By PHILLIP WILLIAMS
GILMER–Upshur County Road Administrator Andy Jordan told the county commissioners court Sept. 29 that the county Road and Bridge Department has completely re-worked 42 of the 720 miles of county-maintained roads this year, and “we’re looking for much brighter things next year.”
The department was unable to do such work in August due to weather, Jordan said in his annual report on road work, but has enough money in oil to do 20 miles of road. It will also use the pug mill process much more, allowing repair of “bad spots” over the entire county, said the administrator, who added he thought his plan would allow “big improvements.”
Jordan had prefaced most of his report by saying, “This is about where we’re gonna run with the money we’ve got in our budget.”
He said patching “impacted about 80 percent of the roads in this county” this year and that his department attempts to do it daily. Such activity is necessary “till we can do major road work,” he added.
Jordan also told commissioners that while lack of mowing roadways is “one of the biggest complaints” he receives, his personnel mow as often as “you mow your grass.”
The department sprayed hundreds of miles of county roads this year, helping considerably with the mowing issue, he added. (Jordan said Monday that 360 “lineal miles” were sprayed).
He also told the court his department had instituted a pug works program so it could track and maintain production and received calls.
Pct. 3 Commissioner Frank Berka noted only 17 percent of the county’s budget can go for road and bridge work.
In other business Sept. 29, the court approved recording the unanticipated receipt of $68,939 from the Texas Department of Agriculture due to flooding in the county in 2016. The funds will go for the expense of plant mix asphalt, and be used on one road each in all four commissioners’ precincts–Wishteria, Hummingbird, Nutmeg and Cherry Laurel.
The court also extended its professional services contract with the Tyler law firm which collects delinquent taxes for the county, Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson LLP. Gilmer atttorney Brandon Winn works with the firm in collections.
The contract was extended five years under the state tax code. Current fees will remain the same, and are billed to persons with delinquent taxes.
Thus, Winn said the firm’s work “doesn’t cost the county a penny.”
In other business, the court met in closed session with several elected officials before approving keypad locks for the Upshur County Justice Center’s access doors.
Commissioners also approved county holidays and commissioners court meeting dates for 2018. Holidays will include Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
The court additionally:
–Ratified a recently-approved increase in county property taxes.
–Nominated incumbent Huey Mitchell and Sherron Laminack for the Upshur County Appraisal District’s Board of Directors.
–As detailed in last week’s edition, approved a lawsuit against drug-related companies for expenses resulting from opiode drug addiction.
–Heard citizen Eddie Turner thank Pct. 4 Commissioner Mike Spencer for help in cleaning the historic Dixon Cemetery in Gilmer. Turner told County Judge Dean Fowler, “Judge, you have some pretty good eggs on your court.”