Finance, Ways and Means Committee
BY DAVID FISHER
The Finance, Ways and Means Committee of the Weakley County Commission approved the purchase of Highway Department equipment when it met on Thursday, October 7, at the School Department Conference Room.
The major topic of discussion was the need to purchase a track hoe for use by the Weakley County Highway Department.
Weakley County Road Supervisor Jeff Cosby stated it is no longer possible to get parts for the old track hoe currently in use. He mentioned the old track hoe would be sold as surplus equipment, once a new machine is procured.
Cosby explained that the Highway Department mainly uses its large track hoe for repairing bridges, because the huge bridge slabs are too heavy for a small track hoe to lift. It is also useful in removing large trees and for other jobs requiring a machine capable of lifting heavy loads.
According to Cosby, the Caterpillar 320 track hoe his department needs will cost $218,279.02. He stressed this is the state bid price. “We’re not obligated to buy it; but we have first shot at it and we need it,” Cosby said.
The Committee voted to borrow the money needed to purchase the track hoe from the county’s debt service fund at zero percent interest, instead of borrowing the money from an outside source, which would require repayment of the borrowed funds plus interest.
Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum stated the track hoe is supposed to be delivered before the first of January 2023. He stressed a borrowing resolution needs to be prepared in time to be presented at the County Commission’s November meeting.
Bynum noted the budget resolution for the equipment will round off the amount borrowed to $220,000.
“Even borrowing from ourselves, is not a simple process,” Bynum said. “We’ll also need to get approval from the state comptroller’s office.”
The Committee also discussed the future purchase of other much-needed equipment, such as a tar tank, which is used to keep tar hot until it can be applied to county roadways.
“We’ve got an old tank we’ve had for years,” Cosby said. “It’s kind of like a homemade tank, and there’s no way to get inside of it and clean it.”
Cosby stated he plans on purchasing a new tar tank, which costs approximately $72,000, out of his budget in fiscal year 2023-2024.
“It has heaters in it and an agitator, so we can keep tar in it year round,” Cosby said. “The one we have now can’t be used to haul tar in cold weather, because it will harden up inside the tank and we can’t get it out. So, we have to put down rock and cold mix, instead.”
Concerning the status of county roads, Cosby said. “We’re still doing a lot of grinding and chipping and taring, before the weather gets too cold and wet. We’ve been fortunate to have fantastic weather these past few weeks and we’ve been taking advantage of it. We’re getting a lot of our roads covered. We’re grinding the roads up and getting a good base underneath them.”
In committee appointments, Commissioner Greg Usery was elected chairman; Commissioner Billy Hazlewood was appointed vice-chairman; and Lauren Rush was elected recording secretary.