We have been collecting votes for possible solutions to the ever present problem of fixing our county roads. As of Tuesday, June 28th almost 400 people have voted in our poll with the following results.
- Share resources between precincts. (48%)
- Hire more qualified help.(31%)
- Raise Taxes and Spend more on the roads. (13%)
- Nothing. My road is fine. (9%)
As you can see, an overwhelming amount of votes (79%) fell in the “Share Resources” or “More Qualified Help” category. This means that there is a large group of folks that think the different precincts should share equipment and possibly labor between the different precincts to help make the repairs that have a bigger need. In fact, some of the precincts already do this. With the price of equipment and maintenance on equipment going up every year, three of the precincts went together several years ago to purchase some “chip seal” equipment that could be shared between precincts 1, 3 and 4. It is important to note that Precinct 2 already had similar equipment in it’s inventory and did not need to participate with the other precincts. So, each precinct (1, 3 & 4) pays an equal amount each year in their respective budgets for the equipment’s original purchase cost, and then each precinct pays an additional maintenance amount for that equipment based on their amount of usage of the equipment. This seems to be a great way to share the burden of more expensive equipment and to spread the usage of the one piece of equipment across more road jobs to increase it’s utilization. It may be time to explore more of these options. I also wonder if the precincts share their “labor” as well? I would think that it would be very difficult for each precinct to keep expert road and bridge builders in EACH precinct. I am certainly not discounting the level of the workers in any or all of the precincts and their respective ability to build roads or bridges. I am, though, curious how the different precincts could work together to help each other out on larger projects to get those projects done quicker and possibly more efficiently? I truly do not think that the experience of the labor or the commissioner in any one precinct is as much of a factor of the road conditions as is their limited budget and so many other factors, such as soil condition, present road conditions, weather, etc. With prices going up and road conditions declining, it may be time to consider other options.