County getting into some dirt’y business?
Published 10:12 pm Tuesday, October 1, 2013
A road construction company used excess dirt from the Decatur County landfill during the Highway 27 South repaving project.
Unbeknownst to any of the county commissioners, county administrator Gary Breedlove and former county landfill manager John Simmons agreed to an arrangement with Oxford Construction to purchase dirt from the landfill at one dollar per cubic yard.
Generally, a typical dump truck would hold 12-15 cubic yards of material.
According to emails from Breedlove, Simmons, and the county commission, the arrangement was to cover a March-September time period. Oxford staff would come to the landfill with Oxford-owned equipment and take the dirt from as excess pile. The dirt pile was referred to as “Mt. Carl” on the emails, referencing Carl Rowland, former finance director for the county.
In total, Oxford took 5,595 cubic yards of dirt totaling 373 truckloads to use on the repaving project. The charge to Oxford from Decatur County is $5,595. It is unknown if that has been paid.
Included in one of the emails obtained by The Post-Searchlight, commissioner Butch Mosely indicated the lack of communication to the commission about the deal was troubling.
In addressing Simmons, Mosely wrote “John, the issue with me is not that you sold the dirt, it’s the fact that none of us knew. However, it is rather ironic that no billing had taken place until it was brought to your and Col. Breedlove’s attention. Strikes me as someone dropped the ball. Was it you?”
In response, Breedlove wrote, “Commissioner Mosely, if anyone is at fault, it’s me. The project was to run from March through the end of September. I had actually “thought about it” as I’ve traveled to and from the landfill and watched the progress on repaving Hwy 27, but had not followed up.”
No other business or individual was offered a similar arrangement to remove dirt from the landfill for one dollar per cubic yard.
Commissioner Oliver Sellers has indicated that he would like to see whatever dirt that has not be used returned to the county, since the sale of the dirt was not properly authorized.
Georgia law says “the governing authority (of a county) shall have the control of all property belonging to the county and may, by order entered on its minutes, direct the disposal of any real property which may lawfully be disposed of…”
The commission is the governing authority and did not direct the disposal of the excess dirt, nor was the transaction entered into the minutes of any meeting.