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By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
County Commissioners gave overviews of duties and accomplishments, while State Senator Elaine Gannon and District 145 State Representative Rick Francis went over bills that have gone through the state legislature during a town hall forum Aug. 9.
The two- hour event at Progress Sports Complex also included a question and answer session.
Mark Marberry, Second District commissioner, served as moderator. He went over progress made in his district, including paving Coffman and Avon Roads and some paving on McDaniel Road. He also mentioned the removal of the historic Franklin Bridge on the outskirts of St. Mary. He noted that his duties include being county floodplain manager and the liaison to the New Bourbon Port Authority and the community center.
First District Commissioner Karen Stuppy explained that her duties include being liaison to the fair board, the joint tourism group and serving as secretary of the Southeast Missouri Association of Counties. She noted that Smith and Westover Roads were paved and new box culverts put in on Ditch Road. Additionally, Hagar Road got chip and seal paving and the fairgrounds were improved considerably.
Marberry noted that, “It’s still all my county and it’s still all her county” and that either of them was always available to help anyone from the other’s district.
Presiding Commissioner Randy Ruzicka then spoke. He noted that putting together a budget, while obeying state statutes was one of their biggest tasks. He said that maintaining roads, handling bidding for projects and maintaining county property are some of the commissioners’ main responsibilities, along with seeking out grants to make the budget go farther. He pointed out that they also appoint county boards.
Ruzicka also read the commission’s official statement on Mo. SB 190, which would give tax reductions to senior citizens, noting that thee bill is too ambiguous and leaves too many questions unanswered in its present form.
Francis also said the bill was “not written clearly” and could not pass in its current state.
Francis, who took over most of Ste. Genevieve County from Dale Wright after a redistricting of State house districts over the winter, drew applause when he voted for a bill that says children must wait until the age of 18, “when they have some knowledge,” before they can begin sex change procedures and another that bans biological boys and men from competing in female sports.
He described several other bills he had supported.
Gannon, who Marberry said is widely respected on both sides of the party “aisle” in Jefferson City, also went over legislative accomplishments. Gannon said she believed “it was a productive, successful five months in Jeff City that resulted in positive outcomes for all Missourians.”
One was SB 45, which extends post-partum care for low-income mothers from two months to 12 months.
Gannon noted that Missouri has the sixth highest maternal mortality rate in the country.
Ste. Genevieve R-II Board of Education members Josh Gettinger and David Bova thanked the officials for reestablishing full funding of the Department Elementary and Secondary Education, including $233 million going to fully fund public school transportation for the second consecutive year,
Two different audience members criticized the state legislature for having statutes that do not allow urban areas like St. Louis or Kansas City to pass stricter gun laws, including laws that would put restrictions on teenagers carrying guns.
A question was also asked about the status of the proposed silica sand operation in the county. Ruzicka indicated that it is still pending a court decision on the legality of county health ordinances that imposed limits on silica sand mining.