Road conditions and petrol prices debated at WC Commissioners Court

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) – Friday morning’s Wichita County Commissioners Court meeting had a long list of items discussed highlighted by the use of county car and gas prices, the state of the roads and the financing of the APRA.

Although the commissioners took no action, the points were discussed in depth, starting with the question: what to do with county cars as gas prices continue to rise?

One solution was to have two officers in the same vehicle instead of each having their own. The other issue, however, is that county vehicles are also on standby alongside all ongoing road repair projects; and with those vehicles idling, it uses even more gas, which means the county loses more money, plus there’s a concern about safety costs.

“If something happens to this, Wichita County taxpayers are not paying to repair or replace a vehicle used for private purposes,” Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom said. “We just want to sort things out, and I’m also worried about medical benefits for who this officer covers.”

Moreover, it was mentioned that the private contractor who repairs the roads should be the one who pays this extra cost for gasoline when the vehicles are idling.

In addition to gas prices, concerns about road conditions filled the air, particularly problems on River Road northeast of Wichita Falls.

The road is already in bad shape, and it’s getting worse.

A large number of tractor-trailers travel up and down the small two-lane road, and all the weight further aggravates the existing potholes.

It also poses safety concerns for the residents who seemingly have nowhere to go when the semi-finals overtake them. The condition of the road was brought to the attention of the court by a resident who lives in the area who said it was all from the same contractor.

“The problem is that he got in and he is legal. He paid the state of Texas for his overweight permits,” Judge Gossom said. “Well, that’s great, but the money for it goes here, the damage goes here, and the expense is here with the county. We’re not getting a meaningful amount of that overweight permit money.

Gossom said the contractor is digging up river sand to use as backfill for one of Wichita Falls’ two new high schools and has offered to fix potholes.

One resident said: ‘Fixing a few potholes doesn’t fix a road…’ The ultimate solution will have to come to the Commissioners’ Courts, including redoing the whole road once the contractor is finished.

Other projects across the county may receive assistance, with funding from ARPA. The court also discussed awarding a grant to the town of Burkburnett for a release water main fix, while the Wichita Valley Supply Corporation project was also discussed.

“The upgrades they asked us to help them with are actually in the water plant itself so that it benefits everyone in Burk, everyone who draws water from Burkburnett,” said Justice Gossom. “The Wichita Valley Water Supply Corporation is only dealing with an expansion of this system that would affect the people who currently live there and who may have water but don’t.

The court will meet again on Monday.

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