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Commissioners OK many road-related bids, hire road worker
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Dec. 24, 2008) — In their last full week of business for 2008, Pulaski County Commissioners voted during Wednesday morning and Monday morning meetings to make numerous budget amendments and accept necessary bids for the road and bridge department.

Commissioners also announced Wednesday that they’ve received 24 tons of road salt for each of the county’s two road sheds to be used during snowy and icy weather conditions. That had been doubtful earlier when the county’s salt supplier pulled out of a bid late in the fall due to problems associated with the Louisiana hurricanes earlier this year.

Eastern District Commissioner Bill Farnham said he’s glad to be prepared for bad weather conditions but hoped the preparations aren’t needed.

“I hope the weather is good enough that it’s still there for the next winter,” Farnham said.

A new employee will also be added to the Western District road shed: Kenny Wall, who is the first new employee that outgoing Western District Commissioner Dennis Thornsberry has hired since taking office eight years ago.

The Road and Bridge Department’s contract with Local 148 of the International Union of Operating Engineers allows existing employees to transfer between the county’s two road sheds before positions are posted for outside hiring, and until the last full week of Thornsberry’s last term, he’d always been able to fill Western District vacancies by transfers from the Eastern District Road shed.

County Clerk Diana Linnenbringer said during Monday’s meeting that under the union contract, Wall will start work earning 80 percent of $12.95 per hour, the lowest wage in the department, and go up to the full incoming worker pay of $12.95 after a probationary period. Longevity pay increases apply for workers after their fifth year; the union is asking county commissioners to increase the base pay by 50 cents per hour and raise the longevity pay by 10 cents from 25 to 35 cents per hour after each five years of service.

Wall’s first day of work will be Jan. 2, which prompted a question from Thornsberry’s successor, Ricky Zweerink, who will take office on Dec. 31. Zweerink asked what could be done if a major storm happened and his road shed was one person short; Thornsberry said new employees have to take a physical exam for the county and they can’t be brought on the department’s personnel roster before that.

Presiding Commissioner Bill Ransdall said that in a major emergency, Wall could be hired as contract labor but can’t be a regular employee until the hire-in date.

Ransdall agreed that Wall is a good addition to the department.

“He’s been to Waynesville vo-tech; he knows auto mechanics,” Wall said.

Commissioners received their annual road rock and culvert bids on Monday from many of the traditional bidders, but called Willard Quarries of Lebanon as well as Bedrock Sand and Gravel of Waynesville about an hour before the bidding deadline to find out why they hadn’t yet submitted bids. Company representatives were able to turn in bids by the announced deadline.

Commissioners agreed to accept a culvert bid from Metal Culverts of Jefferson City over a bid from Thompson Culvert Company of Springfield, not only because Metal Culverts’ bid was lower but also because of past experience with another company. Commissioners asked Greg Brauner, the sales representative from the company, whether the fluctuating price of metal would lead to last-minute cost changes late in the year.

That won’t happen, Brauner assured the commissioners.

“We don’t go around to our counties and say, ‘The price of metal went up, we’re going to raise our prices,’” Brauner said. “We took a beating last year, but we didn’t back out of anybody … Every time they called in an order, we would just cringe, but we had to honor it.”

That impressed the commissioners.

“Our supplier last year did that. They told us they couldn’t honor the prices and we had 30 days to buy under the contract bid prices,” Ransdall said.

Metal Culverts’ bid was $6.20 per linear foot for 12-inch diameter 16-gauge plain galvanized corrugated metal pipe, $7.80 for 15-inch, $9.25 for 18-inch, $10.75 for 21-inch, $12.40 for 24-inch, $15.20 for 30-inch and $18.10 for 36-inch, with an alternate bid for 14-gauge culverts of $19 for 30-inch diameter and $22.65 for 36-inch. Thompson Culverts’ bid was higher, at $6.80 per linear foot for 12-inch diameter 16-gauge culverts, $8.36 for 15-inch, $9.96 for 18-inch, $13.26 for 24-inch, $16.46 for 30-inch, $19.72 for 36-inch, $22.99 for 42-inch and $26.18 for 48-inch.

After discussion, commissioners voted to accept both of the last-minute road rock bids, as well as one from Kelly Quarry of Crocker.

“Let’s accept all three of them; what we’ve done in the past is whoever’s closest to the job site we use,” Farnham said.

By accepting all three bids, commissioners can use the quarry that’s actually the cheapest when fuel and transportation costs to the job site are added to the cost, even if the actual road rock is more expensive.

Thornsberry cautioned his successor that when buying pea gravel to aid traction during winter snow conditions, the color is important.

“I’ve tried to use that white pea gravel on snow and it doesn’t work. If it’s brown pea gravel you can see somebody’s been down there; otherwise they don’t see it,” Thornsberry said. “You’ll find that our real quick, Rick.”

Road rock bids were:

• From Willard Quarries, which has quarries in Lebanon and St. Robert: $5 per ton for 1-inch or 2-inch base rock, $6.25 for 1-inch clean, $5.75 for 2-inch clean, $8.25 for 3/8-inch clean, $3.25 for waste base, $8.50 for rip rap, $4 for shot rock, and $3.50 for screenings. Willard’s bid added that they recommended waste base to be used on county roads.

• From Kelly Quarry in Crocker: $5 per ton for 1-inch or 2-inch base, $6.25 for 1-inch clean, $5.25 for 2-inch clean, $4 for shot rock, $8 for rip rap, $6 for 6-inch rock or boulders, and $4.75 for half-inch base. Kelly Quarry also offered a rate of $15 per load for dirt if quarry employees load or $5 per load if the county loads.

• From Bedrock Sand and Gravel in Waynesville: $8.50 per ton for sand; $6 for 1-inch minus, 2-inch clean or pea gravel; $4.50 for oversize; and $5.50 for top soil.

Commissioners also made numerous end-of-year budget amendments to reflect actual revenue and expenses where they deviated from prior budget expectations. Those changes included:

• Adding extra revenues on Monday of $200 to the County Law Enforcement Restitution Fund and $84,000 to the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau, both of which received more revenue than had been anticipated.

• Creating a new sheriff’s deputy supplemental fund on Monday to receive an additional $10 per case that will be added to court costs, collected by each county and sent to the state, and in future years will be used to provide a salary supplement to low-paid deputies throughout Missouri.

• Adding revenues of $396,195 in disaster money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $32,176 in CART state road aid funds to the Pulaski County Road and Bridge Department, as well as expenses of $70,238 for supplies, $202,496 for material, $21,323 for equipment repair and $89,159 for equipment purchases.

Additional funds are expected from the State Emergency Management Agency to help cover the cost of flood damage.

“We should receive about $39,000 from SEMA,” Ransdall said. “We just amended the expense budget by $428,000, so we should be awfully close.”

The last remaining flood damage should be fixed soon, Farnham said.

“As soon as the weather breaks, we should be able to get right on it,” Farnham said.

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