By awarding three bids to neighboring counties and a private buyer, county officials added $50,811 to its coffers on Thursday by selling used road-maintenance equipment.


By awarding three bids to neighboring counties and a private buyer, county officials added $50,811 to its coffers on Thursday by selling used road-maintenance equipment.


The Phelps County Commission approved selling a 1996 Tiger (Ford) Model 6440 tractor with a boom mower to Dent County, the sole bidder, for $7,811; a 2002 John Deere Model 6405 tractor with a boom mower to Shannon County, the sole bidder, for $25,000; and a 1998 Caterpillar Model 426C backhoe to a private buyer, Kern Bradley, of Manistique, Mich., for $18,000.


An interesting predicament presented itself when one other company submitted a same-amount bid for the used backhoe: Cobb Equipment, Inc., of Republic.


The Commission considered the option of requesting both bidders to resubmit their bids, but it decided that a possibility of losing money existed if both bidders resubmitted lower bids. It agreed to conduct a blind draw of both bids.


The Commission requested a disinterested party, the sole attendee at the meeting, Rolla Daily News Journalist K.C. Kotyk, to blindly draw one of the two names from a hat, and Bradley’s name was drawn.


During a morning meeting with other county officials, Phelps County Treasurer Carol Green advised the group that sales-tax revenues for the county had decreased in February by 1.69 percent and, year-to-date, by 5.35 percent.


Presiding Commissioner Randy Verkamp told the officials the Commission might have to “revisit” the option of cutting budgets sometime mid-year.


District 1 Commissioner Larry Stratman suggested officials reconsider making any purchases.


District 2 Commissioner Bud Dean suggested officials weigh their decisions to replace employees who leave the employ of the county.


Other matters reviewed or taken action by the Commission on Thursday included the following items:


• The Commission approved renewing a grant application for $17,378 by the Victim’s Advocate Program in the Prosecuting Attorney’s office with the Department of Public Safety. The state-funded grant had been reduced from last year’s grant amount of $22,000.


• The Commission approved soliciting for bids to sell a vacant, county-owned lot at 5th and High streets in Newburg after receiving an inquiry from an interested party.


• Ben McWilliams, supervisor of the Phelps County “Tough on Trash” Program, advised officials that Susan Mills volunteered to adopt County Road 2020.


• Phelps County resident Scott Hamilton requested the Commission to investigate a personal property assessment he felt he should not have to pay.


According to Hamilton, he and his wife moved to Phelps County in March, 2008, and they mistakenly submitted declarations of 2008 personal property in January to the Phelps County Assessor’s office.


After consulting with Assessor Kevin Rasmussen, Hamilton said, it was agreed that personal property taxes would be waived for his car.


However, Hamilton’s wife mentioned to someone in a Phelps County office that she had been visiting family members in Phelps County in December; hence, a bill for personal property taxes owed for one car was sent to the Hamiltons.


However, Hamilton argued, as both cars were registered to him, and as both he and his wife had not officially moved to Phelps County in January, 2008, he did not believe he should have to pay personal property taxes to Phelps County.


As Rasmussen was out of his office on Thursday, Verkamp called him and ascertained that state law mandated that, regardless of whose name is on the vehicle’s title, personal property is taxed on vehicles that are “titled or under control” of an individual.


According to Rasmussen, Verkamp said, Hamilton needed to provide proof of his wife’s residency in West Virginia on Jan. 1, 2008.


Verkamp told Hamilton the Commission did not have the authority to supersede Rasmussen’s decision.