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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

County road truck replacment stymied over road shop issue

Updated: Apr 12

By Charlene Sims,

MOUND CITY – After hearing from Public Works Director Shaun West and two road foremen about the need for replacing the  30-year-old road, or semi-, tractor, the Linn County Commissioners on Monday, April 1, decided to wait on purchasing the vehicle. 

“Well, I’ve stated where I was,” said Commissioner Danny McCullough. “I was OK about going out and getting bids, but I won’t be voting for anything until we get the Pleasanton issue figured out.” 

McCullough was referring to reopening Pleasanton’s road shop.

Commissioner Jim Johnson said that was where he was at too.

“I’ve seen a lot of money sitting in trucks and lowboys (trailers),” said Johnson.

Johnson said he would like to see the county go to one semi-tractor because they are not hauling equipment with it every day.

Commission Chair Jason Hightower asked the road foremen how that would impact their operations.

Both south road shop foreman Dennis Hardy and north road shop foreman Jesse Walton said that it would decrease the productivity of the road crew.  

“It would drastically reduce what we can do,” said Hardy. “With the new 313s – the excavators – we’re hauling equipment as often as we can haul it out. In the past, the Mound City road shop’s tractor was not used as often as the north shop. They hauled the dozer, the track loader, the big excavator. 

“We just didn’t have equipment to necessitate the two road tractors, but with the 313s, I mean, whenever I can take it out and use it, I am taking it out and using it.

Johnson argued that he wasn’t saying the county crews are not using it. He said he thought the county could use just one road tractor.

“If we do that,” Hardy replied, “we are going to be looking at down time waiting on transportation or scheduling work that we could be doing today for next week because the north shop has the tractor. It’s going to be a logistical nightmare here, and if our road tractor goes down then we are not hauling anything.”

“It will definitely reduce productivity in the county,” Walton added. “We’re short drivers anyway.

“Our CDL (Commercial Drivers License) program only allows our drivers to get a Class B,” he continued. “You need a Class A without any restrictions to drive the road tractor that we have and that Denny has. So if we just go down to one, Denny has three or four drivers that are Class A with no restrictions. All of my guys have a Class A, one of them has a restriction. 

West said that the south shop truck desperately needed to be replaced. He said

that, because of the condition of the two road tractors the county presently owns, that they are unable to train CDL Class A drivers in the tractors.

Even after hearing the concerns of West, Hardy and Walton, McCullough and Johnson refused to vote on it. 

Hightower asked how this would affect the goals that the commission is setting for cleaning out the ditches.

McCullough asked what goals. He said he didn’t think they had set anything, have we?

Hightower said the commission had talked about setting goals.

McCullough said he thought the trucks should be in the talk too.

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