County faces $96K dilemma

Published 5:47 pm Wednesday, November 16, 2005

By By Mary-Allison Lancaster
County Commissioners are facing a slight dilemma regarding who will be given the opportunity to clean up $96,000 worth of debris along county and state highways.
The question, Chairman Larry White said, is does the county want to use "our" crews to pick up the debris or hire a contractor to pick up the debris on the specific roads.
Currently, the county has a debris pickup contract with TFR Enterprises, a Texas company, but commissioners were uncertain as to whether the contract was strictly concerning county roads, and they would have to check to see if TFR would be obligated under the contract to pick up debris on state roads as well.
With many out-of-state crews with their hands full picking up debris from recent hurricanes in Louisiana and Mississippi, a few of the commissioners are worried TFR or other crews won't be able to mobilize quickly enough.
"If they can't mobilize until the middle of December then it's not worth it," White said during a Monday morning meeting.
While quick mobilization appears to be one concern, safety was another concern with some commissioners, and another reason to hire a contractor.
"The amount of traffic's going to increase considerably," Commissioner Todd Williamson said. "I'm afraid we won't be able to maintain traffic control…I'd rather see us pay $15,000 to hire a contractor than to see somebody get hurt."
The $15,000 Williamson referred to is the cost estimate the county would have to pay if they were to hire a contractor. The county would have to pay 15 percent of the $96,000 it is going to cost to pick up the entire haul of debris.
According to Commissioner Wiley Tait, a truck and a loader are down and inoperable. He said that it appears a "contractor would be more equipped to pick up some of the debris out there…it would be quicker and efficient."
On the other side of the dilemma, White said that there are plenty of men who are currently working for the county who are willing to pick up the extra load and overtime.
While County Engineer Bill Bridges told commissioners Monday that he wouldn't have a problem if they decided to hire a contractor to do the work, the county could actually save the money for the Engineering department "plus give our employees a chance to gain a little overtime."
Commissioners voted Monday to give Bridges the opportunity to contact TRF and see if the company will work for the job. If the company declines, and it is found the contract does not include state highways, Bridges has been advised to send out bids to other parties. If it looks like the mobilization won't be quick enough, then county crews will be tasked to handle the job.
In other county news, commissioners:

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