CHARLESTON - Mississippi County's gravel roads need more crushing, less grading, county commissioners agreed.
During their regular meeting Thursday, commissioners met with county resident Duke Presson to hear his requests regarding "rocks and roads."
Presson said he was speaking on behalf of several residents along a stretch of road made of what commissioners call "snowstone" gravel which is comprised of white silicon waste rock.
He presented both pictures and examples of larger rocks picked up from the road which can damage vehicles and tires.
Presson said the dust is a problem as well and suggested the county put red clay gravel over the snowstone in front of residences.
"That's not going to happen," Commissioner Homer Oliver said.
"We can't afford the red gravel," explained Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg.
Blumenberg the county gets the snowstone for only $1 per ton while the red gravel now costs around $2.50 per ton. "We used to buy it for $1.25 (per ton)," Blumenberg said.
"So you're telling all these people they have to live with it?" Presson asked. "They're going to have to live with the dust?"
Blumenberg said the county would spend the money "if we thought it would help," but said the red gravel is dusty, too. "We have tried it."
Commissioners acknowledged, however, that the large rocks in the road gravel are a problem. "They should be crushed," Blumenberg said.
Richard Wallace, county road and bridge superintendent, has been directed to crush the large rocks on snowstone roads regularly but is presently trying to catch up on repairs to roads damaged by winter weather, according to commissioners.
"He is just trying to get the roads passable," Blumenberg said.
Presson agreed that snowstone makes a good road base, but said if he has to put up with the big rocks "I'd rather have the mud."
He suggested the county borrow or rent a second rock crusher to help the county catch up.
Commissioners said snowstone roads don't need to be graded very often and that the big rocks tend to be pulled to the surface when the roads are graded.
Presson said he was satisfied with promises from commissioners to have the rocks crushed soon.
"If something doesn't happen, holler," Oliver advised.
In other Mississippi County business Thursday:
* Commissioners signed off on right-of-ways for the Four Mile Pond Bridge project that had previously been held up by the Department of Conservation.
* W.R. "Bill" Thompson, county assessor, was unable to meet with commissioners to present his side of the story regarding the county's geographic information system due to a family member's illness, according to commissioners.
Commissioner Martin Lucas suggested the county needs to hire a full-time person to coordinate the GIS and double as a technician for the county's computer network.
* Rosalie LaPlant was re-appointed to another term on the county's Library Board.