By Kevin Edwards
BC Staff Writer
Road Manager James Pritchett was questioned regarding the progress of road repairs in the county at the recent meeting of the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors.
Supervisor Jacorius Liner spoke about complaints he has been receiving from his constituents.
“I know the entire month of January we have discussed at great length the need for the roads to be addressed, more accountability in terms of getting it addressed,” Liner said. “I had the opportunity on Friday to ride (around) my entire district and other districts across the county and there were some roads that were particularly discussed.
“Those roads are in critically bad condition. We talked about Old Malvina Road all the month of January. One of the citizens contacts me everyday it seems on social media regarding that road.
“I’ve been told on several occasions that the road has been fixed, three quarters of the roads were fixed, etcetera, and to be quite frank it’s a little disappointing.
“It’s infuriating because the folk here elected us to get results and we are in a results-driven business and I’m just trying to understand what’s the issue in regards to our ability to get these roads fixed and done, and time and time again I am told that they’re done and I ride those same roads and I see those same holes and so I’m a little bit frustrated in regards to that.”
Liner also took aim at the budget expenses for the road department.
“Our budget year started months ago,” Liner said. “I see heavy equipment over $5,000, vehicles over $5,000 and there’s been no money spent. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that our equipment is in deplorable condition and if we’re unwilling to purchase new equipment, I just want to impress upon you that there is a great need in this county for us to deliver for these citizens.
“I am getting calls about our constituents’ tires being busted time and time again and they have an expectation for us to pay for it, and when I tell them there is a policy adopted by the board that we cannot pay for it, then I am getting words and epithets and everything else.”
Liner mentioned a resident on Lewis Road that is no longer receiving garbage collection because the trucks cannot travel down the road due to disrepair, so she has resorted to burning her trash since October.
Pritchett responded his department is working as fast as they can.
“With the amount of roads that we have we are working as diligently and as fast as we can to repair the roads.
“We are doing these roads as fast as we can get to them and we have a lot of roads, not just in your area, but all over the county we have bad roads and due to the weather we are working as fast and quick as we can as the weather allows us to repair the roads.
“As far as the equipment, the equipment is old but it’s working, and we spent the money as we needed to buy the things that we need. It’s priority things.
“We are trying to be proactive to do those things.”
Liner acknowledged the issues but said, “We’ve got to get a little bit more than what we’re getting.”
Supervisor Olanda Morton said, “I rode my district for the last two weeks and really all of the roads are bad.”
He said rain has attributed to the road problem.
“The water has nowhere to go so the water is standing in the road and it’s washing the road out. A couple of roads, I had to turn around because the road was too bad to drive down.
“I was noticing one road, the pipe that drains the water off the road is completely washing the road out. I guess the water pressure is so hard that it’s putting indentures in the road where it’s washing the road out.
“The school buses go down those roads and I can’t see how they can continue to get down the road with the roads failing as they are.”
Morton asked to meet with Pritchett to discuss the issues at hand.
Supervisor Larry King asked for patience among residents.
“We do understand that weather plays a real big part, especially during this time of year,” King said. “We do appreciate what the road department does to help as much as you do and all you do to provide safe travel for our citizens.”
Pritchett received board authorization for various road repairs in Winstonville, Merigold and Pace.