County Commissioner Jay Perry District 3 has been saving his money for the county.
Now he can scratch some things off his list, things he’s waited years to do.
Perry said, “This is my second term as Commissioner. I’ve been saving up my money for 6 years. I’m going to do this project, the mile on Lone Oak. Then I’m going to do a mile in Caddo. Then I’m going to do a mile in Bennington. The Lone oak job and the Caddo job, those are both from money I saved.”
He’s saved county money from his budget in order to pay for the three projects.
A mile on Lone Oak Road where the oil and chip ends. Then a mile in Caddo and a mile in Bennington.
Perry said, “We are doing the overlay where the old asphalt stopped. We are adding a mile onto that road. It’ll go from where the road starts curving, and it will go on about a mile then curves back east.”
It may not sound like much, but if you live on a county road and have traveled that road all your life, and part of it gets paved, your excited.
Locals in the area say it will help the suspension on their cars and trucks.
Someone also said the paving cuts down on the dust that enters the home from the road.
Paved roads don’t require as much maintenance as gravel roads that can wash out during heavy rain.
The crews at Overland Construction will begin work in Caddo soon.
Commissioner Perry said, “Buffalo Street, Highway 22 in Caddo is one of the main streets in town. I’m going east to the school. I’m going to jog over one block on Court Street. Then I’m taking South Choctaw out to old Highway 75.”
Each of those stretches is approximately one mile.
The Caddo portion of this project will be really noticeable and it will be well traveled.
Perry said, “Usually on a school day, in Caddo, that’s the busiest street in town. No matter whether they come from the north or the south, they’ll have a new asphalt road to get to the school. It will benefit a lot of people.”
Perry says a lot of people also live on that street too that will benefit.
Overland Construction completed the bypass around Durant and is doing the 3 projects for Perry and the County.
They have their asphalt plant on Country Club Road in Durant.
He said, “We are going to do Winter’s Creek in Bennington and a couple of roads that connect where we did the 4 miles of asphalt last year.”
The Choctaw Nation paid for that improvement, according to Perry.
He’s proud of his projects and his men who do the projects.
The Lone Oak project is approximately $112,000.
The Caddo project is approximately $118,000 because they have to haul the road product further.
Money is a big factor in every project when there are budget shortfalls everywhere.
Perr said, “In Oklahoma we get about a third of the money spent on roads. We own 75% of the roads are county roads and we only get 33% of the money. Everybody uses county roads.”
He wants the state to look at these numbers.
Perry said, “I get three cash accounts with approximately $85,000 each. I have to maintain 400 miles of road with that money. That’s why it’s so exciting to be able to do 3 roads in one year. Most of the time you can only do one road in a year, and that’s with a grant. The Lone Oak and Caddo are strictly county money.”
The mile in Bennington, comes from a couple of different areas, and some money is put in from Perry’s budget.
Perry saved thousands of dollars because he worked himself and thus saved the price of wages.
That was a direct savings to the taxpayer.
Perry said, “I save that money every year. Over the course of 6 years, that’s quite a bit of money. If I save one salary, your talking about wages and benefits. You save that over the course of 6 years, your talking about $250,000 with one hand alone.”
There’s nothing in the rule book that says he has to go out in the cold or heat and work beside his men.
But by working with his men, he saves that salary that he can put to paving county road.
Perry has over 400 miles of roads to maintain.
When a gravel road is blacktopped, you don’t have to worry about it for years.
Commissioner Perry is a minister. He was at his last church for nearly 30 years. He’s currently looking for a congregation to lead.
Perry said, “I work everyday. Me and the foreman, we both work. After I finish my administrative duties, I help take care of the roads. It kinda takes some of the burden off my guys, but it also saves money. You don’t have to hire that extra guy. I’ve been saving that money now for 6 years so that I could do these projects.”
In spite of budget shortfalls, Perry says it’s very rewarding working for the people. He likes the reaction people have to these improvements.
Doing the job right, so that it will last, he said is a priority.
Perry said, “When people get a new road like this, they are so happy. That’s the highlight of my job, to see people say wow, I’ve got a new road and it will last years. They’ve driven on gravel all their life. Now they have a new blacktop road to their house. Once the road is asphalt, it’s done. I won’t have to touch that road in my lifetime.”
Contact Dan Pennington at (580) 634-2162 or [email protected]