County Commission Looks At Road Work, CARES Act Money

By Mark Evans

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Scott Schmieder, road and bridge foreman, discussed various items with the Ste. Genevieve County commissioners, last Thursday. One item of concern included the safety of the crew which had been holding daily meetings at their shop.

Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson asked him about progress in making the road shed safer from potential COVID-19 infection. Concern had been expressed the previous week about the 11-man crew holding planning meetings at a small table in the shop.

Schmieder said he had been spraying and cleaning each room of the shop daily.

Nelson had previously expressed alarm at the possibility of the caronavirus hitting the road crew during the middle of a winter storm.

There was also a continuation of a discussion about use of hot mix from the Monday meeting. Second District Commissioner Joe Gettinger noted that 307 tons of hot mix had been used. He asked where.

Schmieder  said most of it was on Dry Fork Road to Jackson School Road

The boom on the county boom mower had broken, but Schmieder said his crew would “give it a shot” at fixing it in-house before calling in a mechanic, like they had to do with the skid steer.

Schmieder also reminded the commissioners that he would be off all week the week of Nov. 16.

Nelson said they could discuss the road and bridge budget thew following day.

Schmieder said that the leased tractor had been returned for the year.

NELSON TOUCHES ON CARES AGAIN

Nelson later returned to the subject of CARES Act money. He said he had been asked about posting a list of items purchased with it.

“We’ll eventually have it on our website” he said.

He again went over the ever-changing and  contradictory requirements set forth for using the funding.

“Originally, we could give health departments 15 percent off the top,” he said, as well as local school districts $500 per student. Attorneys, though have advised against that. Instead, each individual item has been evaluated before being approved. Nelson is ever aware that the county would be liable for paying back any funds paid out that auditors later refuse to allow.

“It’s still our responsibility if it’s not spent correctly,” he said.”

REMOVING GUARD RAIL COULD BE CHALLENGE

The commissioners had met the previous week with Cody Bahr, who is moving his Bahr Hydroexcavation business from Jefferson County. It will be on a 193-acre tract of land he bought just inside the county border on Noce Road. The road dead ends, with a guard rail blocking the end. Bahr inquired about getting it removed to grant access to the property.

After several people were consulted, it was determined that the road is state-owned, essentially a service road to I-55. Nelson spoke to Brian Okenfuss, area engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation, who said he doubted it could be removed and open into a private drive.

Bahr said the huge pieces of equipment could not navigate the current gravel entry into the property and that a rock bluff prevents other options.

Nelson suggested he consult a lawyer, since the argument could be made that he was being prevented access to his own property.