Car solution showed fiscal responsibility


June 23, 2019

Fiscal responsibility and Curry County commissioners: Now those are a couple of terms you don’t see in the same sentence every day.

Today it’s warranted.

Commissioners last week decided to send a message to County Treasurer Debbie Spriggs, who inexplicably purchased a $24,000 car last month so she could make trips to the bank.

Unable to return the car to the dealership, commissioners at least took it away from the treasurer’s office and awarded it to a Sheriff’s Department process server who may have actually needed a car for his work.

So many things wrong here.

For starters, it’s difficult to understand how any public official can make such a large purchase without other county officials signing off on it.

Sure, Spriggs is an elected official and doesn’t answer to commissioners, the county manager or anyone else but voters. But her budget is established by commissioners and she’s not allowed to buy a car with money that’s not budgeted for that purpose.

It’s great that she was apparently saving taxpayers money by not filling an open position in the treasurer’s office ... but she gets no credit if she uses that money instead to buy a car for the reason she told commissioners: going to the bank.

If Commissioner Chet Spear is correct, and Spriggs was driving 1.6 miles round-trip to the bank daily to make deposits, that comes to

416 miles per year. At the county’s mileage reimbursement rate — 46 cents a mile — Spriggs is entitled to about $190 per year reimbursement for those trips if she uses her own car.

It would take 125 years for the new car she bought to offset that reimbursement. (Just curious: Anybody know the Blue Book value of a 125-year-old car with 52,000 miles on it?)

In addition, no one was asking Spriggs to use her own car for bank trips. She has access to a pool of county cars.

Maybe the pool system isn’t working so great, but the solution for that is to talk to county management and ask for options.

Purchasing a $24,000 car was a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Commissioners — often and deservedly the target of criticism for their free-spending ways with taxpayer dollars — will probably want to cut out this next sentence and have it laminated and framed since it’s not a statement anybody makes often:

Commissioners made a financially responsible decision and sent an important message to all county employees, both elected and appointed. Thank you.

— David Stevens



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