Local surveyor speaks with Commissioners about benefits of having a county surveyor

By Laura Schiermeier, Staff Writer
Posted 9/23/20

MARIES COUNTY — The Maries County Commissioners were briefed on the benefits of having a dedicated county surveyor and will consider going forward with the idea.

New business owner, Tyler …

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Local surveyor speaks with Commissioners about benefits of having a county surveyor

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MARIES COUNTY — The Maries County Commissioners were briefed on the benefits of having a dedicated county surveyor and will consider going forward with the idea.

New business owner, Tyler “TC” James of Vienna, spoke with the commissioners at their meeting last Thursday about becoming the Maries County Surveyor. He is a licensed professional surveyor and has been working for the state. Last week he began working for himself as the owner of Show-Me Land Surveying, LLC. He told the commissioners the county has not had a surveyor in some time and he was there to access their interest and discuss the benefits of having a dedicated surveyor.

Presiding Commissioner Victor Stratman asked what the benefits would be. James said the big one is the money the county could get from the surveying co-op to maintain the corners. The county could contract with him and pay him to do it. Most counties don’t have a surveyor. Those that do have a surveyor, that position is not a paid one and not on the county’s payroll. James said he wants to get his name out as well about his surveying business.

The work is important as sections are monumented and corners marked and to have this work documented and on file for those who need to use it. James said these corners were “knocked out” between 1820 to 1850 using all types of markers such as wooden posts, a mound of dirt, maybe a pile of rocks, trees. Every scenario is different but a surveyor has to find these and the landowner pays for it to be done. They pay for the corners to meet certain criteria and the surveyor has to be confident with his work and to stand behind it. James said his job at the state was to settle conflicts on corners. There were two crews who covered the entire state and there is a two-year wait to get them.

James said a benefit of having a county surveyor is solving discrepancies. Maries County does not have many records because the courthouse burned, and rumor has it the county surveyor took the survey records home to protect them, and his house burned. The work the county surveyor does is recorded and it is how they get the chain to the original posts, witness trees or markers. He said there’s a huge gap in Maries County’s information.

Stratman asked if having a county surveyor will benefit land owners. James said yes as all the work he would do would become public record, stored in a file cabinet in the courthouse. A problem is some surveyors did work but it was kept secret as they only have to record it if they created an existing tract.

James said he thinks the big benefit is getting the corners monumented. The state will pay for some of the section corners. As the county surveyor he would not draw a salary but they’d still have to pay someone to do the survey. The benefit is the corners would be monumented through the co-op. It’s a long process but it upgrades maps and will help with GIS mapping. He said it would give him and his business an advantage. All the work he does will be public record.

County Clerk Rhonda Rodgers said the county surveyor is elected but not paid. He would have to be appointed by the governor because the election in November is the ballot he should be on and its too late now.

Western District Commissioner Ed Fagre and Eastern District Commissioner Doug Drewel both said it would benefit the county and the people by getting those corners established.

James spoke of proportionate directions because as a surveyor he might be coming from two miles away to re-establish a corner. Stratman said he can see how it would help in a dispute.

James said the co-op is a state survey cooperative that provides money to upgrade and perpetuate existing corners of the public land survey system. The corners were established between 1820-1850 and surveyors find the corners and verify old monuments to adjacent corners.

Drewel asked if technology has thrown this off some and James said some, but the original corners stand. The trouble is when they aren’t there. “The bulldozer is the surveyor’s worst enemy,” he said.

Drewel said it won’t hurt for them to check into it, and Fagre said he thinks they can go with it. Drewel commented as time goes along, the more ground costs, the more this survey work is needed. “Nobody cared when it was $25 an acre” but not that land is getting expensive, ‘they want that two feet,” Drewel said.

“We all agree it is a benefit to the county,” Stratman said.

Nearby Texas County has a county surveyor who does not receive a salary. In that county it is the responsibility of the county or an individual wanting a survey to pay the county surveyor an agreed fee for his/her services. It is the responsibility of the county surveyor to record all surveys in a county surveyor’s plat book. The county surveyor is a member of the board of equalization.

Technology storage

County IT Coordinator Shane Sweno spoke to the commissioners briefly about equipment he needs to finish the security camera project for the courthouse. He requested two raids and eight hard drives at a total cost of $2,317.10. These are storage space for camera recordings and back up storage systems.

Also, he had paperwork for purchasing software for $1,500 and a maintenance fee of $400. This is used for mapping and he uses it for 911 and during the pandemic he has been marking where the COVID-19 cases are in the county. Stratman asked if this can be tied in with the CARES Act money and Sweno thinks so. He said both he and the assessor can use this as it gives them the ability to update on GIS. He’d like to keep the maintenance agreement at least a year to get the county mapping completed. Stratman said it needs to be sent to MRPC for pre-approval before it is purchased.

On another matter, Sweno said he’s been using the sheriff’s office credit card which is primarily used for when a deputy transports prisoners. There are concerns about going over the spending limit on the credit card. He has been using the card to purchase equipment online but was asked to ask the commissioners about it. The commissioners said they want to approve all purchases for technology before it is ordered.

A lot of work

Sheriff Chris Heitman was at the meeting briefly. The commissioners asked him how the Belle Division is doing. The sheriff said they are still covering the hours there and it is a lot of work for his office to take care of the coverage because they already are short on deputies. Adding Belle has increased the number of calls through dispatch and the number of responses. He was pleased to report financially they are “in the black” with the Belle Division.

Heitman said they’ve been handling crimes such as property damage and minor thefts. The big crimes are the overdoses. “We’re having an impact,” he said. “Before they were fighting and not going to jail. Now that they are going to jail, there are less domestics and fights.”

Last Recycle event

Stratman reported the last recycle event of the year by the ORSWMD will be on Oct. 10 at St. Robert. It will be an electronics, appliance and tire recycle opportunity and they will charge for certain items, such as tires. The one previously scheduled for Maries County Road One was canceled.

Stratman said he’d like to have a dedicated date for a county recycle event, such as the second Saturday in October so people would know each year when it will be and can plan for it.

Drewel doesn’t like it that they charge people to bring tires at the recycle events. Because they charge is why the tires and other junk ends up in the road ditches. Then they get a grant, which is taxpayers money, to pick up the tires. Now, in Maries County nobody is picking up the tires. The trash patrol money is being used to educate kids about recycling. Drewel said it’s not the kids who are throwing the tires in the road ditches; it’s their mom and dad.

40 mph is fast

Stratman shared information about the State Legislative Issues for 2021 MRPC is working on. The survey board and associate members on what they believe the top priority issues are, compile and review them, and at the end of this year make the list which will be delivered to legislators at the State Capitol.

Stratman said Dent County Presiding Commissioner Darrell Skiles suggested amending the state statutes for a 40 mph maximum speed on non-state maintained public roads, which would include county gravel roads. Currently the speed limit is 60.

Drewel said, “It doesn’t matter, they’ll still drive too fast.”

Fagre said if there’s a wreck, they could be given a ticket for driving too fast. “We aren’t posted,” Fagre said. “We put up signs once to try to slow them down and they ended up in the Maries in two days.”

Stratman said it would be statewide and 40 mph is fast on a gravel road.

 

COVID-19 related

Stratman reported some University Extension news. This year there are five new Maries County Century Farms being designated and the event was scheduled to be held in October at the Vichy Firehouse. The university has COVID-19 rules about how many people can be at an event and the Century Farms event would surpass it. Instead they will have photos of the family designees with their Century Farm sign and display them at the Maries County Bank and in the courthouse, trying to do one each week.

Stratman said he was informed a single audit of the county’s CARES Act money will cost from $15,000 to $20,000.

The county has received a CARES Act money request from a business. It’s the first one and he has not seen it yet as it was sent to MRPC first.

The glass sneeze guards are up in county offices and they look nice. Their purpose is to protect citizens and county employees from spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Rodgers and Clerk’s Deputy Renee Kottwitz recently attended their association’s annual conference in Kansas City. About half of the county clerks/election authorities attended. She heard last week that 13 of the persons who attended are now sick with the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Voting

Rodgers said registered voters who have an absentee ballot and don’t get it mailed before the election can take the absentee ballot to their polling site. Those to have questions about whether the county clerk has received their absentee ballot they mailed back can call her office and staff will check to see if they received it. Or if they’ve asked for an absentee ballot and go vote at their polling site on election day, only one of their voted ballots will be counted as it is indicated in the precinct books who voted. It is illegal to vote twice.

A heavy voter turnout is expected for the Nov. 3 General Election. Rodgers said her office always needs poll workers and will need extra workers at the Belle and Vienna precincts for the upcoming election. Persons interested in being a poll worker are encouraged to contact her office.

Drug monitoring
program

Stratman said Prosecutor Tony Skouby is supposed to write an ordinance for the county to become part of the St. Louis County prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP). Rodgers found a user agreement from Layfayette County to look over and see what within it will work for Maries County. Stratman said they decided to go forward with the drug monitoring program which will alert pharmacies to addicts and drug abusers who are obtaining too many opioid and addictive prescription pills.

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