Tornado warnings one week and then the closing of I-75 for a few days the next . . . we’ve had a few busy weeks, haven’t we, Campbell County? Since the General Store is located right in the heart of Downtown LaFollette, I had a bird’s eye view of all the traffic the other day. I know that several of our local businesses, who deliver food orders, probably found their business down for those days. Thankfully, it seems to be over for the most part and instead of having hundreds into the thousands of big rigs rolling through our streets, it’s almost too calm.
I personally appreciated the professional way all this traffic was handled by the LaFollette Police Force. They did an excellent job. And so did members of the Fire and Street Departments along with an elected official or so, who worked right along with them. They kept those trucks rolling right along. A friend of mine, who works for TDOT told me that there was great communication among all of the mayors and police departments.
Many of the Cracker Barrel Gang managed to come to the store and share their adventures with me. Jellico Jane braved 25W several times and except for a few snags, she was trucking right along with the others and she drives a VW. She, Jacksboro Josh, LaFollette Lou and I, watched, drank coffee, and discussed some politics, or what resembles politics in these parts.
We all agreed that the Sales Tax increase was a lost cause before it was defeated at the Ballot Box. We also agreed that there was no way it wouldn’t be put on the ballot again and that there would be attempts to either raise Property Taxes or slap something more onto the infernal Wheel Tax.
Jacksboro Josh asked a question that set us all to thinking and it was: “Did you all see in the paper where they published the Delinquent Taxes and did you notice they were for 2009?”
“How much is owed?” asked LaFollette Lou.
“Didn’t say. And if that’s what is delinquent from 2009, what do you think is delinquent for 2010 and 2011?” He answered and asked.
All of us commenced to thinking and sipping our coffee and I believed instead of trying to answer his question, we’d rather be hopping a ride out of town, on one of those big rigs passing by. I broke the silence by commenting that it was growing clearer and clearer, that as a county, we’ve stepped into such a deep pile of equine droppings that it will take a whole lot more than a Change Order to get us out!
Jacksboro Josh blurted out, “Can you believe the finagling that goes on with these Change Orders? I’ve got a small business and when I bid a job, I go over it again and again and do my best to make sure that the price I’m quoting is as close as it can be. I give my customer the bid and I break my back making sure that it’s not going to cost any more than I’ve quoted. Sure, there’s been a few situations where I come upon a problem that was unexpected and even then, because of my experience, it’s never more than a few dollars over the original quote. These people getting these bids from our government in Jacksboro, quote a job, get the bid, and they turn over one shovel of dirt and have to stop and let everyone know, it’s going to cost more than expected. And what happens? Somebody writes a check for the overage, called a Change Order, when the contractor has only turned over one shovel of dirt! I might be a hundred dollars off the mark! Not these experts, they always seem to need thousands more! Then when they’ve turned over four more shovels of dirt, there’s another problem, and another Change Order!”
Again, silence and sips of coffee followed. I thought to myself that there’s coming a time, here in Campbell County Government, when they will not be able to take any more from the taxpayers and then we’ll have to suffer the consequences for not making sure that we stopped the wasting of so much ink and paper to write those Change Orders!
It’s just a matter of learning . . . unlearning . . . and . . . relearning.