MARIES COUNTY — At a Maries County Commission meeting last week, the first order of business was to meet officials from MoDOT, MECO Engineering, and MERA Excavating at the site of the new BRO …
MARIES COUNTY — At a Maries County Commission meeting last week, the first order of business was to meet officials from MoDOT, MECO Engineering, and MERA Excavating at the site of the new BRO Bridge on MCR 608. They met for the final inspection. The bridge is finished.
MECO Engineering representatives included CEO Scott Vogler, Designer Alan Scheperle who was the Resident Project Representative on the bridge project, and Associate Owner Donald Jenkins, PE. A representative of MERA Excavating was at the site, too. MERA built the bridge.
MoDOT’s Doug Thomas, a senior construction inspector, was present. He said the bridge was finished ahead of schedule. Western District Commissioner Ed Fagre said the contractor had “perfect weather” at the start of the project.
Thomas said there was less than an acre of seeding on the nearby ground. And, because the seeding is supposed to be done after October and before May 1, the commission will need to write a letter stating they accept the seeding as it is that day. The commissioners said the grass already is beginning to come up and they didn’t have a problem taking responsibility of the seeding.
Vogler said Maries County has to accumulate BRO money in order to replace an aging bridge. This takes time, usually over four to five years. It takes that long to build up a BRO balance large enough to replace a bridge.
The federal BRO program is paying for 96.22 percent of the project. Because the county ran out of its soft match, Road One will need to pay 3.78 percent of the project’s cost.
MERA Excavating of Bonnots Mill had the project’s winning bid of $430,651.40. Of this amount, Road One will be responsible for $17,864 of the cost.
Presiding Commissioner Victor Stratman told the group, “We’re really pleased with the work you did here.”
Fagre frequently checked on the bridge’s construction progress and said when he was at the site observing, the crew was always working.
Eastern District Commissioner Doug Drewel and County Clerk Rhonda Rodgers recently met with Delford Buehrlen, a Maries County resident who has lived in the Fish Hollow area of the county his whole life. There were other family members there as well.
Buehrlen said his father told him during WWII, in the early 1940’s, Special Road District Four was started and he worked for the road district. This special road district levied a tax, which was used to maintain the roads in the Summerfield area. Buehrlen spoke about an island on the Gasconade River his dad logged and he sold the sawed lumber.
Rodgers was present to write Buehrlen’s statement for him and provide this information to the prosecuting attorney, which will be used to benefit the county’s side of the lawsuit seeking to close the river access. Because he is an older gentleman, Buehrlen does not want to testify in court.
Drewel said Ronnie Terrill, who worked for the road district for years, “Can take us up to the present time” about how Maries County has maintained the road to the river access.
Drewel is trying to gather information and support in an effort to keep MCR 306 open to the public at the Fish Hollow Gasconade River Access.
Baptisms and memories
Jim and Pat Redden of Belle, sent the Maries County Commission a letter in support of keeping the Fish Hollow Gasconade River Access open. Jim Redden presented some of his history with the river access.
“My Uncle Irvin Butler rented the farm in which the Fish Hollow road passes through,” he stated in a letter to the county commission. “In the mid 1960’s, my dad would take me to the access and if the water was not too high, we would cross the slough to fish in the river. If it was too high, we would fish in the slough. We did this until my dad’s passing in the early 1980’s. On many float trips on the Gasconade River, we would always camp there on the third night.”
Redden also gave the commissioners information about how the community used the river access in various ways. “When Halloween would come we as a youth group of Church of RLDS of Belle, would all arrive at my Uncle Irvin Butler’s farm on M Highway. We would ride on hay wagons for our Halloween ride to Fish Hollow and we would roast hot dogs as part of our hay ride, for many years. In 2019, my wife, Patricia Redden, baptized our grandson, Andy Redden, in Fish Hollow as part of him accepting Christ. There was family all gathered for this event. In conclusion, we would like to see Fish Hollow stay as is. This is just a few of our memories of this beautiful spot. Thank you.”
Treasurer Rhonda Slone gave the commissioners numbers for the motor fuel tax, motor vehicle tax, and motor vehicle fees for the first quarter of 2022.
The motor fuel tax, which is the county’s portion of the gasoline tax, increased 18 percent in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same time period in 2021. In January the county’s revenue was $30,802.20, in February $34,020.71, and in March $28,773.82 for a three-month total of $93,596.73. In comparison, in 2021 $77,159.29 was received during the first quarter in motor fuel tax revenue. This revenue is split between the two road districts with 55 percent going to Road One and 45 percent to Road Two.
Fagre said the increase of 18 percent likely is partially due to the recent state increase in gasoline tax. It became effective in October when the state’s gasoline tax increased by 2.5 cents per gallon. The state’s gasoline tax is slated to increase 2.5 cents per gallon each year for five years until the total increase of 12.5 cents per gallon is achieved.
The taxes from motor vehicle sales revenue during the first quarter declined 10 percent as compared to 2021. Slone reported January revenue of $8,202.56, February $7,319.48 and March $5,652.09 for a total of $21,174.13. In 2021 the total for the first three months was $23,565.69. It was discussed and the decline in this revenue source may be because of fewer vehicles being purchased.
The motor vehicle fees from the license office were down 11 percent compared to the first quarter of 2021. Revenues received during the first quarter include $4,255.43 in January, $3,860.24 in February, and $3,306.60 in March for a total of $11,422.27. This compares to last year when the three-month total was $12,764.46.
Fagre said the road districts can use the additional money the gasoline tax increase will bring in. They can buy needed equipment, such as better trucks. The commissioners said the increase in the state’s gasoline tax will be good for all of the state’s counties.
Maries County road worker, Rick Matlock, is retiring from the road crew. He’s been employed by Road Two since 2005 and he drives a dump truck. At one time he served as the Road Two Supervisor.
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