Madison Co. Commission raises prices for public works services - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Madison Co. Commission raises prices for public works services

Prices for public works services are going up across the board. (Source: WAFF) Prices for public works services are going up across the board. (Source: WAFF)

The Madison County Commission is trying to keep the county in the business of helping homeowners with private projects, by raising its prices.

Wednesday morning, the commission raised its rates for services like equipment rentals or deliveries of loads of gravel.

Commissioners who support doing private works said it's a service the county should be providing because homeowners, especially in more rural areas, can't get that kind of service any other way, and because it's some great value supported by the taxpayers. 

“It’s not a subsidy from the taxpayers money,” said Commissioner Phil Vandiver. “It’s a process, a service that pays for itself.

Vandiver said it’s important that people in his district have the option, but on fair terms.

As controversy over private works has rattled the county commission, the commission asked a consultant to evaluate whether the practice really was priced to accommodate its real world costs.

‘And we made sure we got all the costs involved in it,” Vandiver said. “We got the cost of the equipment. We got the cost of the labor, we got the fringe benefits of the labor, we got the supervisors involved. We got the administrative personnel involved at the courthouse. We wanted to make sure we got all the costs involved.”

The costs did not add up, so the commission raised its rates.

The cost of a small load of gravel will more than double from $62 to $150, the increase for larger loads will be proportionately smaller - but all prices go up.

“I think a side effect is,” Vandiver noted, “I hope that we’ve got these prices up to where people aren’t looking for us for it to be cheaper. They’re looking for us when they can’t find anybody else to do it.”

Vandiver said that has meant county taxpayers have been supporting the program.

“Well,” he said, “we feel like they have not been getting a fair share out of the last two or three years, and we have done what the law says for us to do now and we’re back straight.”

Vandiver says it was important to keep up the practice because many private workers projects are simply too small to for private contractors accustomed to big road projects to bother with.

He also hopes it will defuse calls from some county leaders to do away with private works altogether.

“I think it will,” he said. "I mean if you are doing things legally, if you’re doing them by the letter of the law, then this is the step in the right direction to make sure we’re doing it right.”

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