Commissioners hear about chickens & coolers
by Jazz Clark
A few unusual subjects sparked heated discussion when the Morgan County Commissioners met on Thursday, February 20.
Some argument arose over whether to keep water cooler service to courthouse offices, and later whether drinking water should be provided by county government at all.
A memo drafted in 2010 asked for water cooler service to be cancelled by all offices enjoying water delivery, though some offices kept the service through their own budgets.
Prosecuting Attorney Debra McLaughlin argued that at the time of the memo, offices were renting their coolers but afterwards a cooler was bought for her office. The main use of the water is for meetings and conferences.
“Providing water is a basic courtesy for the public coming in,” McLaughlin said.
The water to the prosecutor’s office is an expense of $120 per year.
Commissioner Bob Ford saw no problem with allowing public services of water on a case-by-case basis.
“I’m not one shoe fits all,” Ford said. “I don’t believe if you do one thing for one person, you have to do it for everybody else.”
Commissioner Stacy Dugan, however, was not in favor of buying water coolers or water for any office.
“We have water fountains in the courthouse and we have meetings all over where water is not provided,” said Dugan. “In my opinion, it is not an appropriate public expense.”
She said they were spending thousands on water back then for the courthouse.
McLaughlin wants to buy water from contracted services, instead of the prosecutor’s forfeiture fund.
Commissioner Brad Close was afraid of a snowball effect. Once they furnish water to one office, every office will want water. They will need to be prepared to answer when other people request water services, he said.
Ford made a motion for water purchase for the prosecutor’s office, seconded by Close. Dugan was opposed, but the motion passed.
What’s a chicken worth?
Roger Day also came forward with claims that his chickens were killed by a dog, seeking financial reimbursement from the county’s dog tax fund, which can be used to pay back owners for animal losses.
Some debate, however, arose about the actual price of the slain fowl.
Day wanted $135 for the 14 chickens and one rooster that were lost. But Commissioner Ford said his research showed the chickens would fetch between $5 and $6 dollars on the open market.
“The average mature male chicken weighs about eight and a half pounds and the female about seven and a half pounds,” said Ford. “With those figures and market value, at 96-cents a pound, by my math we should owe about $65 for the chickens.”
Day cited the loss of revenue from not having eggs and the difficulty of getting the chickens justified the cost.
The commissioners asked Day to return with a bill of sale that proves he paid more than fair value for the chickens and they would reconsider.