Washington County Judge Questions Road Department Budget Cuts Ahead Of Winter

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WASHINGTON COUNTY (KFSM) - After the 2013-2014 winter of icy roads and school closings, Washington County leaders are looking at Road Department funding ahead of the 2014-2015 winter season.

On Election Day (Nov. 4), Washington County Judge Marilyn Edwards spoke about her plans to improve Road Department response during winter. She said budget cuts in funding for the Road Department could have an impact this winter.

“The Quorum Court has had a shortfall in their budget,” Edwards said. “Right now, I hear it could be as much as $1 million on the road. Any time you start cutting [funding for] roads and bridges, you are jeopardizing the safety of the people of the county.”

But Quorum Court Member Eva Madison said the safety of those living in the county is still their top priority.

“I don`t think there is anybody on the Quorum Court who would do something the jeopardize the safety of our citizens,” Madison said.

Madison said the court made the recent budget cuts in order to improve emergency response during everything from winter storms to tornadoes.

“Part of the reason we are doing that is so that we can keep money in reserves,” Madison said. “We are not asking the Road Department to do without necessities. I put weather related care in the necessity category.”

According to the Washington County’s Assistant Road Superintendent Shawn Shrum,  the county is fully prepared for any upcoming winter weather. Shrum said the county bought two new trucks and all trucks have been equipped with plows. He also said all Road Department facilities have the necessary chemicals to clear the road.