County gets new plow trucks, same leader for 2018

The Brown County Highway Department is getting two more new plow trucks this winter without costing the county any additional money.

On Dec. 18, the Brown County Council approved the transfer of more than $320,000 within the highway department’s 2017 budget to buy the trucks.

This brings the total number of plow trucks to three that Superintendent Mike Magner was able to purchase out of that year’s budget by moving unused money among line items. For these two, $129,400 came from the cumulative bridge fund and $199,000 from the motor vehicle highway fund.

In November, the Brown County Commissioners approved buying a 2017 Mack for $143,000 from out of state, delivered. The truck was already fitted with a plow and salt spreader and carried a five-year, 150,000-mile warranty.

Council Vice President Keith Baker asked Magner about the possibility of needing salt or other emergency supplies to deal with winter weather.

“We’ve got enough on hand to run three to four snow events before we have to restock,” Magner said.

On Dec. 20, the county commissioners reappointed Magner to serve another year as the highway superintendent.

Commissioner Diana Biddle commended him for his “expertise” and for saving the county money. One way he did that is by building the new truck barn through staff labor instead of bidding it out.

Having a barn to keep the trucks in will make them last longer, she said.

Biddle estimated it would have cost around $400,000 to build the barn with contractors; Magner said his department has spent around $170,000. A concrete slab will be installed and drainage will be completed next summer, he said.

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Suzannah Couch grew up in Brown County, reading the Brown County Democrat. A 2013 Franklin College graduate, she covers business, cops/courts, education and arts/entertainment.