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County To Stop Issuing Permits For UTV Use

By MARK EVANS

mevans@stegenherald.com

After the city of Ste. Genevieve had washed its collective hands of the utility terrain vehicle (UTV) permit issue, Ste. Genevieve County likewise had a hand-washing last Thursday.

The County Commission adopted an ordinance that repealed its existing ordinance requiring permits to operate UTVs on county roads.

This came after no county offices were willing to take on the task of overseeing the process. Additionally, local law enforcement had wanted no part in enforcing permit compliance.

The final official to opt out of the duty was County  Collector Claudia Stuppy. Stuppy told the commissioners she had done some research on the matter.

Of 15 counties she surveyed, two left the county clerk in charge of the permitting process, two the collector and six the sheriff’s department. Five of the counties did not mess with permitting at all – including the three counties surrounding Ste. Genevieve County.

“I don’t want to do it,” Stuppy said. “I think we should get out of the business and be like our neighbors.”

“We respect  your decision,” First District Commissioner Karen Stuppy said.

“We’ve tried to research every avenue,” Second District Commissioner Randy Ruzicka said.

“We appreciate your input,” Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson told Stuppy.

County Assessor Linda Wagner, who likewise had no interest in taking over the duty, was also present for the discussion, along with County Clerk Sue Wolk. In the past, Wolk’ office had to deal with the permits.

Nelson said that the commission could not order any county office to take over the task. Therefore the county will get out of the UTV permitting business.

“We need to reascend things in a proper way,” Nelson said.

The new ordinance should do so.

There will be no refunds for anyone who purchased permits under the old ordinance.

PARKING LOT ORDINANCE

The commission made another decision, passing an ordinance that allows use of the new county parking lot during festivals and special events for parking emergency vehicles and equipment only. Toby Carrig, director of tourism for the city of Ste. Genevieve, had approached the commission about the possibility of festivals incorporating the lot into their activities, beginning with a bee and honey festival in late June. Citing insurance issues, inconvenience to owners of parts of the combined lot and the possibility of being overwhelmed with continual requests for its use, the commissioners opted for the limited use only.

MUELLER PLEASED WITH VACCINATIONS

Jennifer Mueller, county health department administrator, called in her COVID-19 report. She indicated that 4,303 people had received at least their first vaccination. That figured out to 24 percent.

However, based on the latest census information the county has 13,975 residents age 18 and above – the only ones legally able to take the vaccine. That boosts the immunization figure to a beefy 31 percent figure.

Mueller  she did not have figures available as to how many of the recipients were age 65 and above.  According to census data, of its 17,894 residents, 3,597 are 65 or older.

Mueller also reported that the total number of cases was 1,771, with 259 probable active cases, 14 confirmed active cases, 19 confirmed deaths and three probable deaths.

SKID STEER AGAIN OUT OF COMMISSION

Scott Schmieder, road and bridge foreman, reported that the Caterpillar skid steer was again broken down.

“Its not a good time for it,” Nelson said, referring to the upcoming work to be done on Lawrenceton Cutoff Road and Roth Road.

Schmieder said someone from the dealer who sold it was coming that day to look at it. They agreed if a part had to be ordered, Schmieder needed to insist on getting a “loaner” machine to use in the mean time.

There has been continual issues with the new skid steer. “It’s always something different,” Nelson said.