It’s been a short week due to the Independence Day, but there has been no shortage of activity around the Courthouse. I hope everyone has been able to relax and enjoy the many freedoms we enjoy in this country, not the least of which is our independence.
A few items of interest that the Commission has been working on are below.
- I’m sure many of you are growing weary of all of the asphalt talk of late, but a question was posed that I think might be of interest. Why are asphalt prices higher this year, when gas prices have remained steady? Our asphalt prices have indeed risen over 30% in some cases when compared to last year. Each year the County bids hot-mix asphalt with the prices tied to the MODOT asphalt cost index, which in turn is applied to the asphalt content in each vendor’s mix design. By indexing the product, we are afforded a degree of price protection in the event of price fluctuations. In periods of rising asphalt prices, we are insulated from wholesale price increases based only on demand. The price increases are limited to those allowed by the index. During periods of falling asphalt prices, indexing allows us to capture price reductions which we otherwise would not recognize. Asphalt is still an expensive proposition, but indexing is a useful tool in budgeting and cost control.
- We should soon receive the final audit report for fiscal year 2016 and we are currently engaged in an audit “checkup” of our internal control policies and fraud risk assessment procedures. Auditing, both internal and external, is a valuable tool to measure how well we are complying with the laws set forth. Based on the results of these audits, we will make adjustments to continue to make our local government accountable to the taxpayers.
- 911 Dispatch fees are again in the news and unfortunately, much of what is being presented by the media is not supported by the facts. The County continues to charge other entities less than the cost to provide the service and the County does not profit from the operation of the Dispatch center. Dispatch Center director Captain Pirtle and I spend time each week brainstorming ways to trim costs from the budget. I encourage everyone, particularly those of you that live within a municipality, to give me or Captain Pirtle a call to talk about this matter.
That’s all I have time for now. As always, call, e-mail or stop by the Courthouse if you have questions. Until next week…