (SGSD). The area covers portions of roads west of the Arrowhead Trail in Hovland. One of the bids did not provide enough of the required information. The other bid was from LaBoda Grading, which proposed plowing before noon every time at least two inches of snow fell for a fee of $550—a cost of $52.38 per mile.
Commissioner Sue Hakes asked Highway Engineer David Betts and Maintenance Supervisor Russell Klegstad if they thought the price was reasonable. Betts said they had thought the cost might be closer to $350 or $400 but that was without having someone scope out the route in person. The Highway Department budgeted for 12 snowfalls costing $300 each between the start of the contract and the end of this winter. Statistics are kept over the course of time so that when bids for already established SGSDs are received each fall for the upcoming winter, the department has some idea how to budget.
In a separate interview, Engineer Betts explained that contractors’ snowplowing costs can vary significantly from one road to the next. Contractors do figure in the amount of time and fuel that getting to the site will require. But even if distance wasn’t a factor, the width and condition of a road affect the time and cost to plow it. Some Subordinate Government Service District snowplow routes routinely get a lot more snow than others, so when it’s time to plow, some contractors have a lot more to plow. Some roads have fewer convenient places to put the snow and require bigger equipment to handle the job.
“The market always tells you what the right cost is,” Engineer Betts said.
The Irish Creek SGSD is down to one lane because so far this winter, it was being plowed with a pickup. Betts said LaBoda Grading might need to do some extra work to clear the road initially.
Neither Auditor-Treasurer Powers nor Engineer Betts had tabulated as of press time the exact number of property owners who would be splitting the bill for plowing the Irish Creek route.
In response to protests from some property owners who only use the roads in the summertime, the county board will hold a hearing in June to discuss whether to continue the Irish Creek SGSD.
By unanimous vote, the board approved a motion awarding the bid to LaBoda Grading. It is effective through the end of this winter.