BY GENA HUFF, Editor
The newly-formed Pickens County Commission, containing two newcomers in the form of District 2 Commissioner Bobby Ingram and District 5 Commissioner Mark Gray, met for their first administration meeting the morning of Nov. 27. After general business was conducted, District 4 Commissioner Jerry Fitch raised the issue of a new motor grader for each district, an issue he had brought to the Commission’s attention several times before.
An ongoing conflict between the commissioners since the formation of the new 2019 fiscal year budget, the plan voted on with three commissioners in favor, was to sell the five motor graders currently owned by the county, something the county has done every three years, and buy four new graders, at a cost of $243,000 each, letting three of the five districts with less dirt roads to grade, share the other two.
Fitch has been pushing for a new motor grader for each district, his argument being, regardless of the mileage of dirt road within each district, each should have a motor grader at its disposal. ”In my opinion,” said Fitch, “I spent many a year here and many a day here and if you don’t have a motor grader in your district all the time – and you may not use it all the time – but when you have bad weather or you have problems, it’s going to be hard on the districts, in all three of them most of the time. In my opinion, I think we ought to purchase this fifth motor grader.”
Gray, who is currently serving as Chairman of the Commission, asked if there was any input on the issue.
“I’ll tell you what my stance was last time and it’s nothing against Commissioner Fitch or anything else,” said District 3 Commissioner Drew Elmore. “I just looked at it from a money standpoint. And we used the term last time, ‘fair,’ and from a fair standpoint, we’ve got some districts that have considerably less dirt roads than others. And that’s what I was looking at.”
“I’m keeping up 127 miles of dirt roads,” Elmore noted. It was referenced Fitch’s district had about 50 miles of dirt roads although Clint Terry, County Engineer, said new calculations on roads were now being conducted and those more accurate figures would be available around the first of the year.
See complete story in the Pickens County Herald.