There are 31 employees at the highway department, but only the road superintendent, Dennis Potter, travels.
“I’ve tried to be more efficient,” he said of his time in office.
The county highway department is responsible for mowing right of ways, paving, snow plowing, debris clearing and general highway safety.
Since August 2011, the county has spent $2,338.38 to send Potter to one auction, two conferences, and to Florida to buy a dump truck.
The auction in Kansas City, Mo., cost the town $688.30 to send Potter. It cost an additional $1055.13 for the trip to Florida. Potter and Warren Goins flew to Orlando and drove the purchased truck back to Campbell County.
“I go to auctions to buy equipment for the county. I found a good deal on a dump truck and it was Orlando, Fla. Me and one of my drivers flew down there and got the truck.”
Had the county opted to ship the truck north instead of pick it up, it would have cost $1,500, Potter said. The trip to Florida saved the county approximately $445.
“I look at the big picture to see what’s the biggest saving for the county,” he said.
“The more money I save within my department, the more roads I can pave.”
Additionally, Potter does not allow the county to reimburse him for the meals he eats while he’s traveling.
“I look at it like this, I’ve got to eat wherever I’m at. The county pays me, and I just don’t feel like the county should feed me when I’m off on a trip,” he said.
Other cost saving measures within the highway department include the use of capacitors at the quarry to lower the price of the electric bill by approximately $1,000 per month.
“We’ve been saving about $1,000 a month ever since I’ve been in office,” Potter said.
At the highway department’s shop, they heat the building with used motor oil, which results in more savings as well.
“Everything I can do to put money in the roads instead of wasting it in other places, I’ve done that,” he said.
Despite the savings, there was a purchase of a non-refundable plane ticket to Orlando in October of 2011. A medical emergency forced the trip to be rescheduled and the airfare, $151.34, was lost.
The biggest area of savings for the department came with the elimination of 11 positions during Potter’s time as road superintendent.
They operate with 11 fewer people than when he first took office, yet they accomplish the same amount of work. The move saves the county $300,000 per year, he said.
“You just gotta be creative. The way fuel prices went up and asphalt prices went up we’ve got to be efficient here or we wouldn’t get any work done,” Potter said.