Burnet County road crews are responsible for maintaining and expanding roads across the county, but that’s not all. The job, which requires a versatile staff that can work in all weather conditions year-round, involves assisting with roadside fires, helping stranded motorists, and keeping roads in good, navigable condition. They operate under the four county commissioners servicing more than 1,000 square miles of county roads.
Two foremen who work as part of the Precinct 4 road crew talked about their jobs to The Picayune Magazine.
IAN WOODS, 35
Woods worked on the street maintenance crew for the city of Burnet for five years and with DIJ Construction out of Bertram for a year before joining the Precinct 4 road crew.
Our responsibility is to serve Burnet County however we need to do it, whether it’s roadwork, fires, floods, motor vehicle accidents. We could be anywhere. We do a little bit of everything, but our main objective is the roads. Potholes, anything like that — if we get complaints, we address it. That’s our main thing.
What I like best is that I’m never doing the same thing. One day, you may be paving; one day, we may be cutting brush. I tend to get bored, so different stuff all the time keeps it interesting.
There’s always something to do, that’s the thing. It’s never going to get un-busy. It’s always going to get busier. That’s what changes as the county grows. It’s definitely an uphill climb when it comes to the amount of work. There’s always more people moving into our precinct.
Our role changes throughout the year. During the summer, that’s our paving season. You can’t pave when it’s cold. In the winter, we go back and we do some light patch work — make sure everything is clear of brush in the wintertime when it’s too cold to maintain the roads.
We have about 90 miles in our precinct, and we run the paving portion for the county, so we could be here today, but, if they want us to pave, we could be in Briggs tomorrow or at Lake Buchanan or Bertram, so there’s a bunch. There’s four precincts total, and we could be anywhere in that during any given time.
RICKY BINDSEIL, 43
Bindseil was in law enforcement for 20 years, including police departments and the sheriff’s office, before he came to work for Precinct 4.
The best thing I like about my job is the versatility and the ability to do different things. Whether it’s cutting brush, repairing a road, helping somebody — simple things like helping a motorist on the side of the road that ran out of gas. Just stuff like that is rewarding, not only to yourself, it’s also rewarding to that individual that might be in crisis at that point in time.
You’d be surprised at the number of people who will call (Precinct 4) Commissioner (Joe Don) Dockery and will tell him, “Hey, one of your guys helped me change a flat on my car.” I really appreciate that. It’s not that we’re looking for a pat on the back. It’s the right thing to do.
The job changes with more growth. Obviously, Burnet County is constantly growing. You might ask yourself, “Well, is that a bad thing?” Not necessarily because it’s benefiting our community when there’s more growth. Whether it be you’re working at the lumber store, wherever, it’s giving back to the community.
If I had any advice, it would be to encourage drivers to be more vigilant in their operations of the motor vehicle. To pay attention. To slow down and watch our signage.
You’ve got to come into your job each and every day with an open mindset to be able to perform that particular task at hand. You want to come in with a mindset to perform your job to the best of your ability. That comes back to the safety measures. If you can’t come in and do your job safely, you’re not helping yourself or the people you’re working with and working for.