Heavy Use Of Rock Causing Budget Issue

y MARK EVANS

mevans@stegenherald.com

Although the Lawrenceton Cutoff Road project, with its Highway Y and Roth Road (an extension of Lawrenceton Cutoff) intersection improvement has caused the county to exceed its allocated budget for prep rock, the Ste. Genevieve  County Commission is not panicking.

The intersection itself took some 12,000 tons of rock.

“We never anticipated anything like that,” Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson said during last Thursday’s County Commission meeting. “We’re four months into the year and we’re already over budget on  prep rock.”

He was quick to note, however, that “We’re not going to go broke.”

Money is available; it will just have to be moved from other funds and line items to cover the shortfall.

“We underestimated sales tax revenue,” Nelson said, “so money will be there. This line item in the budget is off, but the work had to be done.”

He said taxes the first quarter of the year are coming in well ahead of projections, so there should be no overall shortfalls.

Meanwhile, Schmieder said his crew was just finishing brooming the road, in preparation for Vern Bauman Contracting to pave it.

It was considered the county’s worst road and the one in most dire need of repair.

Schmieder also reported that the oldest grader will soon new tires. The tires were accounted for in his budget.

He also told the commissioners that he had dug out soft spots on Field Road and packed them back down.

Schmieder also got permission to order 30  “dangerous intersection” and “dangerous curve” signs. He noted that the price per sign drops, the bigger the order.

Nelson agreed that “We’ve got enough bad curves” to justify a big order.

One would go on the Saline Creek Road-Brushy Creek Road intersection.

Nelson called the continual theft of signs “a costly problem and a dangerous problem.”

A low-water slab on Cave Road was also mentioned.  The commissioners would like to see it replaced, but doubt that the road crew will have time to do it. Therefore, it will probably be put out for bid.

The commissioners also voted to pay a $1,000 invoice from Smith & Company Engineering for working with the county and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) on the Roth-Highway Y project.

They briefly discussed a new applicant for summer help. These are normally high school or college students, who work about 10 weeks with the road crew.

LONG SAYS LIBRARY NEEDS MORE SPACE

Shawn Long, executive director of the Ste. Genevieve County Library, told the commissioners he would like to get a storage shed to put behind the library, which is on the west end of the community center.

He said the library meeting room and other areas that need to be kept clear, are “inundated with books.”

Nelson expressed concern about mold and mildew developing on books stored in a shed with no climate control.

Long explained that it would be used exclusively for short-term storage.

He said the library is constantly trying to get rid of seldom-used books, usually with book sales, giveaways and other events. The shed would primarily be used to store books that would be in the next book sale.

A metal shed to sit on a concrete base would be the most likely choice.

Nelson told him to get a couple of bids.

“Get what you want, what you need,” he said.

Second District Commissioner Randy Ruzicka said that large shipping containers are water-tight. He said if Long could find a dented one, it might be “almost free.”

“It would need to look decent,” Long said.

Long also informed the commissioners that Missouri Evergreen, a state sharing consortium for Missouri libraries, has totally changed its price scale, impacting his budget.

Nelson noted that a library “can’t get along without Evergreen.”

FAIRGROUNDS WORK DISCUSSED

Upcoming improvements on the county fairgrounds were also discussed. The county fair board leases the fairgrounds from the county.

Bleacher boards will need replacing and the youth building – where the fair board meets –needs siding.

It was agreed that any electrical work that needs to be done will probably need to be outsourced.

$1,000 GIVEN FOR VISITOR GUIDE

Tourism director Toby Carrig requested $1,000 to help cover a new visitor’s guide.

Ruzicka agreed it was “nicely put together.”

“Tourism is very big in Ste. Genevieve,” Nelson said.

First District Commissioner Karen Stuppy agreed that  helping on the brochure “is probably a good thing.”

Ruzicka returned to a concern he frequently expressed as a city alderman. He said approving the “free advertising” that various businesses get through the government-funded promotion of tourism is always “a struggle” for him.

He admitted, though, that “It does bring people into the area.”

The commissioners voted unanimously to put $1,000 toward the project.