New garbage truck budgeted

HAMILTON - The Marion County Commission has approved the purchase of a new garbage truck for the Marion County Solid Waste Department.
The commission approved a $10.4 million operating budget which included the new $170,000 sanitation vehicle during a special meeting held on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at its office in Hamilton.
Marion County Engineer Mike Shaw reminded the commission at a budget hearing on Sept. 5 that the solid waste department is totally funded by collections and fees and does not use General Fund dollars.
Shaw also requested and was approved to move forward on purchases for the county’s Two-Way Shop for a new asphalt milling machine and a herbicide truck,  which are expected to cost $60,000 and $40,000, respectively.
Shaw noted that the Two-Way Shop receives specific funding from gas taxes and fees for purchases such as this.
Only one raise was approved by the commission for the upcoming year and it will be given to Marion County Assistant Engineer Lynn Mitchell.
The commission only considered a raise for Mitchell as 50 percent of the assistant’s salary is reimbursed by the state.
The commission made no action on step-pay increases for Two-Way Shop employees Jason Taylor, Melody Lacy and Richard Cantrell.
With benefits taken into account, Marion County Commission Administrator Brooke Slatton said that the raise would be worth a total of $7,762 for Two-Way employees (without subtracting Mitchell’s state reimbursement).
“This seems like it would be bad on him (Shaw),” Commissioner Bob Burleson said.
“It’d be bad on us, too,” said commissioner Kenny Jackson. “You start giving out raises you got to give them out to everybody.”
Burleson said that he believed that the Commission’s Omnibus Pay Act would indicate this. Commissioner Mike “Sac” Davis agreed.
“How do you justify a step raise?” Burleson said.
Davis said that he believed that it had to do with education and training achievements.
“I can’t support a raise for one department and not for another,” Burleson said.
“I can’t either,” Jackson said.
Pothole patching
District 1 Commissioner Kenny Jackson asked Shaw about each of the five district commissioner’s county’s pothole patching service, which has been traditionally been evenly split among districts by amount of service hours.
Jackson said that he has questions with the fairness of the one-rate pay for all commissioners as he has the most road miles in his district with approximately 254 miles of road. He said that another district only has 118 road miles to deal with.
Shaw told Jackson that the formula was put in place years and years ago by the commission, but he agreed that he had a good point.
District 4 commissioner Mike “Sac” Davis said that during the last Census he was  in favor of redrawing the district lines to even out road mileage. However, it was not done.
Shaw said that the county pothole patching crews have spent:
• District 1 - 22 work days;
• District 2 - 17 days;
• District 3 - 20 days;
• District 4 - 18 days; and
• District 5 - 24 days.
In other business, the commission:
• Approved $5,000 for increased funding to the Marion County Revenue Commission’s office for assuming the operation of the county’s one-stop tag office.
The revenue office has traditionally split the responsibility and costs of the one-stop tag office with the Marion County Probate Judge. However, per special legislation passed through the efforts of recently-defeated probate judge Rocky Ridings, the local probate office will be reconstituted as a county entity and full responsibility of tags and titles will fall on the revenue commissioner.
• Approved $15,000 for new counters at the one-stop tag office;
• Approved a request by Marion County Revenue Commissioner Barabara Cooper to sell the current appraisal travel vehicle, a 2010 Dodge Nitro with 80,000 miles.
The revenue commissioner is considering purchasing a 2018 Ford Explorer. The state bid on the Explorer is currently $35,000. Cooper said that the money is in her appraisal budget.

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