Commission approves Cat grader bid

After taking a week to debate the pros and cons over two competing bids for road and bridge motor graders, the Howell County Commission has decided to go with two Caterpillar model 670 graders from Fabick Cat. The commission also agreed to a resiliency grant with the South Central Ozark Council of Governments (SCOCOG) and spoke with Howell County Sheriff Brent Campbell on a program to assist law enforcement personnel.
 
The commissioners decided on the Caterpillar bid for motor graders after hearing from the competing bid from Jeff Martin with Murphy Tractor & Equipment on May 6. Despite the clarification from Martin on his bid, the commissioners decided on going with the Fabick Cat bid. These two Cat model 670s will be replacing two older motor graders for the northern commission territory of the county. While the commissioners noted that both vehicles were good and the offers similar, the offer by Fabick Cat would save the county tens of thousands of dollars. The Fabick Cat bid was approved on May 9 by commissioners Calvin Wood and Ralph Riggs. Commissioner Billy Sexton was absent that day. 
 
The commissioners met with Jenny Collins from SCOCOG on the resiliency grant they have been working on over the last few weeks. This visit was to set up the accounting for the project. The grant 30-21 will allow requests for funds (RFF) from engineers Toth & Associates as they work on the project. The money will go from the Community Development Block Grant into an account controlled by the commission and then paid out from the commission within three days. The grant received unanimous approval from the commission.
 
On May 9, Sheriff Campbell visited the commission to speak about an idea he has to create a fund that would help assist the Sheriff's Office employees when they have a difficult time in their life. The idea came to Sheriff Campbell after the sudden death of Cpl. Michael Wall, 77, of Koshkonong, in January 2022 after he was involved in a deadly three vehicle crash that killed another driver, Bailey Pine, 26, of West Plains. Presiding Commissioner Ralph Riggs asked if the potential benevolence account needed to go through the county. By having the account go through the county, it would allow oversight by the county for transparency purposes, according to Sheriff Campbell.
 
The idea was discussed to create a 501(c)(3) charity that would serve the same purpose but would have oversight by a board. As a charity, this would allow for the oversight that is requested and could move that the money would move through the charity to the county and then to an officer who made the request for funds. No final decision on what path to take was made during the meeting but the sheriff appeared to leave the commission meeting with a positive outlook on the project. 
 
The Howell County Commissioners are Presiding Commissioner Ralph Riggs, Northern Commissioner Calvin Wood, and Southern Commissioner Billy Sexton. The commission meets in regular session on Mondays and Thursdays, from 10 am to 3:30 pm. The meetings remain open during the lunch hour and are open to the public. Contact the commissioners' chamber by phone at (417) 256-3872.
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