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WDAY: The News Leader

Published October 28, 2009, 08:20 AM

Townships responsible for Wilkin County road maintenance

Breckenridge, Minn. (WDAY TV) - A lack of money, workers, and weathered roads has officials in Wilkin County making a drastic change. For decades, townships in Wilkin have paid the county to plow roads in the winter and grade them in the summer, but the Wilkin County Board is expected to vote soon on whether to put an end to county plows clearing those rural township roads.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Breckenridge, Minn. (WDAY TV) - A lack of money, workers, and weathered roads has officials in Wilkin County making a drastic change. For decades, townships in Wilkin have paid the county to plow roads in the winter and grade them in the summer, but the Wilkin County Board is expected to vote soon on whether to put an end to county plows clearing those rural township roads.

Township roads like this one in Wilkin County have been snow clogged and flood ravaged this year and while we are just days away from our first snow townships are scrambling to find contractors to clear the roads.

Wilkin county plows have always cleared snow on these winding, gravel roads. A practice few counties in Minnesota practice.

“This is unusual, I am only aware of two counties in the state that maintain township roads for the townships.”

Today, officials from 22-townships in Wilkin County heard news today that drastic cuts in local government aid, fewer gas tax dollars, and a reduction in county road department staff means Wilkin County plows will stay off township roads this winter.

“We have heard our share of problems we had worst flood ever and the repair work. We have had to do the repair work for townships for many, many years and we aren't doing that anymore.”

Township officials like Brian Langseth say the change means 22 townships are quickly finding contractors to do the work before the snow flies.

“This road has to be open at 8 am the bus comes thru here and around.”

While the townships paid the county to plow, Wilkin says their drivers spent half their time working township roads. An expense the county can no longer afford. The Wilkin County Board of Commissioners will take final action on the township plowing issue at its next meeting.

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