Levee 3 Board Acceps Bids On Projects

By Eric X. Viccaro

Ste. Genevieve Herald

Levee District No. 3 at its regular meeting inside Ste. Genevieve City Hall on Aug. 11 approved a couple of bids for upcoming projects.

Steve’s Hauling and Excavating, LLC, of Oak Ridge, Mo., provided the low bids for both projects.

The first project will entail work on ditch diversion, and a second for culvert piping at the levee – which protects the city of Ste. Genevieve from severe flooding.

Five other companies bid on these projects: SR Excavating of Ste. Genevieve, Vern Bauman Contracting of Ste. Genevieve, Premier Dredging, LLC, of Bloomsdale, Jokerst, Inc. of Ste. Genevieve and Persons and Sons, Inc. of Poplar Bluff.

During the bid process, Levee District No. 3 chairman Vern Bauman turned the meeting over to vice president Tom Okenfuss.

“It was a competitive bid process,” Bauman noted.

This marked a record number of contractors to bid on a project, levee board officials stated.

It’s just another side effect of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic as contractors continue to scrounge for work.

The projects were unanimously approved, save for Bauman, who abstained.

With ditch diversion, all gravel erosion will be eliminated. Meanwhile, new pipes will help triple the volume of water the culvert can handle.

JOINT LEVEE COMMISSION

Former Ste. Genevieve tourism director Sandra Cabot and current Ste. Genevieve city administrator Happy Welch talked about the need for creating a joint levee commission.

Property on the levee is currently owned by a joint levee commission, which must be reformed to deed it to the city.

The city, in turn, will sell the land to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (NFWS).

The service, an agency of the federal government, manages wildlife refuges and migratory birds, protects endangered species and enforces laws as needed.

At a recent city council meeting, Ward 1 Alderman Gary Smith and Ward 3’s Jeff Eydmann were named to the joint levee commission – along with Ste. Genevieve Mayor Paul Hassler.

Bauman and Okenfuss were both tabbed to the commission, as voted by their peers.

The NFWS would like to make improvements to the area around the levee – including adding gravel to trails, posting new signage, providing a welcome kiosk in the parking area and possibly offering guided birding tours.

Cabot discussed how the NFWS has other preserves around the region.

For example, the Middle Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge has a headquarters in Rockwood, Illinois The refuge is located in parts of Jefferson and Perry counties in Missouri. It was created in response to the Great Flood of 1993, which also caused hardship in Ste. Genevieve.

The general consensus among the levee board members is that new signs would encourage people to walk the trail and see what wildlife Ste. Genevieve has to offer.

Welch said a Joint Levee Commission meeting wouldn’t take place for another one to two months at least.

During the Levee District No. 2 meeting last week, Joe Siebert and Tom Kraenzle also were tabbed to the joint commission.

TAX ASSESSMENT

During the meeting, District No. 3 set the 2020 tax assessment for property owners who receive protection from the levee.

“I don’t think we need to make an adjustment in any direction,” Bauman said during the meeting. “We’ve had just one change in my time on the board.”