OAD annexation on August ballot, voting now under way

By H.B. Dodds, Staff Writer
Posted 7/5/23

OSAGE COUNTY — Osage County Commissioners took an unusual step, meeting an hour early Tuesday, June 27.

The purpose of convening was to officially approve a ballot measure providing for …

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OAD annexation on August ballot, voting now under way


OSAGE COUNTY — Osage County Commissioners took an unusual step, meeting an hour early Tuesday, June 27.

The purpose of convening was to officially approve a ballot measure providing for annexation by Osage Ambulance District (OAD) of a portion of the former COMM-Unity Ambulance District. Maries Osage Ambulance District (MOAD) had formally asked commissioners to not approve placing the measure on the ballot for Tuesday, Aug. 8. However, vetting of the filing process pursued by OAD turned up no glitches. Osage County Attorney Amanda Grellner confirmed there were no grounds to deny admission of the measure to the ballot.

“We have no control over it,” asserted Osage County Presiding Commissioner Darryl Griffin. “They met all the (requirements)to get it on the ballot. That’s what we have to follow.”

He referred specifically to Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri (RSMo.) 190.070.

In order to meet their official duty, Griffin called a vote. That had to take place before Aug. 8 absentee balloting could begin. Such voting began when the Osage County Courthouse opened for business Tuesday, June 27. Commissioners unanimously approved, although Osage County Eastern District Commissioner John Trenshaw’s vote was cast “grudgingly.”

Osage County Western District Commissioner Larry Kliethermes’ vote was similarly reluctant.

“We have no choice,” he concluded.

Several members of the MOAD and COMM-Unity coalition acknowledged the legal requirements and offered no further objection. They did repeat, though, their disenchantment expressed Thursday, June 23. They still disapprove how the process advanced so far without their coalition being included. They still didn’t feel they had opportunity to study boundaries. Those lines will be approved or denied by vote. Citizens in the proposed annexation area and citizens currently covered by OAD are eligible.

They took no position for or against the boundaries to be voted on; but commissioners clearly wished there was better consensus.

Road and Bridge

Osage County Road and Bridge Operator Mike Gorrell has been named the department’s Assistant Foreman. Foreman Ron Kempker posted the opening about a month ago and selected Gorrell’s application to put before the commission. Commissioners unanimously approved Kempker’s selection.

“Thank you for the opportunity to let me help grow and improve Road and Bridge going into the future,” said Gorrell.

Kliethermes shared a request from citizens on CR 511. They all want some material added to the road bed. “I drove it yesterday,” said Kliethermes. “There’s no gravel there.”

On the other hand, citizens on CR 508 passed on kudos for recent work done there. “They were very appreciative,” said Griffin, the commissioner who took the calls.

Kempker participated in inspections of railroad crossings in Chamois and Bonnots Mill. The Union Pacific Railroad is responsible for all repairs and upgrades to be made; but they sought input from Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) officials and Kempker. The crossing of CR 436 will be widened and may be gated. The crossing at River Road, near CR 416, will get new reflectors. The goal there is to “brighten everything up,” said Kempker.

New software provided by John Deere will allow Kempker to monitor the county’s road graders. Several functions may be viewed from his laptop computer.

Grader No. 04 is suffering from a malfunction in its diesel exhaust fluid system (DEF). It’s still running, but needs a new part, probably an oxygen sensor.

New Grader No. 05 is waiting for a beacon light before being put into service.

Trenshaw briefed other commissioners on his latest talks with Dr. Shawn Strong, president, State Technical College of Missouri, Linn (State Tech). Ideas to improve water containment at the Osage County Country Club, owned by State Tech, are moving quickly. At this point, the engineer who blueprinted construction there admits a major omission. He left one of the culverts under CR 605 out of the plans. Therefore, plans for another culvert are now on the drawing board. State Tech will pay for the hardware and Osage County will install it. The consensus is that this addition will solve the problem. “The school is working on it,” asserted Trenshaw.

Kempker urged all involved to be aware of what salt on the newly paved parking lot might do to a metal culvert. He would like the new piece to be concrete or nonburnable plastic. Commissioners agreed. Kempker plans to upgrade county road and bridge specifications to allow for the new technology of nonburnable plastic in such places. Commissioners approved that upgrade.

Department employees repaired a culvert on CR 604, removed trees on CRs 309 and 715, and made MoDOT-mandated bridge repairs to a structure on CR 508; workers performed service on Grader No. 01, and Trucks Nos. 35 and 70; mowers worked on CRs 244 and 276; and graders worked on CRs 201, 412, 415, 506, 508, 514, 622, 624, 709, 711, 713, 714, 721, 722, and 727.

Building and Grounds

John Kennedy, Osage County’s Building and Grounds janitorial and maintenance worker, has been looking for someone to locate the water leak under the floor of the Osage County Detention Center. American Leak Detection, Nixa, has offered to perform that service for $605, plus $195 per hour of work. They promise to locate both the leak location as well as tracing the line beneath the concrete. There are no architectural blueprints to the courthouse which reliably locate those lines. Given the complexity of the problem and the growing expense of paying for the lost water, Kennedy recommended entering into that contract. “I don’t know what else to do,” he explained.

Missouri Rural Water Association sent an expert who was able to verify there is a leak. They were unable, however, to locate it exactly. Kennedy wants a very good idea where exactly the repair needs to be made before breaking up concrete to dig for it.

The monthly water bill was $300 at the time commissioners noted the possibility of an existing leak. Now it's more than $1,200. In that light, “I think it would be money well spent,” said Kliethermes.

“We need to do something,” agreed Griffin. Commissioners approved Kennedy’s recommendation.

Kennedy was joined by Osage County 911/EMA Director Ron Hoffman in recommending a change in backup generator service contracts. The current provider is Cummings, Columbia, and runs $3,600 per year. Seals Power Services, Mexico, has presented a proposal to do that work for $2,902.15.

“This guy’s knowledgable and used to work for Cummings,” said Kennedy.

“I’m recommending we go with Seals,” agreed Hoffman. He’s been disillusioned with Cummings for how hard it is to communicate with the company. Commissioners approved the change.

A new air conditioning unit was installed, up and running, Monday, June 26. Workers in the Osage County University of Missouri Extension Office and the Osage County Treasurer’s Office were very appreciative.

“Thank you, thank you,” said Treasurer Valerie Prater.

Hoffman extended that thanks by adding, “we appreciate what John (Kennedy) does.” While Rehagen Heating and Cooling, Westphalia, did the air conditioning work, Kennedy was diligent to ride herd on the project, as well as several other issues running around the county’s properties.

Commission approved the hanging of pictures on walls in the second floor of the Osage County Administration Building (Annex).


Hoffman’s staff adequacy is holding up.

“We’re doing pretty good so far,” he said. “We’re getting them trained up.” The last few months have been a respite. They followed a few years of drastic worker shortages in the Osage County Emergency Management Center.

Local fire protection agencies have issued burn advisories because of the worsening draught. Hoffman has been posting information on his agency's web site and social media. They instruct “how to have a safe 4th of July in dry weather.”

“Hopefully, people will take that information and be very careful,” concluded Griffin.


Commission approved paying bills from June 13 through June 26 totaling $368,125.71 as follows by department: 911/EMA ($10,513.46), ARPA ($7,832.12), Assessor ($3,000), Building & Grounds ($5,587.42), Circuit Clerk ($543.41), Collector ($1,217.96), Commission ($179.31), County Clerk ($187.80), OCHD ($69.16), Miscellaneous ($3,119.68), Prosecuting Attorney ($196.99), Road & Bridge ($32,724.04), Road & Bridge new equipment ($296,796.09), Treasurer ($571.62), Treatment Court ($500), and Sheriff-Jail ($5,086.62).

Missouri Department of Revenue distributed $58,133.33 of transportation taxes and fees to Osage County in June. Motor Fuel Tax yielded $49,692.72. Motor Vehicle Sales Tax amounted to $10,791.44. Motor Vehicle licensing fees came to $6,356.86.

June jail report showed 74 inmates, including 62 males and 12 females, with 54 released. The daily average population was 20.1, with the average stay for an inmate of 8.1 days. Cumulative totals for 2023 include 303 inmates (224 male, 79 female), with 277 released. The average population is 18.8, with the average stay for an inmate of 9 days.

Commissioners decided to “follow the state,” and allow a half day off Monday, July 3. County workers were assigned to work only four hours that day, getting an “early out” for the 4th of July holiday. The allowance was similar to that offered to state workers in Jefferson City.

Commissioners also signed outgoing checks.

Osage County Health Department (OCHD) is scheduled to host a Public Health Fair from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, July 6.

OCHD is scheduled to host their 3rd Annual Pool Party at Linn City Pool, 7-9 p.m. Saturday, July 8.

The Osage County Board of Equalization (BOE) will convene in the Osage County Commission Chambers at 9 a.m. Monday, July 17.