There are approximately 962 square miles in Buffalo County. Within this area there are 1500 miles of road: 101 miles are County oil or concrete roads. There are 352 bridges over 20 feet in the County. There are also 236 bridges that are 20 feet and under which are not considered bridges but are classified as culverts because of the constricted water flow.
The Highway Department has 40 full time employees and during the summer months we employ four to six more people. In addition the Highway Superintendent, there are: an assistant Highway Superintendent, two clerical, three foremen, 17 maintainer operators, five heavy equipment operators, three bridge crew laborers, one sign man, one welder, one mechanic, one mechanic assistant and four truck drivers.
We have an inventory of approximately $1,460,589.97 which includes office equipment and supplies, signs, sign posts, lumber, steel, tools, culverts, filters, oil, grease, radios and other supplies.
We also have a large inventory of machines and equipment valued at $6,272,647.63. This includes 19 maintainers, one crane, two backhoes, seven crawlers, three loaders, five scrapers, five dozers, 35 pickups and trucks and a considerable number of other pieces of equipment. The cost of fuel alone for operating this equipment in the fiscal year 2011-2012 which ended June 30, 2012 was $602,343.01. The cost of repairs was $228,027.04.
The Highway Department Budget for the present 2011-2012 fiscal year is $7,850,222.00.
We have an excellent communication system which includes 2-way radios which are used extensively. They save many miles of driving and enable people to communicate from one corner of the county to the other. They have saved many maintainer men from having to walk for help after having a flat tire, being stuck in a snowstorm or any other emergency type situation. Our foremen also have cellular phones. We have 2-way radios in all the maintainers, office, loaders and in a majority of our other equipment. The radios also give us communication with the Sheriff’s Department and the County Surveyor. The telephone system gives us easier communication with the Sheriff’s Department, Surveyor, other Courthouse offices and also the City of Kearney offices by just dialing 4 digits.
Buffalo County is divided into 26 Townships. Each has its own budget and governing board. Two of the townships do the maintaining of their own roads. The rest contract with the County Highway Department for maintenance of their roads. We are, however, responsible for all roads that are mail routes and for the gravel on school bus routes. These roads are given priority over the rest of the roads as far as gravel, snow removal, maintaining, etc.
We have divided the townships into Zones 1 through 26. We bid gravel once a year. The bid period is from April 1 of one year to March 31 of the following year.
Buffalo County went to the GEO Base Addressing System and signs were installed in 1997. This system makes finding a resident faster in an emergency type situation.