County may borrow $608,000 for schools, road equipment

Friday, August 31, 2012

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

Marshall County is headed toward borrowing $608,000 to repair schools and buy equipment for the Highway Department, according to information from the county budget office and discussion among commissioners.

New roofing for several schools will be funded with $300,000, and $308,000 is planned for the purchase of two tractors, two side-arm bush hogs and a truck for the Highway Department, officials in those two department have explained this week.

Asked if buying equipment can be postponed to avoid borrowing, Roads Superintendent Jerry Williams said, "That's up to the budget committee. We asked for them because we need them."

Two tractors at the highway department are 10 years old, Williams said.

"They normally last seven years," he said. "It's costing more to run them" because they're breaking down."

Side arm bush hog equipment is purchased separately and attached to a tractor.

"The bush hogs and truck won't put taxes up," Williams said. "I don't think they're going up on taxes, but that's up to them."

Furthermore, "It's not for sure that this budget will pass because the school board meets Friday morning."

A Monday night budget committee meeting concluded with a unanimous vote to recommend funding for road equipment and increase spending on schools. The school board was scheduled to meet at 10:15 this morning to vote again on its budget.

The county budget must pass before October if schools are to receive a monthly payment of Basic Education Program money from the state.

Meanwhile, Williams has stopped paving because it costs $100,000 a mile.

"The county is strapped for money, so we're getting by with patching," he said.

Still, steps are being taken to make the roads safer, Williams said.

"We got a state and federal grant to stripe the road and put signage up like 'stop ahead,'" he said. "I filed for the grant about six months ago and we got it on Aug. 16."

The grant is for $250,000 and will also pay for guardrails.

"They tell us where we can put them," Williams said. "It's from a state and federal study. It's where there have been bad wrecks and fatalities."