Darren Doyle, story and photo
The Monday night, January 25, 2016 fiscal court meeting saw a good crowd and covered a range of topics, one of the first being the effort made by county road crews during the recent winter storm.
County Road Foreman Ray Page said his crew got started around 3:30am on Wednesday morning where most all the county saw at least 3 inches of snow.
He said crews worked 15-16 hours into Wednesday night, but the worst was yet to come as Thursday night and early Friday morning saw ¼ inch of ice, then snow fell all day long. Crews started again around 5:30am and continued until 11pm Friday night.
He said all 5 county trucks were stuck at different times throughout the shifts and one wrecker even refused to go in certain areas. Page said the county’s trucks are in bad need of repair and the county equipment struggled to spread the 200 tons of salt over the weekend. He began to discuss in detail the problems that each truck has, one being 27 years old, and two trucks that were 19 years old.
Page said just today, he spent $5,000 of his department’s budget on tire chains and new cutting edges for snow plow blades. He said a set of chains lasts about one large snowfall, and the blade edges need replacing every other snow. He said he didn’t think it was fair for that money to come out of his department’s already strapped budget.
“Magistrates call me and they ask me why ain’t we plowing this road, or that one, well, it’s because we’re spending about as much time working on our trucks as we are out on the roads,” Page said.
He spoke of the dedication that the guys on his crews show every day, not just during snow storms and requested that the county find ways to purchase new trucks and at the least, to help fund snowstorm efforts. “These guys bend over backward for me, and I’m here to fight for them.”
Judge Cannon suggested that the magistrates each use a portion of their district road money as an aid for things like tire chains and blade maintenance.
Page welcomed any of the magistrates to ride with his crew to get a better idea of what he was talking about. He said that if another snow were to hit this week, he’d only have 3 out of 5 trucks ready to hit the roads.
Cannon said the court would begin the process of looking for affordable options. “We can’t spend more than we have, but it’s obvious we have to do something,” he said.
All the magistrates and court officials in attendance thanked Page along with Greg Carroll, assistant foreman who was also in attendance, for outstanding work and the tireless efforts of the crews. Sheriff Shane Doyle also spoke of the good work from the team. "Our roads looked better on Saturday than some other counties' roads look today," he said.