New Bourbon Port Road again was a topic of discussion at the New Bourbon Regional Port Authority board meeting on July 24.
Attorney Sean Westhoff gave his opinion that Perry County could not legally spend money directly on the road, which was badly damaged by floods in the winter of 2015-16 and the spring of 2017.
Meanwhile, the idea of dropping the road’s federal-aid highway status was discussed.
After the New Year’s Flood of 2015-16, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) inspected roads in the county. County and Special Road District A personnel took FEMA representatives to the Port Road.
FEMA gave approval to make repairs. However, the Federal Highway Administration also had to approve it because the road is classified as a federal-aid highway. Since the work had been done by the time that agency was notified, it would not pay for any of the work.
Special Road District A opted to go ahead and make emergency repairs following the spring 2017 flood damage — to help farmers get to their fields — without seeking approval from federal agencies. This eliminated the chance of recouping the $108,000 spent on repairing the road.
Ste. Genevieve County also put large amounts of gravel into the holes on the road both times — about $43,000 worth the first time. Special Road District A paid about $68,000 for the first repairs in addition to the $108,000-plus for the 2017 repairs.
Ste. Genevieve County commissioners and the Special Road District A have been trying to get the Port Authority and/or Perry County to kick in some money for those repairs.
Westhoff basically backed what Port Authority board member Mark Gremaud had said this spring — that Perry County could not legally spend funds on the road, since it is located in Ste. Genevieve County.
See complete story in the July 31 edition of the Herald.