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Jones County talks spending concerns | Community Spirit

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Jones County talks spending concerns
Jones County talks spending concerns

"If they would have done it right in the first place, we would have had this addressed," said Jones County resident Richard Tipton.

He was one of dozens who gathered for a Jones County commission meeting where fire station expenses were questioned.

"They're not taking accountability or responsibility for the loss of our tax dollars," he said, referring to members who approved construction without putting a project up for bid.

Discussion centered on an $89,000 driveway for a new fire station on Highway 57.

The project wasn't put out to bid and the commission voted to foot the bill with SPLOST money.

"They got to hear that we overspent. They got to hear that we didn't follow procedure," Jones County Commissioner Daylon Martin said. "They got to hear that the county is not necessarily being good stewards."

Contractor Chris Widener worked on another building. That's Fire Station One, one of the largest stations in Jones County.

He says the one on Highway 57 is much smaller and shouldn't have cost more than $500,000.

"Had a price come up and they looked back at what it cost them to build station number one, it ought to have been a flag thrown like 'Hey, why is this so much more than station one?'" Widener said.

But that didn't happen. County Manager Mike Underwood says part of the reason the cost of the new fire station was so much higher than station one is inflation and changing laws.

Widener says those factors still don't account for a more than 100,000 cost difference between the two stations.

Martin says it's time for a greater level of accountability.

"If they followed the procedure and held to what they were supposed to do and be good stewards, we'd be more efficient managers of the county's resources," Martin said.

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