No room for Decatur Co. government to compete with business

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, October 2, 2013

While an agreement to sell excess dirt, on the surface, seems like a harmless enough arrangement — the lack of communication, lack of proper procedure and negative implications to some private companies merit concern.
Oxford Construction bought more than 5500 cubic yards, 373 truckloads, of dirt from the Decatur County landfill for $1 per cubic yard from the county for a total cost of $5,595.
A public entity selling a product to a private business (Oxford Construction) for below market value is worrisome and should never happen. Yes, the county is looking for every possible way to earn revenue, as it should. But, so are the private companies in the community that sell dirt. Government should never compete with private business and Decatur County did just that.
Our research has shown the market rate for this type of dirt is $1.80 per cubic yard. With that being known, it is not hard to understand why 373 truckloads of dirt were removed from the dirt pile known as “Mt. Carl” from the landfill.
In addition to the issue of delving into what should remain between private companies, the dirt was sold without the proper authorization.
Georgia law requires that county property can be sold only after authorization by the governing body, which is the county commission, and that authorization must be entered into the official minutes.
We encourage the county, and every other governmental entity, to not compete with for-profit private businesses. And, in the future, if surplus property is available for sale, give everyone the same opportunity, not just one select company.