With Drop In Sales Tax Expected, Most County Paving Road Project May Be On Hold Until 2021

Preparation work was largely wrapped up last month on Magnolia Hollow Road. The base was laid and road and bridge foreman Scott Schmieder said it just needed a slight touch-up. It is expected to be the first road paved by the county in 2020. (Photos by MARK EVANS/Herald staff)

With a certain drop in county sales tax and fuel tax looming thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, the Ste. Genevieve County Commission may well pave only one road this year.
“It’s a no-brainer that sales tax will take a big hit,” Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson said during last Thursday’s County Commission meeting. “That’s what we use for paving, so we’ll have to back off on paving.”
Magnolia Hollow Road is essentially ready for chip-and-seal paving once it dries out. The county has committed to paving the road because some state funding should be available since it leads to Magnolia Hollow Conservation Area. Originally, there was a May 1 deadline for finishing the project to qualify. However, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has informed the commission that the deadline for completion has been extended to June 1.
The road and bridge budget was discussed when department  foreman Scott Schmieder told the commissioners he was planning on ordering several truck tires right away to have on hand since he knows of two tire companies “jacking their prices up” during the pandemic and shutting plants down.
“Don’t order yet,” Nelson told him, pointing out that the county has already committed to buying two new dump trucks — totaling just under $300,000 after grant money is figured in — and one paving project.
Payroll and other expenses also have to be met, Nelson said.
“We’ve got to watch our spending,” Nelson said. “Sales tax is going to go down. It’s going to affect us bad.
“I understand what you’re saying about tires, but we need the cash flow to keep going.”

See complete story in the April 1 edition of the Herald.