By MARK EVANS
Jennifer Mueller called Ste. Genevieve County’s 19.4 percent COVID-19 immunization rate “awesome” during last Thursday’s County Commission meeting.
Mueller, county health department administrator, said that she expects to be receiving 200 doses per week, beginning this week and plans to give out 100 from the health department basement on Thursdays. The other 100 will be taken on-site to large local businesses, whose employees would have trouble leaving work to get shots.”I think that will go well,” Mueller said.
She also encouraged companies with 10 or more employees who would have trouble getting away during the workday to be vaccinated, to call the health department.
“We can’t think of everybody,” she said.
She said they might even make an exception if a business had fewer than 10 employees, but all were tied down at that location.
Any vaccines not claimed by businesses will go to the Thursday clinic, she said.
“If I can’t get a business to commit we’ll probably add those to a Thursday,” Mueller said.
She wants to see the current vaccine waiting list taken care of.
“We’re working on getting that waiting list gone,” she said. “We have called everyone on the waiting list and scheduled them, but if there is anyone who missed a call and would still like to be vaccinated, please call 883-7411 to schedule an appointment.”
“You girls up there, everybody’s doing a fantastic job getting this done,” Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson told Mueller. “I know it’s not in your everyday job description to vaccinate a while county, but you’re doing the best you can – an outstanding job.”
Mueller said Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital personnel will accompany them when they do the on site business vaccinations.
Numbers have edged up slightly, though, with 245 probable cases and 12 confirmed active cases. There were seven new active cases. The cumulative total since March 2020 moved to 1,756.
WORK BEING DONE ON KEY ROADS
Scott Schmieder, road and bridge foreman, reported that he had received permission of a land owner on Lawrenceton Cutoff Road to make the needed repairs on one damaged section of the road.
“We’re doing what we can do in between rains,” he said.
The commissioners and Schmieder had met with likely bidders earlier in the month, examining some of the worst spots on the crumbling road.
They also examined the intersection of Roth Road (which Lawrenceton Cutoff Road turns into) and State Highway Y.
The county is hoping the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) may help in improving the dangerous intersection. It is both narrow and at too sharp a grade.
Schmieder had previously met MoDOT maintenance supervisor Shawn Lelaumondiere at the site and the commissioners had spoken to other MoDOT personnel about it. It was suggested tat drawings or photos be sent to show the problems and proposed solutions. A permit should probably be obtained, as well.
Nelson stressed that they need to stay on top of the project.
“We’re running out of time,” he said. “We need that permit. We have to get this done.
Jeremy Manning of Smith & Company Engineering, an engineer whose opinion the commissioners value, was finally able to meet with them at the site late last Friday, after having to cancel a meeting earlier in the week.
Nelson would like to see more happening as spring officially arrives.
“We have a lot of work to do,” he said. We can’t be waiting.”
Second District Commissioner Randy Ruzicka noted that oil prices will probably start rising soon, adding to the need to get as much done early in the summer as possible.
Schmieder also reported that Truck 4, a 2016 Freightliner, and Truck 1, a 2017 Freightliner, were both being worked on. Truck 4 had a steering box replaced and Truck 19 would not go into gear. It had to be towed to TAG Truck Service in Farmington.
The county has given up on Freightliners, making the decision in 2018 to go with Western Star dump trucks in the future. So far, they have bought two of them.
Nelson suggested that Schmieder speak to Special Road District A about getting the county’s old trailer back, after finding out the district is buying a new one.
Schmieder said he was still ironing out difficulties in getting matching bids for blade tips for the plow blades.
Schmieder said that Clement Road has several bad spots that need to be addressed.
First District Commissioner Karen Stuppy asked Schmieder if any roads had been impassible during the heavy rains. He replied that none had been as far as he knew.
The commissioners voted to increase the amount Schmieder can spend without getting their approval from $1,000 to $2,000, in hopes of streamlining operations.
PROPERTY DONATION IS DISCUSSED
A property owner would like to donate more than 100 acres of land to the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC)for recreational use. He was concerned about it later being taken over by imminent domain, should any future power lines or other infrastructure need to come through.
The commissioners were not sure if the MDC land would be immune from imminent domain. They discussed the situation with attorney Ivan Schraeder. Schraeder said he did not think it would be a problem.
“I’m grateful he wants to donate valuable property,” Nelson said of the land owner.
NEW BATCH OF CARES MONEY
Nelson announced that a new batch of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act money will be available soon.
It will bear little resemblance to the current one, in which the county received $2,099,323. It will come through different channels, and have different criteria, he said.
That criteria in fact, is already changing, making navigating through the system difficult.
“It’s not a good deal,” Nelson said, noting that no applications for the new funds would be taken until they have a better handle on it. These funds will not have to be spent until 2024, so there is no urgency in distributing the money.
He noted that they were already “covered up with audits” for the current batch of CARES Act money.