County Commission 9-22-21

Posted 9/23/21

OCHD

Sallin introduced to commissioners RN Abby Baker, who has been hired by OCHD as a part-time nurse.

Sallin reported 47 new active COVID-19 cases in the county, bringing the total to 2,215. …

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County Commission 9-22-21

Posted

OCHD

Sallin introduced to commissioners RN Abby Baker, who has been hired by OCHD as a part-time nurse.

Sallin reported 47 new active COVID-19 cases in the county, bringing the total to 2,215. One individual remains hospitalized. There were eight new breakthrough cases. They came mostly from an outbreak at a long-term care facility in the county. That makes a total of 57 breakthrough cases since vaccination began. Vaccination rates are slowing but Sallin produced numbers showing 65% of the county's eligible population is now vaccinated. There were 15 new cases in children under 12, the vaccination limit. Nine of those were documented on Monday, Sept. 13.

Flu vaccines became available through OCHD Tuesday, Sept. 21.

COUNTY CLERK

Osage County Clerk Nicci Kammerich briefed commissioners on late submissions by political subdivisions for tax levy documents. Her staff made extra effort to assist three agencies that underwent changes in leadership. With those efforts, all Osage County recipients of property tax revenues got their paperwork in. Commissioners approved all submissions, even though some were technically late. "I didn't want any of them to be ineligible for their tax levies," explained Kammerich.

Commissioners questioned Kammerich about the upcoming open season for county health insurance and other benefits. Their specific interest was the level of satisfaction with the plan currently provided. "We haven't heard any negatives," replied Kammerich.

"This is the first year I haven't heard a lot of complaints about the insurance," agreed Osage County Western District Commissioner Larry Kliethermes. 

Osage County Presiding Commissioner Darryl Griffin and Kliethermes, though, would like to see the process move faster than it has in past years. Kliethermes in particular has been irritated by having to make a call to buy or not to buy against a difficult deadline.

ROAD AND BRIDGE

Osage County Road and Bridge Foreman Ron Kempker is increasingly optimistic about getting one of his aging dump trucks replaced. His research into the use of the Volkswagen (VW) Grant program has led him to look for trucks on the market. 

Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) has grant writing specialists working on paperwork. Kempker believes the department's current Truck #32 will qualify as an old fuel guzzler to replace under the VW program. He would still like to get another day cab tractor with a belly dump trailer but he's skeptical of getting that to qualify. He does, however, have a straight tandem axle dump truck the same style as Truck #32 identified and located on a lot. The dealer has offered the unit for $141,681.60, the state of Missouri’s standard bid price. 

"This truck is exactly what MoDOT is running," said Kempker of the Missouri Department of Transportation.

He added that a major delay might occur if the county waits for another vehicle.

The VW grant would cover half of the purchase price in exchange for having the older, less efficient truck salvaged. Commissioners were favorable of pursuing the program. 

"We don't want to miss a truck if it's going to be gone tomorrow," said Osage County Eastern District Commissioner John Trenshaw.

In another attempt to save money on the equipment in his yard, Kempker has prepared the figures on buying out the leases on two road graders. The major immediate savings would be on overage penalties charged by leasing agency CAT Financial. One unit, a 2004 model, is more than 2,000 hours over its limit. Instead of paying the penalty and renewing its lease, it could be purchased outright for $175,140. Another, a 2006, is 500 hours over. Dodging that penalty and buying it would cost $160,755. The official purchases would take place on Jan. 10, 2022, but CAT Financial requires notification by late November. Commissioners and Kempker have been planning this for a while. "We've been budgeting for it already over the last couple of years," noted Kempker. "They've got a long life left to them." 

The only action commissioners urged in addition to what he has already done is to find prices on new units for comparison.

Kempker brought information on high-performance plastic culverts he would like to use under low-water slabs. Metal culverts have proven vulnerable to corrosion exacerbated by fertilizer and animal waste. These are common in streams in agricultural areas. He felt the need to get commission approval before changing the material. Commissioners had no objection.

Kempker brought photos of bank stabilization work the department did on Cedar Creek near CR 424. At the time, he thought there was another "day or two of work at least."

The wreck of the Pentecostal Bridge has been removed from the waters of the Maries River. Commissioners inspected the site on Sept. 14. 

Kliethermes reminded the meeting of the mediation session scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2. In addition, a jury trial date has been set for March 2023, in the event mediation fails.

Kempker has received two applications for his current opening for a driver/operator. He had not yet analyzed them or scheduled interviews at the time of his briefing.

Trenshaw asked about the condition of CR 208. It remains commissioned as a county road, but only six landowners use it to access their crops. In the past, those fields have been the targets of vandalism so the farmers are not wanting the roadbed to appear inviting to cars. As long as tractors can get in and out, it's good enough. 

"We've hauled some oversized [rock] on it," said Kempker but "it's not on our full-time maintenance schedule."

Department employees hauled rock on CR 522 and the Annex parking lot; crew members repaired low-water crossings on CRs 508, 236, 263, 319, and 435; crews installed a culvert at the Annex parking lot; mowers worked on CRs 634 and 724; workers performed bank stabilization on Cedar Creek near CR 424; and graders worked on CRs 211, 212, 421, 437, 522, 605, 621, 622, 623, 624, 625, 701, 705, 706, 723, 727, 801, and Turn Back Now Trail.

SHERIFF

Osage County Sheriff Mike Bonham brought a chart showing $73,976.33 of revenue brought by his office to the county budget. "This is money straight to general revenue," he emphasized.

The total was highlighted by $39,020.77 from the Board of Prisoners and $33,498.79 in general fees. The bulk of that was $28,433.20 from the auction of retired patrol vehicles. "We're getting a return on investment," said Bonham.

"I like it," Kliethermes responded.

"I'm impressed," Griffin added.

Griffin has had a conversation with Circuit Judge Sonya Brandt about the individual charged with county road sign theft. Brandt outlined the options for sentencing and explained them to Griffin. The culprit was assigned 50 hours of community service. Griffin was successful at getting some input into how those 50 hours would be spent. 

"I volunteered to supervise him," said Griffin, who intends for some of the individual's labor to be used to drive signposts for the stolen signs to be replaced.

"It didn't seem like it was harsh enough," Kliethermes commented. "I think they ought to increase the number of hours." 

Brandt had explained, though, the violation had been decreased from a Class A to a Class D felony.

"He stole from the county," Griffin concluded.

911/EMA

Osage County 911 Director Ron Hoffman reported the receipt of a digital sign batteries grant. The units which power these signs are six-volt, deep cycle, batteries, intended for long life, even with sporadic use. While due for replacement, the old ones are still operating all right. However, they must be turned in for core recycling credit. The grant program allows no other way of gaining benefit from them.

There was, recently, an injury on county property that went unreported to commissioners until receipt of notice of litigation. Commission has communicated with all county offices to report such incidents immediately and thoroughly. Griffin requested that Hoffman report any dispatches to county property. 

"I will accept that responsibility and make sure it happens," said Hoffman, in complete agreement with Griffin's sentiment.

MISCELLANEOUS

Trenshaw reported the survey has been completed on the property proposed for OCHD at the corner of US 50 and MO 89. With the inspection also done, that leaves only the appraisal on the list of data to collect before making a final decision to close the deal.

Griffin reported back from a recent board meeting at MRPC. All eight counties in the Meramec Region believe the 2020 census undercounted their population. This is a strongly held belief of Griffin and State Rep. Bruce Sassmann, both noting the census reports a lower population in Osage County in 2020 than there was in 2010. "If you read the census, it's not true," said Griffin. "We're not shrinking."

Commission approved paying bills from Aug. 31 through Sept. 13 as follows by department: 911/EMA ($15,874.95), Assessor ($4,245.77), Building & Grounds ($497.08), Circuit Clerk ($132.98), Collector ($10,659.95), Commission ($232.25), County Clerk ($167.33), OCHD ($6,164.90), Juvenile and Family Court ($1,850.66), Miscellaneous ($5,768.91), Prosecuting Attorney ($460.17), Recorder Technology ($128.50), Road & Bridge ($38,226.11), Road and Bridge Miscellaneous ($1,022.26), and Sheriff-Jail ($8,022.44) for a total of $98,854.90.

Griffin asked commissioners to look over the Sales Tax Distribution Deposit Notices from August. Deposited Sept. 7, the original sales tax yielded $60,850.88, $14,127.11 lower than 2020, which was $12,982.47 higher than 2019. The 911 sales tax brought in $65,985.88, $17,521.82 lower than 2020, which was $16,108.90 higher than 2019. The infrastructure tax pulled in $32,993.57, $8,741.48 lower than 2020, which was $8,146.51 higher than 2019. The courthouse renovation tax paid $65,986.05, $17,521.61 lower than 2020, which was $16,108.93 higher than 2019. The use tax netted $61,310.82, $26,013.97 higher than 2020, which was $4,826.51 lower than 2019. The Proposition P Sales Tax for Law Enforcement brought in $60,727.57, $11,341.59 higher than 2020, its first year.

All Osage County offices will close Monday, Oct. 11, in observation of Columbus Day.

The Osage County Salary Commission will meet at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13.

An expired drugs and electronics recycling collection is scheduled at the Osage County Fairgrounds on Saturday, Oct. 16.

The Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) annual dinner is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 21, at State Technical College. The 2020 dinner was canceled, so there will be two years worth of awards given. Local government and other community leaders will be invited.

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