Where To Put County Maintenance Staff?

A decision on where the permanent county roads department maintenance shop will be has not yet been decided; however, it has been determined that, in the interim, the two mechanics will be basing at the Manley shop.

The Cassgram the Cass County Board of Commissioners passed a “motion of confidence” last week to follow the recommendation of Roads Superintendent Lenny Thorne to move the mechanics there because of the poor condition of the shop facility west of Plattsmouth. The motion also acknowledged the upgrading of the Manley and Avoca shops.

A new maintenance facility and its location are questions that have spanned several county boards and have been points of conflict at times.

The most contentious time was in 2007 when a newly-seated county board canceled a new maintenance facility on the county roads office property west of Mynard. (Archives 3/21/2007) The project was under contract at the time and the county ended up paying $65,000 to the contractor. There were unsuccessful recalls against two county commissioners after the contract was canceled.

One year ago, the county roads department presented a plan that included several improvements to various county roads buildings throughout the county and proposed the erection of an 80x100 foot maintenance/repair building on the current shops property west of Plattsmouth.

Some of those improvements are occurring piecemeal out of the regular roads department budget. The upgrades to Manley are estimated at $38,000 to $40,000 and upgrades to the Avoca shop are estimated at $15,000. With the upgraded facilities, one mechanic can work at different locations as needed, said Thorne.

“The plusses of being in Manley: It’s in the center of the county. It’s not going to hurt us in getting parts because those are available in Weeping Water and Louisville. And it’s closer to Murphy Tractor in both Omaha and Lincoln.” said Thorne. The negative is that it’s a temporary fix, he said.

Having the temporary setup in Manley will be a good test of how the main shop will work in the center of the county, he said. “If it doesn’t work, we come back (to the Plattsmouth area).”

“I don’t see why it should not work,” said District 5 Commissioner Ron Nolte, who provided one of three votes to cancel the contract in 2007 and was one of the recall targets. A location in the center of the county was the recommendation of an advisory committee a few years ago, said Nolte, “so let’s give it a try.”

District 2 Commissioner Janet McCartney, who was not on the board in 2007 but was a vocal proponent of the new roads shop by Mynard, said she agrees with Thorne’s plan. “What we’re putting in the Manley shop—whether we stay there or not—is not losing money for the county” because the upgrades are needed.

Thorne said he still believes Plattsmouth is the location for a permanent maintenance shop but moving the mechanics to Manley will provide a good way to evaluate the situation. “We need a new building somewhere,” said Thorne.

Nolte’s motion of confidence that was seconded by McCartney passed 4 to 1. District 1 Commissioner John Baroni, the last commissioner on that roll call vote, voted no. He said he still wants the overall plan to include a new Plattsmouth building.

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