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By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Scott Schmieder, county road and bridge foreman reported that cleanup/repair work from recent storm damage to roads was nearly done, during last Thursday’s county commission meeting.
Schmieder said his crews were “getting things back together,” and should soon be able to get back “to normal things.”
That includes digging up bad spots in roads and patching the asphalt. Schmieder said they want to get busy on regular tasks before cold weather sits in, in late fall.
Schmieder also discussed the leased tractor the county has for the summer, for pulling the bat-wing mower. Technically, it is not due back until January, but will probably be returned in September or October. The number of hours used is the real key to how long the county uses it.
Schmieder said that all the department’s equipment was functioning properly.
He also reported that he has estimated the cost of repairing damages done to a box culvert on Avon Road, where a tractor trailer rig ran off the road and hit it as $2,260.
He also told the commissioners that Donze Road would be closed at some point this week, while a pipe is replaced.
Calls have come in from Franklin Road residents, asking about the status of replacing the historic Franklin Bridge that was removed over St. Laurent Creek this spring.
Smith & Company Engineering has not yet submitted plans for a replacement bridge. The commissioners said the Poplar Bluff firm has been “swamped” with work.
Meanwhile, the commissioners have been investigating possible grants to help pay for it, such as an Off-system Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation (BRO) grant request for the project. Associate Clerk Michele Gatzemeyer has submitted paperwork, staying until 7:30 p.m. one night to submit a Transportation Alternative Plan (TAP) grant application before its deadline.
Ruzicka thanked Gatzemeyer for her diligence.
MORE ON TOOTS HILL
Tim Wingert, a resident of Toots Hill, a short stretch of road near Highway M and I-55, near Ozora that connects to New Bremen Road, came in, to discuss repairs needed on the road.
Chris Crocker of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) had recently found a maintenance agreement dated Dec. 9, 1968 that said the county would maintain it.
The county, however has never worked on it, so far as anyone can remember. In fact, MODOT has paved it and plowed it over the years.
Crocker had proposed deeding the road to the county and the land around it to the neighboring property owners, but the commissioners do not want ownership of the substandard road, nor do they want the expense of surveying and other paperwork, to determine how much of the roadway each neighbor would get.
Ruzicka said the state should bear the responsibility of turning it over to the property owners, including the expenses involved. He also noted that the potholes Wingert has complained about are on the MODOT right of way.
Reports were given on recent meeting the commissioners attended.
At a Southeast Missouri Regional Panning Commission meeting, a Department of Natural Resources representative reported on work being done to repair tornado damage in Bollinger County, as well as storm damage in other areas.
There is $6.3 million to be awarded for 11 TAP grants. Elquin Auala, who used to work closely with the county commission before being transferred and promoted by MODOT, will be overseeing the process.
A representative of U.S. Senator Josh Hawley also spoke, talking about the closure of the Tyson plant in Dexter. It will mean the loss of 1,100 to 1,200 jobs.
During a Southeast Missouri Commissioners meeting, the commissioners were given a tour of the newly restored circa 1853 Iron County Courthouse.
They were extremely impressed.
• It was agreed that courthouse maintenance person Holly Viox would begin cleaning the coils in the upstairs air conditioners once a month to keep them from getting clogged.
• The county plans to install a new security camera system at the courthouse. Sheriff Gary Stolzer and deputies took representatives from two firms that intend to bid for the job, around the courthouse interior and exterior to examine the current system.