Commission sets July 15 date for removal of barbed-wire fencing along Price Road

By Buck Collier, Special Correspondent
Posted 7/6/22

HERMANN — Gasconade County officials will make one final effort to persuade property owners to remove a fence that was installed on Price Road right-of-way before a county crew does the work …

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Commission sets July 15 date for removal of barbed-wire fencing along Price Road

Posted

HERMANN — Gasconade County officials will make one final effort to persuade property owners to remove a fence that was installed on Price Road right-of-way before a county crew does the work and sends a bill to the owners.

The County Commission Thursday morning set a deadline of Friday, July 15, for the owners to remove the fence. If it’s not taken down by then, the Gasconade County Road Department will schedule employees to remove the fence beginning Monday, July 18.

A hand-delivered letter — the latest effort by county administrators to urge the owners to remove the fence — was authorized during last week’s session. The letter was to be delivered by a process server, as was the previous letter. Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel, R-Hermann, said the county’s consulting attorney suggested making one final effort before taking action.

The Commission’s patience has worn thin trying to convince the property owners to move the fence out of the road’s right-of-way. The location of the fence, which administrators say is actually in the roadway at some points, make maintaining the county highway difficult and creates a hazard for motorists.

Miskel and Associate Commissioners Jerry Lairmore, R-Owensville, and Jim Holland, R-Hermann, agreed to authorize the Road Department to remove the fence and to bill the property owners for the cost of the work.

In other matters, the Commission heard from Michael Purol of engineering firm PSBA that the state transportation agency now is distributing funds for a key bridge-replacement program in a different manner. Money allocated to counties in the Bridge Rehabilitation Off-system (BRO) program is being distributed much like grant money, based on an application process. Previously, counties would accumulate BRO credits from the state on an regular basis. The BRO money is used as part of a county’s contribution for the construction of new bridges and crossings located on county roads.

“Now you have to apply. You have to submit your bridges and what you think it will cost,” Purol said.

Currently, the county is having the Valentine Ford Road bridge replaced with BRO funds. There is no other BRO project on the county’s schedule in this calendar year.

“We’re talking about another project,” noted Lairmore, “but probably not until next year.” A decision on a future project won’t be made until the Valentine Ford Road span is completed. Lairmore said county administrators don’t know just how much BRO money will be left until all bills have been paid on this project.

The possible problem with not knowing what project will be next up, Purol said, is the timeframe for applying for BRO money: Counties have until July 22 to submit documents for applying for funds for BRO projects scheduled during calendar 2023.

On another potential county project, Miskel said he contacted Archer-Elgin engineers about the firm’s review of plans first drawn up a decade ago for an elevator at the Gasconade County Courthouse. The county’s elected officeholders and their employees included an elevator among their wishlist of projects that could be funded with some of the $2.8-million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Miskel said that as of Thursday morning he had not received a response from the engineering firm.

County Clerk Lesa Lietzow said she found the original plans for an elevator inside the courthouse, as opposed to one installed on the outside of the building. “My only concern of inside is that we’re short of space,” Miskel said.

The presiding commissioner said he would arrange a meeting with the engineering firm staffer working on the project and present him with the set of plans discovered by Lietzow.

“I’ll show him what we’ve got and go from there,” he said.

Sheriff Scott Eiler pitched to the Commission an idea for a promotion aimed at helping recruit and retain deputies. The sheriff hopes to fund recruits’ training in exchange for a three-year commitment to serve on the Gasconade County Sheriff’s Department staff. A commissioner noted that some larger counties are hiring away recent law enforcement academy graduates from smaller counties, offering to pay off their training expenses. Eiler said if a new hire who agreed to the program should leave Gasconade County for another county sheriff’s department before the three-year period ended, he or she would be required to reimburse Gasconade County for the expenses related to the deputy’s training.

The sheriff estimated a cost of about $16,000 to finance the training of the potential deputies. The money could come out of the revenue generated by the new half-cent sales tax for law enforcement that voters recently approved. That tax will become effective Oct. 1 and at least some revenue would be available for inclusion in the sheriff’s 2023 operating budget.

Two dates to mark:

  Thursday, July 14, when county Emergency Management Director Clyde Zelch conducts an emergency drill in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in the courthouse. That will take place during the time of that week’s Commission session. One of the three commissioners is expected to attend the drill while the other two attend to business during the session.

• Monday, July 18, when the Commission members and other members of the Board of Equalization (BOE) hold its annual hearing on protests of property tax assessments. As of Thursday morning, there were no appeals scheduled. The BOE session is set for 9 in the Commission Chamber at the courthouse in Hermann.

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