Court Also Approves Bid To Purchase Wrecker For County Road Department
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
Magistrates voted to pass the first reading of a county ordinance which would allow county roads to be memorialized for fallen soldiers who died in battle. The ordinance, named EC18-11, gives veterans' families the opportunity to memorialize a county road on which the fallen veteran lived by purchasing a road sign that would display the soldier's name, rank, branch of service, and other military related information.
The ordinance came about after some citizens on Noah Bledsoe Road in Chalybeate requested to memorialize the road in honor of fallen Vietnam veteran Elzie Sanders, Jr. in December of 2017.
The ordinance states that the name of the road would not change but the memorialization would be in an addition to the already named county road. An example would be a "Sgt. John Doe Memorial Road" (or similar) sign mounted at both ends of a county road, funded by the family of "John Doe," providing the ordinance was followed in full.
Some of the regulations include: the fallen soldier must have been a resident of the county and lived on the particular county road for request, must have died in battle with documented proof of service provided, the sign dimension guidelines must be followed, and the county road department must be in charge of the sign installation. The first reading passed unanimously.
The county also officially opened sealed beds for the purchase of a 5-ton wrecker for the county road department where the Memphis Equipment Company was the only company to submit a bid. They offered a 5-ton wrecker truck, completely refurbished with new fluids, belts, hoses, a new brake system, batteries, tires with at least 70% available treadwear, new upholstery, and minor body, paintwork, and graphic design.
It is powered with a Cummins diesel engine, Alison transmission., 24V electric system, 20Klb front winch, 45Klb rear winch, for a total price of, $36,000 delivered to Brownsville.
Judge Wil Cannon explained why the purchase was possible in the midst of tight budget conditions.
"These funds come from our road fund, which originates from our state gas tax," he said. "A portion comes back to each county and that money can’t be spent anywhere else but for our roads, the equipment related to our road department and road maintenance, and the trucks they use."
He said none of that money can be spent for needs from any other county office, including the Sheriff, Parks, and Rec, the Community Center, etc.
He also explained that the county's snow plow trucks are not four wheel drive and when they get stuck in winter weather, a wrecker bill is a minimum of $750 per run; however, he said the county can no longer get commercial wreckers to respond to these calls.
Currently, when a truck becomes stuck, another road truck has to stop plowing or working elsewhere in an attempt to pull it out, which hinders the county's operation. The new wrecker will also be used on other county projects, not just during winter weather. A motion was made by Magistrate Edd Rich and seconded by Magistrate Johnny Brooks, which passed unanimously.