August 7, 2007


Even though citizens continued to speak against buying paving equipment, the Commissioners voted to buy it anyway at their meeting August 6. TWG has never had so many comments about any one issue in a long time. Here are some of the comments we received—it’s unfortunate our Commissioners don’t think the same way or at least waited to get details from the engineer:

• Road Paving!! They supposedly prepared the road bed on Pitts Chapel (to save money.) Another company paved it, but it didn’t hold up because the road bed wasn’t prepared right and the company wasn’t liable. The hill on Pitts Chapel began breaking up immediately. They have proved they don’t know what they are doing, so why would they want to buy road paving equipment?
• If you want to see just how good of a job the county does at paving just go visit the paving done over at Charlie Elliott. What a joke that is. It is already needing repair and they just finished recently. As a taxpayer this makes me so very angry. Especially when the dirt road that I live on cannot be maintained properly.
• I have a suggestion for the lowly losers that occupy our high offices. Being that home construction is sucking wind why don’t they attempt to go to some of these equipment auctions and maybe pick up some of this equipment on the cheap? They may actually get some pieces on the cheap that are still under warranty. But this would actually save taxpayers money. Can’t do that now can we?
• Don’t forget the wheel roller and water truck these are both important for proper compaction. And of course a competent crew to put it down—one that might actually work longer than 8 hours a day.
• You should have put Harvey Lane on this list also. Haven’t you noticed the huge dip on the side of the road? It may be just about big enough to tip a tractor trailer if they hit it right.
• Contractors do this everyday, they’ll simply do a better job and it will be less costly on the taxpayer. Half a million plus all the extras would go a long way on some of the roads.
• The asphalt distributor listed can be leased. This would avoid a large capital expense while allowing the PW crew the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and ability.

If you would like to comment, or send us a picture of your road or a road near you, please do so.

Something that no one brought up was the fact that the ditches along most dirt roads have not been cleaned out in years. How do we know? Because most of the ditches along our dirt roads have 6’ trees growing in them. Road maintenance just seems to be non-existent, but the County is now going to spend time and money paving. The Engineers report has brought out some of these long time maintenance problems that must be fixed.

Here are some details from the Engineer’s report (CIS is engineering company name):

• CIS has begun to evaluate the "Priority Unpaved" road projects that we understand are to be funded with the General Fund Budget. (This is going to come from our supposedly “surplus” from last year’s budget. See http://www.taxdogs.com/worstroads091906.htm and http://www.taxdogs.com/splostroads061006.htm for pictures and comment on how our BOC has picked “priority” roads.
• Performing work on these road and drainage improvements with in-house Public Works staff.
Early analysis of the "Priority Unpaved" road projects indicates that improvements to the drainage elements of the road project will be as critical as the paving of the road itself. Many of the ditch sections and drainage infrastructure (roadway culverts) on these roads are undersized, damaged or deteriorated due to age or use of uncoated metal pipes.
To self-perform this work in an efficient and productive manner, the following elements will need to be considered by the Jasper County BOC:
1. That a sufficient "construction materials" budget be allocated in the General Fund Budget
2. A crew of 5-6 must be allocated to this work in order to perform tasks in an efficient and timely manner. "Other" tasks assigned to this crew other than improvements to "unpaved roads" will decrease staff efficiency and result in projects not being completed in a timely manner
3. In some cases, additional right-of-way or drainage easements may be required in order to construct these roads in a manner that will increase the long-term durability of the project and to minimize the potential for impacts to private property.

During the Commissioner’s discussion, it was also brought up that the cost didn’t end with the new equipment ($500,000). There are other things including more equipment that goes along with paving (a citizen mentioned wheel roller and water truck). The county will have to buy the material and get it to the jobs. To transport the materials tandem and dump trucks will have to be bought—not just one, but 3 or 4. No mention was made of what the cost would be for those.

When the paving crew comes to your neighborhood, we would love for you to send us a report. The County will have an engineer to do “quality control” as one Commissioner put it. This means the road is suppose to be inspected along the process and ensure that all work is being done correctly to have a good, long lasting road. Of course, this insurance is at a cost of $555,000 over 4 years.

TWG would still like to know why NO economic analysis to compare cost and options (outside contractor vs. in house) was done. As one citizen told commissioners, “If you were going to spend any of your own money, even $50,000 you would find out what was the best way to invest or use your own money. It’s called “due diligence” and the same consideration should be made with taxpayer’s money.”


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