BONIFAY — A special session of the Holmes County Board of County Commissioners was called to discuss Commissioner Bobby Sasnett’s emergency need of a grader in District 1 on Sept. 16, with the end result being that the Board approved sharing graders with District 1 until a decision could be reached at the next meeting and approving to resend the vote to lease a grader at $7,000 per month.
During the Board’s Sept. 10 meeting they approved of leasing a grader for 30 days at $7,000 per month to be paid with FEMA funds for Sasnett’s district with a vote of three to two, with Commissioners David Whitaker and Bill Parish voting “no.”
Sasnet explained that he had a grader down and there was a 95 percent chance that the transmission is broken.
“There’s metal shavings in the transmission fluid,” said Sasnett. “It’s a bad time of the year with FEMA here. We’ve got to get these roads done.”
County Attorney Jeff Goodman advised that due to the state of the roads because of the rains the least wouldn’t have to go to bid because it was considered an emergency.
“In 30 days we need to bid it out because I’m not agreeing to anything past 30 days,” said Commissioner Kenneth Williams.
Williams came to the special called meeting with new information based on recent findings.
“All graders are equipped with a GPS that helps us know exactly where it’s at, how long it runs and how long it’s idle at any given point 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Williams. “First I’d like to point out that the hours indicated on the GPS matches up with the hours logged by our operators, which is really good, however I’d like to point out the activity of District 1’s working grader.”
Williams presented the website of logged time through the GPS to show the commissioners.
“It operated for nine hours on Aug. 6, seven hours on three days and six hours or less the rest of the month,” said Williams. “What gets me is that on the day that I voted with you that you were in a state of emergency the one grader that worked was only operated for two hours that day. I’m just saying that if you are indeed in an emergency situation that you’d think that you’d be running the one grader that worked.”
Sasnett explained that his grader operator was busy getting new tires for the district’s transport van and that the grader acquired from Bay County temporarily was down because of a faulty blade.
After much deliberation Sasnett admitted that he wasn’t using the district’s new grader to the fullest and agreed to look into the matter because he said he was unaware of the inactivity.
“But we still need to do something about not having a second running grader,” said Sasnett.
First the Board approved to fix Sasnett’s transmission for an estimated amount between $19,000 to $29,000 with a vote of three to two, with Sasnett and Whitaker voting “no” and then approved of resending the vote to lease the equipment from CAT for $7,000 per month.
Then after some discussion Parish resented his vote to have the matter tabled until the next meeting and was approved with a vote of three to two, with Williams and Merchant voting “no.”
Board then approved of Parish’s idea that the rest of the districts lend District 1 support until a decision could be made at the next meeting after resolving that one day of overtime for a grader operator would be cheaper than leasing equipment.
“Personally I believe our entire system isn’t efficient,” said Parish. “We’ve got an abundance of equipment unevenly placed within districts and this mentality of each district only supporting itself is ridiculous, however we have neither the resources nor the man power to resolve the issue now.”
Williams’ findings also showed that District 3 grader’s GPS hadn’t been activated yet and board approved to have it activated as soon as possible.
Board agreed to have the matter tabled until the next meeting, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sept. 24.