Whether Boone County will provide medically necessary dust control on rural gravel roads won’t be decided until next month.
Usually the deadline to request dust control is April 1, County Highway Superintendent Rick Carney told the Boone County Commissioners last week.
“We have quite a few,” he said.
Commissioner Charles Eaton asked Carney to report on the need and whether money is available; Carney will also check with other counties about their dust control policies.
Money for dust control comes from the highway department’s account that buys salt and sand. This year, because of a mild winter, Carney has a surplus in that fund. He must still buy nearly 200 tons of salt, under terms of a contract with the state highway department. “I should have $60,000, give or take,” in the salt line-item after he buys the salt, Carney said.
Private contractors are paid to do the applications, Carney said.
“I have mixed feelings on this,” Commissioner Jeff Wolfe said.
Although people wanting dust control must provide a letter saying the request has a medical basis, in some cases, “what we received last year, apart from medical issues, were just a doctor signing something saying, it would be nice to have dust control for your house,” he said. “We have talked about having a better way to discern who should get this.”
“And then,” Commissioner Marc Applegate said, “that puts us in the position of having to be medical experts.”
Although “a lot of people” have legitimate reasons to ask for dust control, Carney said, there are “a lot of people who don’t,” including one request because the property-owner’s horses were allergic to dust.
Carney said there are three anti-dust methods: soybean oil, an asphalt emulsion or a calcium chloride mixture. The county pays a contractor about $800 for an application, he said. A do-it-yourself job can cost $200 to $300, with the ingredients available at a grain elevator, Carney said.