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Weather Causes Problems for County Highway Department

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 160

Knox County SealThe harsh winter weather has cost Knox County taxpayers a lot of money, and has caused more than a few headaches for the Knox County Highway Department.

County Highway Administrator Duane Ratermann told the County Board’s Highway, Assessor, and Zoning Committee last night the recent snow melt and mild temperatures which caused flooding along the Spoon River near London Mills, also caused portions of County Highways 17 and 28 to be damaged and have to be repaired — the sort of damage Ratermann says doesn’t usually crop up this early in the year.

Ratermann also told the committee the snowstorms also didn’t do any financial favors.

“Our overtime budget is pretty much shot for the year,” Ratermann said.  “So, as far as the rest of the year goes, we’re working normal hours.  Seems like every time it snowed, it was on Saturday or Sunday.”

Raterman says he’s spent roughly 92-percent of his department’s $40,000 overtime budget already.

He does say that should any more snow happen, the county has two hundred tons of salt currently, with more being delivered in the coming days, that he hopes can also be saved and used next season.

The committee did go into closed session to discuss pending legal action. A county employee sitting in the audience could be seen during the open meeting reading over a lawsuit filed by the owners of Hidden Hills Vineyard, after the county denied a zoning change allowing them to open in rural Knoxville.