February 26, 2016
Southern Torch (3842 articles)

Opinion: Guest Editorial

Guest editorial3Note from the Editor:

The articles on this page are opinions submitted by readers of Southern Torch, and therefore do not necessarily represent or express the views of Southern Torch. They are the personal opinions of the individuals who wrote them. Would you like to weigh in on an issue? We encourage anyone who is interested in submitting an opinion piece or a letter to the editor, email us at editor@southerntorch.com, or mail to PO Box 614, Rainsville, AL 35968. Include your name, a phone number and your address.

Opinion: DeKalb County will benefit from new bus garage

Guest Editorial By: DeKalb County Superintendent Hugh Taylor

It seems the pieces of the puzzle have all come together on the deal to move the County School’s Bus garage from north Ft. Payne to Rainsville.  This move will prove to save a substantial amount of local taxpayer dollars that can now be used elsewhere to the benefit of the children of DeKalb County.  The voices of many drivers, whether young or old, male or female, employed or retired have finally been heard,  An echoing sentiment has time after time been repeated that it just made sense to move the bus garage to a more centralized location.  This move will benefit the entire system.

This sudden action has been warranted after decades of wasted fuel, avoidable tire erosion, and unnecessary wear and tear on the DeKalb County bus fleet.  Whether it be indifference, lack of resources, priority, or opportunity, the obstruction of this transaction is in the past.

Recently, the Fort Payne water board expressed interest in purchasing the bus garage property that connects to their property.  After gauging Board interest, and appraisal of the 3.6 acre property was completed.  I recommended the selling of the property, for $300,000 cash, to the Board of Education and it was approved. Negotiations and contracts were drawn up and agreed upon expeditiously.  During this time I located 11.6 acres joining the Career Technical Center in Rainsville for sale.  With Board approval the purchase of this property at $150,000 was completed. This will provide much needed space for the bus garage to operate and stretch its legs a bit from such cramped quarters in Ft. Payne.

So how can we financially benefit from this move, you may ask?  It stands to reason that the general public may not know that our busses require a monthly inspection.  Statistically, 101 busses out of 110 will be able to discontinue the nine monthly trips required by the state department.  That’s almost 1000 extra round trip journeys.  Our busses average approximately 4 to 9 miles per gallon according to multiple factors.  While momentarily diesel prices have dropped, fuel is still expensive and has hovered around the $4 per gallon mark this past year. Taking all of these aspects into consideration and attempting to relieve the school system of unnecessary expenses and extend the life of the busses, this plan was put into action.  The extra trips will be made by taking a different bus each day to the career tech center to drop off students.  A rotation will be put in place according to each bus and its inspection and service date, thus relieving the specific driver from those extra duties.  All, but 9 busses of the 110 bus fleet will have the ability to discontinue these extra trips.  This cost saving measure will have an immediate positive financial impact once everything is in place.

Estimates show, according to the most accurate figures, that our system could potentially save $34,000 annually in fuel cost.  The approximate replacement cost to build a new bus maintenance facility ranges from $300,000 to $400,000.  Therefore, this undertaking stands to pay for itself in 7 years.

I am very thankful we have been able to procced with all of the plans.  I remember passionately discussing this very idea at Crossville in a town hall meeting during my first campaign.  Safely transporting our children is a top priority for me, and being a good steward of our resources is key to maintaining the ability to correct problems and streamline how we operate.  By prioritizing our spending during my tenure, we have created a surplus in the County’s General Fund balance.  This has opened doors of opportunity for our system to make progress in many aspects.  Effective change can boost morale and encourage and inspire others to lead and achieve beyond what seems possible.

We are working hard to set a high standard of practice by embracing our core values at every level.  Through vision, integrity, commitment, discipline, and attitude we can promote hope, inspiration, unity, and success that can become contagious now and for the future.  With common values and a common purpose we refuse to be defined as anything less than Champions.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch


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