Happy New (fiscal) Year

We think Taney County Road and Bridge’s fiscal year must coincide with the calendar year. In 2016, they spent many weeks hauling in, dumping, and smoothing untold numbers of truckloads of dirt onto Blansit Road along Bull Creek in order to, as one employee told me, “raise the road so it won’t wash out again.”

Now having lived here for twenty years, and having watched approximately 7.6 zillion tons of trucked-in gravel wash out each time the creek floods the road, I could have told them that (A) whatever you put on that road – gravel, dirt, chat, miscellaneous litter – is ALL going to wash out because (B) unless you dam the creek to create a means of flood control, it is going to rain, and from time to time the creek is going to rise out of its banks.

But the county didn’t ask for my wise and considered input.

Instead, they spent portions of several months “improving” the creek road, starting from the far end. Each night, they parked “Unit #60,” the small front end loader, at the near end of the road, where I walked past it eight times every morning. This move-in-the-morning and return-to-the-parking-place pattern was repeated for many weeks, and then at some point, faithful Unit #60 was simply abandoned. She was parked there for quite a long time – for something like four months! The weeds grew up around her, and I feared that eventually a few saplings might grow right through her and they’d never be able to move her. Something akin to Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel, you know.

Then eventually, (maybe sometime in November?), with no warning or even so much as a cheerful goodbye, Unit #60 was removed. I don’t know how she went or where she went, but she was gone.

And then last week, she suddenly reappeared, parked in her customary spot. And for the past week or so, a very friendly Taney County Road and Bridge gentleman has shown up at about 7:15 each morning in a white TCR&B pick-up (Unit #243) and tenderly ministered to Unit #60. One day he filled her tank from a pumping system in the back of his pick-up. Every morning, he starts Unit #60 and then sits in his truck for a while. I suppose he’s waiting for her to warm up. This can take a while for most females. Sometimes he comes alone, but on some mornings he brings a colleague, whom – and after getting Unit #60 running – he then drives down Blansit. I don’t know where they go or what they do, because neither of them reappears before I finish my walk. Last Thursday morning, when it was something like 7 bitterly cold degrees and we had both a dusting of snow on the ground and real live snow flurries coming down, the TCR&B gentleman was hard at it as usual, and when I asked if they were planning to move dirt in that weather, he smiled and said, “We sure are!”

If I were going to put 400 dump truck loads of dirt on a road that will wash out if not this season, then surely next, I wouldn’t leave my equipment sitting on site unused for four months and then haul it away, only to bring it back and resume the project in the coldest and most challenging weather conditions of the entire year! But when I mentioned this line of reasoning and my attendant consternation to Scott, he said that it made perfect sense: They must have run out of money to complete the project last year, but their fiscal year probably started January 1, and now they have money to keep going. Hmm. . . He’s so smart! I guess that’s just one more reason Scott’s My Hero. = )

 

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