Hard at work are the Precinct 3 crew, led by County Commissioner Michael Daniels, including Sonoma Adkins, Hollis Dainel and Casey Storey. (Photo by Nicole Schaefer)
“Many people thought we would overspend our budget in the first eight months of being in office, having such little funds to work with, but we actually saved about $140,000 and were able to do a tremendous amount of work,” says Commissioner Pct. 3, Michael Daniels.
According to Daniels, when he took office, his budget had a deficit of $160,000, of which half was due to unpaid bills from the previous administration.
Records show that $117,000 was spent on white rock and hauling for Precinct 3 alone, while the other three precincts combined only spent a total of $5,000.
“And we still haven’t found $117,000 of white rock anywhere in the precinct,” explains Daniels.
He also explains that his precinct received $60,000 from Precision Pipeline to do repair work on County Roads 300, 301, 341, 350, 371, 403, 411, 421, 471, and 481; yet none of these ten roads have had any work done to them and the money is not in the budget.
Daniels’ administrative assistant, Sonoma Adkins, says, “We walked into a mess. There were no records or reports of work in the precinct, none of our equipment worked, and there were no owner manuals for any of it.”
One of the worst issues is the 2014 John Deere Tractor. The tractor has $40,000 worth of damage due to a foreign substance being put in the fuel that subsequently blew up the motor. Luckily, the insurance will cover the repair for this problem.
Equipment in Precinct 3 includes: two pickup trucks (only one works), two working tractor/shredders (both had to be repaired), two boom axes (only one works after being repaired), a broken roller, a working grader, and two working belly dump trucks.
“When I got here, there were constant issues,” says Daniels. “We were always having to do some type of repair, and the problems throughout the precinct were non-stop. We averaged 30 calls or more per month; and now we are down to maybe one per month.”
In an attempt to save money, Daniels got his Jailer’s License so that he can supervise inmates who do work in his precinct.
“I greatly appreciate Sheriff Shipley allowing us use of the trustee inmates,” explains Daniels. “Because of them, we were able to save the County so much money.”
He continues, “We are trying to be very resourceful and to utilize our people and equipment as best we can for the best and betterment of our precinct.”
Daniels is confident that he and his crew will continue to work around the lack of funds in his budget and still accomplish many things.
“We will be extremely conservative in our spending,” he says. “We have employees who are determined to make Pct. 3 great. Every day we have a plan and we follow that plan to get things done!”
The crew consists of two full-time employees, Hollis Daniel – trees & patching and Casey Storey – Road & Bridge; and four part-timers, Jose Garcia & Alfred Saroto – mowing & boom ax, and Sammy Anderson & Willie Sneed – general work.
“I think the work is speaking for itself,” explains Daniels. “We have more supports now than when we first started. We will continue to do what we were called to do; and continually strive to do better on a daily basis.”
He continues, “I’m here for County employees just as much as I’m here for the citizens of the County and Pct. 3.”
Precinct 3 may be reached by calling 903-389-5305, Monday through Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Emergencies should be directed to 911 or the Sheriff’s Office.
Road or bridge issues in the precinct will be posted on Facebook on the Freestone County Swap n’ Shop and Teague and Surrounding Areas Watch and Events pages.