County faces dilemma with aging road equipment, lack of road funds

Magistrate Mickey Garner raised concerns about some aging road equipment owned by the county and introduced a motion that was later approved by the fiscal court for County Judge Executive Gary Robertson to look into some options for new equipment.

“In our road committee meeting earlier, we discussed buying quite a bit of new equipment,” Garner said during Monday’s fiscal court meeting. “I know we don’t have the money, but I think we can borrow the money through KACO or I think a local bank would do it. We don’t have nothing over there but absolute junk and we run into all kinds of problems during this last storm.”

Garner recommended that the county purchase “three or four” new trucks with salt boxes and blades and a tractor and bush hog.

“I know it’s going to be several thousand dollars and I know we can’t pay it off in a year or two, but whether we get re-elected or even if we run again, at least whoever comes in next will have something to work with,” Garner said.

Robertson said the county has enough money in the vehicle budget for one vehicle, but in purchasing three, the county would have to look at borrowing money.

Robertson estimated that three trucks with the extras that are needed would cost in the neighborhood of $345,000 while the tractor and bush hog would add an additional $100,000-120,000.

“I figured we’d be looking at half a million dollars,” Garner said. “But we don’t have anything to work with over there, judge.”

Robertson said the road budget is facing a dilemma outside of new equipment, and said a gas tax needs to pass at the state level or the county will have to cut back.

“The gas tax is something that if if don’t happen in Frankfort, we probably won’t need new trucks because we’re going to have to cut back and maybe have one or two less workers,” Robertson said. “We can’t continue like this.”

County Treasurer Kim Fenske said there are a lot of unknowns that come into play that will need to be considered when looking at a major purchase.

“There are a lot of factors there,” Fenske said. “Trust me, I get it. But there are a lot of things that are unknown that could really cause a lot of problems.”

Magistrate Ronald Johnson seconded Garner’s motion to look into buying new equipment. The motion passed unanimously.

“I’m aiming to get back with the magistrates on that hopefully at next month’s meeting,” Robertson told WJRS News following the fiscal court meeting.

 

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Zac Oakes is the News and Sports Director for LakerCountry.com and Laker Country WJRS 104.9 FM.