By Debbie Hall and Cory L. Higgs
The proposed purchase of a truck was tabled at the Patrick County Board of Supervisor’s Jan. 6 organizational meeting.
At the time, then county administrator Tom Rose asked to add discussion of a pending purchase to the meeting agenda.
Crystal Harris, vice chairman, voted against the addition. “I didn’t think we were supposed to be bringing up anything” she said.
The addition secured a majority of votes, and Rose explained that Clyde Crissman, director of Patrick County Parks and Recreation, and Ed Belcher, head of the county’s maintenance department, “had looked for some time” to find a truck to replace the county’s 1996 Chevrolet, which has a myriad of issues.
Rose said Crissman and Belcher found a 4500 Dodge Ram, with a flatbed and dumping capability.
“What we have is a gas converted to a diesel, and” the mechanic “has even refused to work on it anymore. We’re having trouble putting Band-aids on it. The brakes don’t work” and the truck has become a hazard, Rose said, adding that he obtained “12 other quotes” to compare.
“Twelve of them,” Harris asked.
“Yes,” Rose replied.
“You didn’t have any this morning,” Harris said.
“I had one. I got some more,” Rose said.
“You had one, I questioned it. You got 12 the rest of the day,” Harris asked.
Rose explained the 2014 Dodge truck with 52,000 miles will cost $29,800.
“It has been put on hold for us right now. This is why I brought it up tonight. By next meeting, it will probably be sold. I would like to go ahead and purchase it. The purchase would take place with recreation activity funds and will not come out of general accounts. This is money that is raised by the recreation department through fundraisers, through fees paid at the college and sporting events,” Rose said, adding the proposed purchase “is a need, not a want.”
Clayton Kendrick, of the Mayo River District, asked if the county had received a quote to repair the 1994 Chevrolet.
Rose responded the current vehicle has many issues. The brakes are bad, it is a struggle to repair the conversion diesel engine and “it is almost impossible to crank,” Rose said.
“I’d like to see all 12 quotes in writing,” Harris said.
Denise Stirewalt, of the Peters Creek District, said “today is board meeting day and we’re getting this information by a phone call this morning and you guys are wanting us to vote for this tonight. Not enough research has been done. I don’t think we should be expected to give a vote tonight.”
“They will hold it 10 days for us,” Rose said. “I found out Friday afternoon. I don’t like adding to the agenda any more than ya’ll like me to.”
Stirewalt inquired about activity funds, and the reasons for the separation from the general fund.
Rose said the activity funds are a separate line item in the General Fund. Monies are used for recreation, “park service and so forth. This (proposed truck) would be used by parks and our maintenance department.”
Treasurer Sandra Stone said the activity fund “is not a separate fund, per se, but it is separated by line item.”
Donna Shough, the county’s finance director, told the supervisors that she uses a spreadsheet “to keep a running tally of what goes in” the fund and what is paid from the fund. “I can’t tell you the exact balance in it, but I know it’s in the 30 thousands that’s in it right now.”
Walter Scott, a school board member and also a county employee, asked to address the board.
Scott said he had been out of work about two weeks and did not know the issue would be discussed. However, he said he works in the maintenance department and can “speak on the truck. It’s not safe to drive. It won’t crank, 99 percent of the time, we spend two hours trying to get it to crank when we’re going to a job.
While going down a steep incline, such as “the hill there at Clark Gas & Oil (on Woodland Drive), I hope it stops when I get to the bottom. That’s the kind of vehicle it is,” Scott said.
The truck was made in the early 1990s, is a 3500 with a dump bed on it, he explained. “It was a gas motor switched over to a diesel. The same engine they use for gas, but they switched it over to diesel. Not meaning it’s a bad motor, my point is that truck is very dangerous to drive. Something that’s a need,” Scott said. “Somebody’s going to get hurt.”
Clyde DeLoach, of the Blue Ridge District, said he appreciated the information Scott provided. “I wish it had been packaged together and brought to us like that. I have no qualms about getting this truck except how it’s been presented.”
“I would have rather known about it before I got here, but I didn’t know until I sat down in this seat, so that’s a little problem,” said Jane Fulk, chairman and of the Dan River District. “I’m also aware if it’s a good buy with low mileage and the price is not outrageous, this truck won’t last long. “
A motion Stirewalt made to put further discussion “on hold until we review all the information” passed with a majority vote.
Fulk voted against the measure.
In other matters, the board also:
- Adopted a meeting calendar for 2020. Mandatory meetings begin at 6 p.m. on the first Monday of the month. Meetings on the second Monday of each month are as needed, and may or may not be held.
- Heard public comment from Steve Terry, chairman of the Patrick County Broadband Committee; Roger Hayden, former supervisor and of the Dan River District, and David Kuser, of the Mayo River District.
Terry said the committee is hopeful and waiting the announcement of grant winners to upgrade broadband service from Gov. Ralph Northam’s office. ”We’re optimistic, and I guess you could say we’re waiting and fast as we can,” Terry said.
Hayden discussed issues related to legality of Second Amendment Sanctuary resolutions.
Kuser discussed topics related to the Transfer Station, including weight requirements and the weight of trucks in the county. Kuser withdrew any further involvement pending resolution of weight issues.
- Met in closed session to discuss personnel, legal, contract and real estate matters.
- Appointed George Stovall to represent the Mayo River District on the Patrick County Economic Development Authority (EDA) board.