CHARLESTON -- The bricks dumped on the bank of Lateral 1 of Ditch 14 by the city have been removed by the county.
"It's our fault: we gave them permission but didn't know we gave them permission," Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said during the regular Mississippi County Commission meeting Thursday.
He explained Richard Wallace, county road and bridge superintendent, had given city officials the OK last summer but had initially not remembered doing so when asked about it by commissioners.
A county excavator was used to remove most of the bricks and mash the rest into the bank before covering them with dirt so they will not interfere with mowing the ditch bank.
Commissioners said it is hard to believe the bricks went unnoticed for so long, but once spotted they did present an eyesore visible from the road, in addition to preventing the ditch bank from being mowed.
In other business Thursday:
* An architect will not be required for a highway department shed the county hopes to build using a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan.
Blumenberg said Rural Development officials advised him an architect is not needed for a building that won't be occupied.
The county will forward bylaws for the non-profit Mississippi County Public Facilities Corporation to Rural Development officials to see if it meets RD's requirements.
"Just send it and find out," Commissioner Martin Lucas said.
Commissioners said they would like to see the shed have a service pit, a lift rack and a wash bay for servicing county vehicles and equipment.
"There's a lot of stuff out there we can do," Blumenberg said, adding the county might save enough money by servicing its own vehicles to cover the building's first payment.
With county employees performing maintenance, "we'll know it's done, know who did it," Commissioner Homer Oliver said.
Commissioners said they think putting a small office in at one end of the building would not make it "occupied" as employees would only be in there occasionally and for short periods of time.
"We're not worried about too much office space, anyway," Blumenberg said.
* Lucas will instruct county road grader operators how to grade the county's gravel roads so they will drain properly.
"We have to figure out how to get the lip off the roads," Blumenberg said.
He said the ridges left by road graders along the edge of the roads collect water.
"They've made a canal instead of a road," agreed Lucas.
Lucas said he will need two graders working in tandem to get the roads shaped up.
Blumenberg said grader operators need to take their time "and grade them proper."
"There's not any time limit," Lucas said. "Just do them right."
Lucas said it isn't only Mississippi County grader operators as grader operators in nearby counties have been leaving lips on the edge of roads, too.
* Commissioners discussed the county's approaching blacktopping season.
"We don't have a lot of miles, we have a lot of stretches," Blumenberg said. "As far as chip-and-seal, we need to get our heads together and get that going."
Commissioners also discussed visiting Olive Branch, Ill., to learn more about how chip-and-seal is laid there.
"We'll see what kind of gravel they're using," Blumenberg said. "They have a deal there where they haul it behind the truck."
"I know they've got good chip-and-seal," Oliver said.
Commissioners also discussed using an inch-thick asphalt cap on roads that are "alligatored" with cracks and perhaps renting a paving machine to lay hot mix.
The rental cost is $500 per day.
"He could do all these short runs in a day," Lucas said. "No more than two days."