County to take over paving projects

By PAT BROWN,

After McQueen Construction was unable to complete two miles of paving projects, the Simpson County Board of Supervisors decided at their meeting Monday that they would get into the paving business themselves. 

The county agreed to let bids for a 12 foot fixed head chip sealer, a tar truck and a packer.  The estimated cost for the equipment is between $450,000 and $460,000.   They said they would not have to pay the profit margin they are currently paying to a private company to do the work. 

County Administrator Rheul Dickinson said that the creation of the crew will not require additional employees, that the work can be done with the existing road crew.

The board also approved a raise to foremen in the road department.  This will increase the cost by a total of about $6 per hour.  This also includes a raise for the head mechanic at $1 per hour.  The raises are anticipated to cost the county $18,000 to $20,000 per year.  Road Manager Ben Warren told the board that county wages are not competitive with the private sector.  He said the foremen only make about  $1 per hour more than the road hands. 

Funding for the raise will come from canceling the contract for spraying chemicals for grass control. 

The board heard a request that prescriptions for inmates at the Sheriff’s Department be purchased locally.  Initial claims were  that the county woul save between 20 and 25 percent on costs.  In actuality it was only about 4 to 5 percent. 

The board agreed to seek local pharmacies to purchase prescriptions  for the inmate population. 

The board adopted a policy that the county would be contacted before traffic was rerouted on Highway 49.  A recent accident where traffic was re-routed caused extensive damage to French Road, and it was stated that other options would not have undermined the road if those options had been chosen.  

The board approved the recommendation to move Deputy Chris Sholar from road deputy to Narcotics Deputy. 

The board approved a bid from Schaub Flooring to replace carpet in the courthouse in the amount of $11,235.85. 

The next meeting of the board will be Thursday, November 15, at 9 a.m.