Osage County Commission News

Tuesday, June 4, 2020

By HB Dodds, UD Staff Writer
Posted 6/10/20

Tom Reed of Owensville visited the meeting…

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Osage County Commission News

Tuesday, June 4, 2020


TUESDAY, JUNE. 4, 2020

Tom Reed of Owensville visited the meeting. Reed is a candidate for the 62nd District Representative office vacated by Tom Hurst due to term limits. It is his first foray into politics, although he has prolific experience in the world of business. In a hint of what he intends to pursue as a platform, he stated, "Tom Hurst does a great job."

*  Osage County Road and Bridge Foreman Ron Kempker brought an update to the pursuit of repair to the box culvert on CR 306. Three contractors have offered to bid on the project; but, to date, only one has provided numbers. That estimate is $18,000 - $20,000, with labor, the only element the county wants to pay to a contractor, being $9,000.

"That was on the high side," said Kempker. "It could be a little less."

The service proposed by this bidder would be a new floor; rebuilt footings; reinforcement of some of the walls; and replacement of the rest. They would use all poured concrete and no concrete blocks. A tree, which has caused some of the damage with its expanding roots, would be removed.

Osage County Presiding Commissioner Darryl Griffin has visited the site several times. He asked about the upstream path of the water flowing through this culvert. He noted the flow passes under another culvert up the road. He wondered if it would be possible to ditch the road so the water stays on the same side for its whole journey. Kempker was skeptical of any savings occurring with that strategy, but agreed, "It might be something to look at.”

Commissioners deferred action, waiting for other contractors' estimates.

"I hate to beg," said Kempker, but he agreed to call the other two again to see if he can't get their figures.

* Osage County First District Commissioner John Glavin repeated his concern for a culvert on CR 319. He believes it's as damaged as the culvert on CR 306, and in need of a similar fix.

While he hates to see a crew tied up doing this kind of repair. Glavin believes it might be less expensive for the county to do the whole project.

"It's going to take some doing," observed Kempker. "It's not going to be an easy fix."

* Glavin noted there is a Bridge Engineering Assistance Program (BEAP) study in progress by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) on the structure, and wondered who ordered it. Griffin replied he had asked McClure Engineering about such a study, but never asked for one to be done. Evidently, the scope of his request was misunderstood. "It doesn't cost us anything to have it done," said Osage County Second District Commissioner Larry Kliethermes. "The money's available through the state."

* Truck #48 is now at Machens Ford to have a new wiring harness installed. It has had a lot of engine work done recently; but this particular harness either evaded diagnosis or has coincidentally gone bad just after those repairs. A couple of sensors are to be replaced also. The repairs are estimated at $1,700.

* Kempker has been researching costs for asphalt repair on some of the county's paved roads. CRs 615 and 512 particularly received estimates for asphalt overlay, and chip and seal. The overlay is probably too rich for the county's budget to absorb.

"I don't see how we can afford that much asphalt," said Kliethermes.

"The budget won't withstand that," Kempker added. "It looks like we'll have to put it on hold a little bit."

* Another engineering study is scheduled this summer on the CR 611 bridge across the Maries River. The structure is known as the Pentecostal Bridge. It will cost the county $2,333.33. It has recently been closed and undergone serious repair. MoDOT still has its eyes on it.

* Kliethermes raised concern for a crossing on CR 542. Kempker's aware of the problem and plans to move some rock already on-site to solidify the structure.

* Citizen Vernon Brand addressed the commission with concerns about CRs 271, 263, and 244. They're all under increased pressure because of the closure of Hwy. 100 at Shawnee Creek. There's a lot more traffic, and even some heavy trucks, "more than we've ever seen," said Brand, especially on CR 271. It's been graded often enough, but Brand believes it needs more material and a crown. He believes there is more dirt than rock in the windrows at the side of the road being stored for future use. "There is no more gravel," he said.

His observation is water flowing in the road, not from it, creating a mud hole in the driving lanes.

There was new rock he saw being added to CR 263. However, the pot holes are still there. A recent hard rain washed the new material badly, and it's now all in the ditch. Therefore, “There's no place for water to run off," said Brand.

* A similar situation exists on CR 244. All the new white rock has been pushed to the side. "Without a crown, the water runs down the middle of the road," he said.

Griffin sympathized. "I understand what you're saying about that crown,” he said, adding he is no big fan of the reserve windrows at the side.

* The department hauled rock on CRs 274A, 274B, 303, 542, 715, 721, 736, and 741; crews replaced a culvert on CR 303; brush mowers worked on CR 302; they removed trees on CRs 321, 542, and 721; crew members performed service on Graders #01 and #08, and Trucks #48 and #70; and grader operators worked on CRs 201, 211, 271, 274A, 274B, 302, 303, 318, 411, 412, 506, 507, 508, 522, 524, 542, 601, 611, 631, 633, 711, 712, 716, 717, 718, 731, 733, 734, 741, and 800.

* Osage County Building and Grounds Janitorial and Maintenance Worker John Kennedy has ordered the plexiglass barriers for the Annex’s business counters.

"We will be getting them," he asserted, estimating the units to arrive in eight to 12 weeks. The current estimate is $771 for all of them.

* The time estimate allows for "riot time." The units are being assembled according to measurements Kennedy submitted to Missouri Vocational Enterprises (MVE), which is hedging to allow for nationwide unrest to disrupt their manufacturing schedule.

"Normally, they get them done pretty quick," said Kennedy, hoping the "protests" don't delay the production.

* The air conditioning unit serving the Osage County Collector's office has suffered from some freezing coils. Kennedy thinks they may be clogged and has Rehagen Heating & Cooling of Westphalia coming to check on it. He also has filter replacement scheduled for similar units at the Osage County Courthouse and Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

* Osage County Sheriff Mike Bonham attended the meeting with his badge shrouded in mourning for DeKalb County Sheriff Andy Clark, who was fatally injured in an on duty automobile accident. Clark, a classmate of Bonham's at the sheriff's academy, is the first Missouri sheriff to die in office since 1994. Badges will be shrouded through June 11, according to office policy.

* Bonham reported COVID-19 cases remain in a lull, and supplies are starting to become more available, especially masks. He expects to use Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act funds to cover the costs for those which aren't budgeted.

* He asked the commissioners to study and consider purchasing an ultraviolet (UV) light disinfecting station for the sheriff's office, jail, and maybe the entire courthouse complex.

"We have looked into the technology," he said. The coronavirus is very vulnerable to UV light. He roughly estimated such a unit might cost between $80,000 - $170,000 and would be reimbursed by CARES Act funds.

Understanding the lull in the disease, especially in Osage County, Bonham hedged, "We've been warned by powers that there will be a second wave."

He thinks a UV unit might be a good weapon against that wave.

"My biggest complaint now is speeders," he said. He's trying for awareness and compliance of reduced speed on Hwy. 63 through Westphalia.

* He's also fielding increased complaints about 4-wheelers and ATVs on public roads. "I had not had a complaint until this year," he said about the new ATV law. "I understand everybody wants to get out. Me, too."

* Brand mentioned excessive noise on CR 271 between 1 and 2 a.m. He wonders if there's some racing going on, “Ever since they closed the bridge."

* The May sheriff's report indicated that of 24 inmates, there were 20 male and four females, with 21 inmates released. The daily average population was 3.1 with an average stay for an inmate of four days. The cumulative totals for 2020 are 98 male inmates, 40 female inmates for a total of 138, with 127 released. The average population is four with the average stay for an inmate 8.4 days.

* The Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) sent a document guiding the formation of a county committee to advise on the use of CARES Act funding. Some counties served by MRPC have formed such committees; others have not. It's not demanded by statute, and they are only advisory in scope.

"I don't think we need one," said Griffin.

"I don't see why we would need one," added Kliethermes.

Both mentioned how MRPC has been retained at a cost to help with both the priority and amount of funds to release as they are requested.

Glavin, however, spoke in favor of the added level of bureaucracy to slow the flow of the money.

Commissioners made a call to MRPC Project Development Manager Kelly Sink-Blair, who gave her perspective of the advantages of both approaches.

At this time, commissioners decided to form the committee with positions to be occupied by commissioners and mayors in the county, as well as Osage County 911/EMA Director Andrea Rice. Should any mayors turn down the invitation to serve, school superintendents could substitute.

* Osage County Collector Denise Nolte sent the results of her research into a proposed drop box to be installed at the Annex for tax payers and others who want to drop off routine paper work. Proposals ranged from $600 to $2,050. Commissioners approved purchase of a box which would install into the wall of her office, which would leave deposits inside the building. It is estimated to hit in the middle of the range of estimated costs.

Commissioners expressed gratitude for the county's support of the 911 Continuation Sales Tax. The measure passed on June 2 with support of 75% of the voters who turned out. A look at official election results appears in this week’s issue of the U.D.

* Commissioners took note of the city of Westphalia's initiative to de-annex property along CR 511. This action seems to be taken in lieu of signing the contract they sent to the commission, which was  amended by Westphalia City Attorney David Bandre at the request of the commission, and approved by Westphalia aldermen. Commissioners had signed the contract and returned it, waiting only for Mayor Tammy Massman's signature to begin maintaining CR 511 inside Westphalia city limits.

* Absentee balloting for the Aug. 4 Primary Election begins Tuesday, June 23, and the last day to register to vote in the Aug. 4 election is Wednesday, July 8.

* The Osage County Courthouse will be closed Friday, July 3, in observance of Independence Day.

* The Osage County Board of Equalization (BOE) will convene at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 14.

* MRPC will hold it annual banquet Thursday, Oct. 22, at State Technical College.


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