By Mark Evans
Scott Schmieder, Ste. Genevieve County roads and bridge foreman, was proactive in dealing with the two-to-three inches of snow that struck the county the night of Jan. 26 (Tuesday night) and during the day, Jan. 27.
On Tuesday, Schmieder pulled road crews off of other jobs and had them begin salting and preparing county roads for bad weather.
“You made a good decision,” Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson told him at last Thursday’s County Commission meeting. “You were prepared for the snow.”
Schmieder said the preparation and the plowing that came later, went without major incident.
“The equipment got through it,” he said.
Associate county clerk Michele Gatzemeyer and First District Commissioner Karen Stuppy said they had received no calls of complaint about the roads.
“You must have done a good job,” Stuppy added.
Not every mile of road could be plowed on Wednesday. Schmieder said they would get to Womack Road that day. He said they would also be keeping an eye out for areas that were refreezing.
Schmieder also reported that he will haul more chips and sand in and that a load of salt the department has stored in St. Louis is being brought down, to be prepared for further winter weather.
Schmieder also said his crew was putting in a pipe behind the road shed, near Weingarten.
Schmieder and the commissioners also discussed ordering equipment.
Schmieder had found rubber edges for the snow plow blades for $180 apiece. Metal tips are $120, but can damage roads.
“A lot of times the cheapest route isn’t the best,” Second District Commissioner Randy Ruzicka said.
It was agreed that the rubber tips would pay for themselves by not tearing up the roads – especially the chip and seal paving.
Schmieder also advised the Commission that he could get a 10 percent discount on mower blades and other parts if he ordered between Feb. 1 an Feb. 6 and pre-paid. If he ordered that week but had it billed, the county would still get a 7 percent discount. He said the savings would be a “substantial amount.” Nelson agreed that it might save more than $1,000 if the full discount is received.
It was agreed that Schmieder should get an invoice and make the order.
Nelson also complimented Schmieder for the detailed report.
“We like that kind of report,” he said. “We know what’s going on.”
BAKER SHARES ASPHALT INDEX
Josh Baker of Vern Bauman Contracting visited with the commissioners during the meeting. He handed out an information sheet explaining the asphalt price index guide used by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).
The price index is an average cost for liquid asphalt cement at the specific time and is published by the Weekly Monitor, using baseline asphalt prices in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas.
The peak months for pricing are August and September.
This allows calculations to be made to estimate the cost of paving projects.
ARNOLD AS QUESTIONS ABOUT SGCCC BUDGET
Ste. Genevieve County Community Center executive director Brad Arnold questioned the commissioners as to why his budget had come out about 10 percent less than he thought they had agreed on.
They discussed the situation at some length. Nelson emphasized that the community center had handled employee raises and retirement issues differently than the rest of the county had for many years. He said all county departments needed to follow the county policy manual, which is being updated.
REPORTS GIVEN ON MEETINGS
Brief reports were also given on meetings the commissioners have attended. Stuppy called the recent Southeast Missouri County Commissioners Association meeting “very informative.” Despite snow that day, nine of 15 counties showed up.
A report was also given on the Southeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission (SEMO RPG) meeting. Nelson said that SEMO RPG executive director Jeremy Tanz discussed Community Development Block Grants and that June O’Dell, retiring president of the Workforce Development Board of Southeast Missouri [WDB) will be leaving in April unless no replacement can be found. In that case, she said she can stay a little longer.
Nelson again stressed the fact that the WDB offers a wide array of programs to put workers and employers together. This includes paying half of orkers’ salary during on-the-job training for a new field.