Maries County Commissioners sign refinancing paperwork on road graders

Presiding Commissioner has close call in tree cutting accident

Posted 4/8/21

MARIES COUNTY — At a Maries County Commission meeting last week, the commissioners signed a tax anticipation note that extended the road grader loan for the road districts.

Mark Hayes of The …

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Maries County Commissioners sign refinancing paperwork on road graders

Presiding Commissioner has close call in tree cutting accident

Posted

MARIES COUNTY — At a Maries County Commission meeting last week, the commissioners signed a tax anticipation note that extended the road grader loan for the road districts.

Mark Hayes of The Maries County Bank was at the commission meeting with the paperwork for the commissioners to sign. Both Western District Commissioner Ed Fagre and Eastern District Commissioner Doug Drewel were present and signed. Presiding Commissioner Victor Stratman was present via telephone. He broke his ankle and some bones in his foot in a tree-cutting accident. Hayes said bank employee Sarah Stratman will bring the paperwork to the commissioner to get his signature.

The tax anticipation note is for $301,480.23 for Road One, and $190,477.41 for Road Two. The interest rate is 2.25 percent for one year. In March of 2022, the commissioners will need to decide if they want to do another tax anticipation loan, a lease-purchase loan, or pay it off. He asked them to give him a couple of weeks notice at that time. 

This tax anticipation loan is for the current road graders. The commissioners were interested in upgrading to new graders but the low buy-back amount, the high-priced graders, and already having a road grader debt kept them from trading this year. 

Fagre said graders will run a long time if they take care of them. He said the federal government is talking about spending a lot of money on infrastructure. “If they start building roads, these graders will be worth more.” 

Drewel agreed, saying, “Now is not the time to buy.” He said the current road graders will run 9,000 to 10,000 hours, saying the graders are only about half wore out.

Wild Cherry Tree

At the beginning of the meeting on Monday, Stratman said he’d broken his ankle and bones in his foot. He was scheduled for surgery and said he was not in too much pain.

He told the story about what happened. He was going to build some fence. There was a wild cherry tree leaning and he decided to cut it. As he was cutting it, the big tree snapped off about 10 to 12 feet above the ground and it came down. Stratman saw what was happening and he got away, but his left foot snagged and the tree landed on his foot. He said when it was happening, “I thought I would be killed.” 

Stratman was by himself. He had his phone but the service was poor. He was able to get a call through to his daughter, Beth Wulff, and “the whole bunch came.” He said he didn’t fall, but sat on the log that was on his leg as he waited for help to arrive. 

On Thursday, he was on the phone again for the county commission meeting. He said he had surgery and they put in two pins. He is supposed to stay off of it for two weeks. He said his wife, Joan, is taking fantastic care of him.

Fast tracked

Stratman reported he contacted State Senator Mike Bernskoetter, R-District 6, about supporting the gasoline tax bill that increases the state’s gasoline tax by 12.5 cents over a period of four years. The increase would be two and three-quarter cents a year for four years. It is supported by the Missouri Association of Counties (MAC) and is favored by all three commissioners as the county and Vienna and Belle will receive additional gasoline tax revenue if the bill is approved by the legislature and governor. 

Bernskoetter is interested in the gasoline tax bill. He told Stratman it won’t have to go to a vote of the people. The bill is fast-tracked. It includes provisions for electric cars. 

Another bill the senator spoke to Stratman about is the Wayfair tax bill, which adds sales tax to all online purchases, not just those companies with a physical presence in Missouri. Bernskoetter told him the Wayfair bill has little opposition and is a legislative priority. 

County Clerk Rhonda Rodgers said State Representative Bruce Sassmann was at the courthouse Friday looking for Stratman and he left his card. 

Four weeks

Fagre said several people have called him about the land sale. The commission had a public hearing and declared surplus 3.56 acres of county-owned land located at Junction E and MCR #512. The land will be sold at the courthouse steps to the highest bidder. 

Stratman said that must be coming up, but Fagre said he’d not seen the legal notice in the newspaper. Stratman said it has to run in the newspaper for four weeks so they will have to wait. He is going to contact Albert Crump about the progress.

Later in the meeting, Fagre saw Crump in the hallway and Crump said he is still working on it.

American Rescue Plan

Stratman asked if the county should ask MRPC to handle the requests for the next round of federal stimulus money Maries County will be receiving. The county was notified it will receive $1,686,730 in two payments of federal money from the American Rescue Plan. Incorporated towns in the county also will receive money, with Belle slated to receive $272,413 and Vienna $109,407. The amounts are based on population using 2019 Census data. 

Stratman said three or four counties in the region are interested in asking MRPC to handle the money the same way the planning commission did with Maries County’s $1,020,000 CARES Act money. The commissioners appreciated the guidance and the coverage by MRPC, which kept the county from doing anything wrong with the money. There has been no announcement yet about what the money can be used for.

Fagre said he hopes it can be used “to do something with the roads.” 

There will be two payments over a period of two years. The money is supposed to be spent by 2024, which will give them more time than they had with the CARES Act money. 

No meeting Thursday

Fagre said a representative of MECO Engineering will be at the meeting Monday about the BRO bridge replacement project on MCR No. 608. 

Stratman said he will not be able to attend the Thursday, April 8 commission meeting. Fagre said he can’t be there either so they canceled that meeting. 

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