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.

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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.