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Supervisors unhappy with project request — Lincoln County board sensitive about spending issues

A Lincoln County employee poked the bear Monday at the board of supervisors meeting, and the bear woke up and bit him.

Lincoln Civic Center Director Quinn Jordan appeared before the board requesting close to $10,000 worth of labor and borrowed machinery to help complete a civic center commission road project to increase access to the center’s parking lot, but his request was poorly timed. He had the misfortune of asking for the financial help right after the board learned county employees’ health insurance costs were going up nearly a fifth, and the board — which has also dealt with closing bridges, short budgets and numerous maintenance issues in recent months — was feeling raw to the touch.

“You’re set up just like we are — on a budget. We have to put off two or three bridges because of our budget, so why can’t you take your budget and do this and put off two or three other projects like we have to do?” asked District 5 Supervisor Doug Falvey, his voice raised. “How can I justify the condition our roads are in and then send a grader to the civic center?”

The rebuke stung Jordan, who did not arrive at the meeting in time to witness the protracted discussion on health insurance cost increases. He didn’t know he was dealing with a seething board, and carried on business as usual.

He very calmly backtracked under Falvey’s fury.

“All I’m saying is, put me on the list,” Jordan said. “When y’all get caught up with the bridges and have some down time, we’d sure like to use those county resources.”

Falvey wasn’t having any.

“Well, I’m waiting for the day we have some down time. I’ve been here two years and I haven’t seen any yet,” he said.

District 3 Supervisor Nolan Earl Williamson tried to calm things down.

“I don’t mind helping, but this is the worst time of the year for us,” he explained.

District 4 Supervisor Eddie Brown seemed aggravated and he questioned the project’s necessity.

“I thought we’d already had this discussion, Quinn,” he said. “I can probably help later in the summer, but right now I’m busy. Let the thing work out.”

Jordan asked the civic center project be “put in the pipeline,” then left the meeting.

The exchange won’t amount to anything — supervisors have always taken care of their investment at the civic center, and Jordan was not wrong to ask for county equipment and expertise to cut down on his project’s cost.