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By Michael Boyd Jr.
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
The Ste. Genevieve County Commissioners last Thursday morning discussed the sudden closing of the last gas station at the Ozora Truck Stop, a major financial resource for the county.
The Exxon gas station is “temporarily closed” as of the week of Aug. 21, according to a printed sign on the front door of the station.
Several tractor-trailer rigs continued to stop there to rest, as checked by the Herald. However, the station’s closing leaves no convenient place for food or gasoline for residents in the southern county towns of Ozora and Minnith.
The closest gas station now for the southern-county region is BMW Convenience in St. Mary, but that is not going to help the truckers, who now will either stop at the truck stops in Bloomsdale or Perryville, both nearly 15 miles away.
Also, Ste. Genevieve is the next closest option for residents and commuters on the southern end.
“The station is officially closed,” Presiding Commissioner Randy Ruzicka said. “They’re out of gas. They may be pumping some diesel, but the store is closed, which is a major concern for us because that is a pretty good source of tax revenue and it’s no longer open. The truckers are buying 200 to 300 gallons of fuel. That’s pretty good tax revenue.”
Travelers may have noticed the closing before arriving at the Ozora destination as the word “food” had been crossed out on interstate road signs prior to the exits. Also, a few billboards for the truck stop no longer display gasoline prices.
Once a thriving business area that had two gas stations, a hotel, a Subway sandwich restaurant, and a sit down restaurant, now only has the truck wash in operation at the interstate location.
“It was bought by a company, Mountain View Express,” Ruzicka said. “They re branded the station but then shortly thereafter they went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which they were still operating. That’s actually several months ago.
“They bought a bunch of stations, I guess they overextended themselves, we don’t know. It can creatively put us in a bind as far as revenues, you know, coming in because you figure the amount of tax that produces is a sizable chunk, so we’re going to be feeling that one almost right away.”
Ruzicka said he has reached out to see where things stand, but everything is a mystery at the moment.
“I had reached out to a contact that I had that was the responsible party,” he said. “He’s no longer with the company. So it’s just, and nobody seems to really know, although he indicated, he says, it’s going to reopen. So maybe there’s a new corporation being formed or something.”
The county commissioners said the roofing project at the community center is still going, but that the leaking issues are now “fine.”
However, the sudden brown stains on the walls of the indoor swimming pool had become a new issue, one that was not there before the new roofing had been put in place.
“In good faith, they’ve come back, they’re looking at it,” Ruzicka said. “(The stains) was never like that with the old roof, so it’s unique to whatever they put down because the modern roofing system is different than what was up there as far as insulation. But, they’re working on it. So we’re just we’re down to the final two payments. We don’t want to pay them till it’s finished.”
• At the Monday, Aug. 28 meeting, Ruzicka asked Schmieder whether Mastec had completed thee recommended repairs to River Aux Vases Church Road. Schmieder said Mastec had made no repairs.
• A resident of Becker Road on Monday expressed concern about a lack of mowing along the road. The commissioners explained that the road and bridge department was backed up on mowing partially because of equipment issues.
• Felix Meyer, county emergency management director, recommended the county put out an elected officials’ guide for emergency management. He said the idea was proposed at a recent conference he attended.
• Joe Killian, senior transportation planner with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), said the state has Ste. Genevieve County down as having 289.7 miles.
Since this is how CART funding is distributed, he suggested they review MoDOT’s updated mapping for accuracy before signing off on it.
• Also on Monday, the commissioners opened bids for a security surveillance system for the courthouse. B&D Telecon bid $28,923 and Freedom Security $44,086, The bids will be reviewed before the contract is awarded.