County needs ‘concrete rules’ for program

Published 6:33 pm Friday, September 2, 2011

The Decatur County Board of Commissioners met for about an hour Wednesday, to discuss the county’s often-controversial concrete dust program. Under this program, the county will pick up scrap concrete from a site, and then grind that dust down to create a powder that’s used to reportedly improve the quality of dirt roads.

Recently, the county came under scrutiny because it picked up concrete from privately-owned land, and the county equipment then remained on site to fill in holes and smooth out the land. Commissioner Oliver Sellers and others feel this is a mis-use of taxpayer-funded equipment and labor. County Administrator Tom Patton, County Roads Superintendent Dennis Medley and others feel that the program is necessary because the county saves money —it costs approximately $7 per ton for the concrete dust, while it’s more than $22 per ton for pre-ground concrete.

Wednesday, commissioners asked Patton and County Attorney Brown Moseley to come together and develop a written policy concerning the program. Medley said the county will not pick up the concrete unless there is a minimum of 150 tons, and also mentioned other limitations that could be put in place.

We believe that the county must develop an actual written policy to explain when and why the program is used. “My word is my bond” or a “handshake agreement” is not good enough.