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County putting penny sales tax to use in big ways

A little penny may not seem like much, but when you have a bunch of them they go a long way as Grady County Commissioners learned Tuesday.
The board was asked to approve expenditures totaling $270,729 and every last penny will come out of Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds designated for roads and bridges.
Among the items approved by Grady County commissioners Tuesday were new road department vehicles, a front end loader for the road department, and culvert repairs on Old 179 North and Singletary Road.
Grady County Administrator Rusty Moye, in consultation with Road Department Superintendent Yancey Maxwell and Shop Superintendent Larry Hunter, brought a recommendation to the board this week to replace four trucks in the road department.
“This is only four, we could bring more,” Moye said. All of them, according to the administrator have 300,000 or close to 300,000 miles on them.
Bids were solicited from Stallings Motors, Mitchell County Ford and Thomas of Cairo, but only Stallings submitted a bid and the board voted unanimously to purchase the four new trucks at a combined price of $111,147 from Stallings.
The county is purchasing three 3500 Dodge cab & chassis and a 1500 Dodge 4WD, which will be operated by Road Superintendent Maxwell.
Maxwell’s current vehicle will be transferred to Extension Agent Don Clark and Clark’s vehicle will be transferred to the Animal Control Department. The other three trucks plus the one being replaced at Animal Control will likely be surplused.
“It’s part of what we told the people we would spend the money on, and I take the word of our road department personnel so I move to approve,” Grady County Commissioner Elwyn Childs said.
Grady County Commissioner Al Ball seconded the motion to open the matter for discussion. Grady County Commission Chairman Charles Norton said his preference was to invest as much of the SPLOST in road improvements rather than equipment, but he acknowledged you have to have suitable equipment to repair and maintain the roads so he would support the vehicle purchases.
The board voted unanimously to accept the bid of Stallings Motors for the four new trucks.
Also Tuesday morning, Grady County commissioners carefully considered a variety of bid options for the purchase of a front end loader for the road department to replace a 21-year-old model that is in need of extensive repairs.
On previous occasions, Road Superintendent Maxwell has recommended one particular manufacturer over the others for certain pieces of equipment, but in this case he told commissioners either the John Deere or the Caterpillar front end loader would be acceptable.
Commissioners upon that recommendation accepted the low bid of $95,900 for a 2011 544K John Deere that has 838 hours of operation and has been used in the rental fleet of Flint Equipment Company.
Superintendent Maxwell also recommended emergency repairs to two culverts on busy, well-traveled county roads.
According to Maxwell and Moye, the prolonged drought has lowered creek levels to expose damage to culverts on Old 179 North and Singletary Road.
At the Old 179 North culvert the recommendation is for Southern Concrete Construction, Inc., of Albany to extend the existing culvert four feet on each end. The contractor will also place aprons with concrete tow walls on each intake end of the culvert, as well as drill holes and pump concrete under the existing culvert to fill any voids. Cost to the county is $36,940.
Maxwell recommended that Southern Concrete be hired to make repairs to the Singletary Road culvert, which will require the closing of the road for about four or five days. Similar repairs to the Old 179 culvert will be made, but the county is able to reduce the cost of the project by providing the backfill and allowing the contractor to close the road for the duration of the repairs. Total cost of this project will be $26,742.
“The water has been so high until now we hadn’t noticed the damage,” Maxwell told commissioners Tuesday.
“Is it so much an emergency that we couldn’t get other prices?” Grady County Commissioner Al Ball asked.
Administrator Moye indicated the county needed to proceed with the two repairs immediately.
Superintendent Maxwell also pointed out, “If it begins raining, it will be a whole different ball game.”

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