Osage County Commission News

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

By H.B. Dodds, UD Staff Writer
Posted 5/13/20

Osage County Road and Bridge Foreman…

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Osage County Commission News

Tuesday, May 5, 2020


TUESDAY, MAY 5, 2020
Osage County Road and Bridge Foreman Ron Kempker announced the completion of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) road material assistance program. MDC contributed $9700 worth of gravel to the county for use on roads in and leading up to conservation areas. "We do now have it hauled," he said.
Osage County Second District Commissioner Larry Kliethermes asked if that was part of the County Aid Road Trust (CART). Kempker is under the impression it is. "I think it's CART, but I could be wrong," he concluded.
* Kempker is now conducting interviews to fill a full time position, as well as a part time position at the Road and Bridge Department. He claims to have some good applicants. Osage County Presiding Commissioner Darryl Griffin commented on the employees who left, creating the openings. One left for a higher paying job, and, “You can't blame them for improving themselves," said Kempker. This hiring was delayed until the expiration of the COVID-19 "Stay at home" order.
* The recent campaign to repair asphalt on county roads is now complete. "If anybody notices any potholes [in asphalt pavement], we'll address it as needed," said Kempker.
This applies to county asphalt roads and low-water slabs.
* Kempker has inspected the culvert on CR 436 just north of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. It needs a lot of work. Recent flooding has produced severe damage on both sides of the road. Kempker expects to excavate some, and apply shot rock and concrete to try to regain road width. It came to the county's attention as farm equipment had difficulty at the crossing. It's now very dangerous for a combine to negotiate it. "That's going to take a couple of days to get that done," said Kempker. "It's been eroded over time and it needs to be addressed."
It's especially bad on the upstream side, Kempker added.
* He asked again about the contract with the City of Westphalia to repair and maintain CR 511 inside the city limits. The commission signed and returned the final draft of the contract weeks ago. They are waiting for it to be signed by the city before authorizing Kempker to begin any work.
"I can email [Westphalia City Attorney David Bandre] and ask him," said Griffin. "Before we start anything, we need something in front of us."
Kempker said he is anxious to get going.
* Kempker also asked for a final draft of the new private culvert guidelines. There's another pipe scheduled for installation. The last issue appears to be culverts which need to be larger than three feet in diameter. This has yet to occur but could happen.
"Who's going to pay for the hydraulic study?" asked Osage County First District Commissioner John Glavin.
The commissioners concluded it would be the landowner. Kliethermes, who is drafting the new policy, said he would include it in his final submission. The commission approved.
* Griffin sent a letter of appreciation to the staff, faculty, and participating students at Immaculate Conception School, Loose Creek. They recently completed a roadside trash pickup and sent some emails thanking the Road and Bridge Department for help with signs and trash bags.
Griffin's appreciation in return email stated, "we are very proud of you and your class project."
* As a followup to the project, Kempker presented a catalog of signs. Some of them could be posted to encourage citizens to keep the roadway clean. They say to avoid littering and take pride in the beauty of rural roads. The commission sounded supportive; and Griffin concluded, "It's good the teacher encouraged those young people."
* There were four bids submitted for the Shawnee Creek Bridge construction on CR 274A. They ranged from about $295,000 to $347,000. McClure Engineering estimated $318,000. MERA Excavating, LLC, of Loose Creek is the apparent winner of the contract. Aaron McVicker, the project engineer with McClure, will be finalizing the details. MERA is also the contractor for the Shawnee Creek bridge construction on Hwy. 100. This will insure both roads will not be closed simultaneously. It also reduces the overhead for equipment movement from project to project.
* The department hauled rock on CRs 303, 317, 609, 634, 701, 702, 710, 724, and 751; crews replaced a culvert on CR 303; crew members performed service on Grader #04 and Truck #32; and grader operators worked on CRs 202, 261, 301, 302, 303, 304, 306, 309A, 313, 314, 317, 412, 425, 427, 435, 436, 521, 525, 608, 609, 634, 715, 723, 727, and 751.
Osage County 911/EMA Director Andrea Rice presented a grant application for the commissioners to sign. The goal is to obtain funds for generator maintenance and an ID card-maker.
* Rice also announced the cancellation of the nuclear disaster drill scheduled for June 18. There is talk of rescheduling Aug. 13, but no final decision has been made.
* The Osage County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) continues to mitigate aggressively against the COVID-19 outbreak. "We're still taking temperatures," said Rice, adding all other precautions for employees coming to work are still in place.
* The delivery of new telephones for the EOC, recently ordered, has been delayed.
* Rice asked the commissioners if there were any guidelines available yet to access the recently announced financial aid to Osage County stemming from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act.
”We're waiting to hear all the guidelines," Griffin responded.
The Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) may be offering help with the process.
* Commissioners viewed the April expenditures report. They observed many departments are spending a little ahead of schedule. A third of the way through the year, many are nearing 35-50% of their appropriation. However, they also noted many annual bills come due earlier in the year than later, so no major alarms need be sounded.
* Expenditures through 4/30/20 were as follows by department: 911 ($288.766.90), Assessor ($83,833.32), EMA ($72,346.80), Road & Bridge ($403,809.69), Building & Grounds ($22,639.69), Circuit Clerk ($3,567.28), Collector ($44,185.23), Coroner ($10,810), County Clerk ($35,014.19), Commission ($31,253.77), Elections ($46,668.90), Employee Fringe Benefits ($60,427.11), Jail ($79,375.51), Juvenile Officer ($9,257.91), Prosecuting Attorney ($40,867.28), Public Administrator ($9,074.33), Health Department ($55,295.49), Recorder of Deeds ($15,224.65), Sheriff Total ($253,890.84), Other Government ($89,980.87), Professional Organizational Fees ($22,335.91), Surveyor ($6000), Treasurer ($15,048.64), and Transfers out ($6600), for a grand total of $857,455.20. There were no expenditures from the emergency fund, leaving a balance of $70,339.
Westphalia City Attorney David Bandre responded to Griffin's inquiry about the CR 511 contract. He has not yet obtained Mayor Tammy Massman's signature, but will send it the county when he does. "The ball's in their court," said Griffin.
* Commissioners reviewed the Sales Tax Distribution Notices for April. The regular sales tax brought in $42,160.44. That was down $1,441.58 from April last year, but up $5,090.38 year to date from this time a year ago. The 911 tax gained $45,557.03, up $74.97 for the month, but down $161.60 year to date. The additional county tax made $42,027.28, up $74.97 for the month, but down $692.47 year to date. The special infrastructure tax garnered $22,779.09, up $2145.88 for the month, but down $58.95 year to date. The use tax made $33,956.38, down 484.75 for the month, but up $15,968.38 year to date.
* Griffin announced MRPC is working up a system for distributing CARES funds appropriated to the county. There's a desire for all the counties participating in MRPC to manage the funds in a uniform manner; and they all want the expert guidance.
* The Municipal General Election is scheduled Tuesday, June 2. The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is Wednesday, May 20.


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