Maries County’s Industrial Development Authority is being dissolved, assets will go to county

By Laura Schiermeier, Staff Writer
Posted 8/3/22

MARIES COUNTY — Maries County’s Industrial Development Association (IDA) is in the process of being dissolved. The county’s IDA has been around for over 40 years but has been …

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Maries County’s Industrial Development Authority is being dissolved, assets will go to county

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MARIES COUNTY — Maries County’s Industrial Development Association (IDA) is in the process of being dissolved. The county’s IDA has been around for over 40 years but has been inactive for some time. 

The purpose of the Maries County IDA was to promote the county to prospective business and manufacturing clients, and to work to help them locate to the county. This was an effort to bring more jobs to county citizens and to increase economic activity here.

At last Thursday’s Maries County Commission meeting, Attorney Albert Crump, Jr., was at the meeting briefly. Presiding Commissioner Victor Stratman’s signature was needed on paperwork for dissolving the county’s IDA. A public notice will be published in this newspaper for several weeks informing citizens the IDA is dissolving and if anyone has a claim against the IDA, they have x-number of days to make it known. Crump told the commissioners at the end of the time frame prescribed by the legal notice, the money the IDA has will to given to the county. The commissioners were curious about how the IDA had obtained money, but it’s been so long nobody knew. Also, how much money? Crump said $26,421.19. 

Stratman said the functions the IDA was supposed to do are now done by MRPC with the Gasconade Valley Enterprise Zone (GVEZ). Crump said, “The IDA just never took off.” He told the commissioners he will get the process underway and he will see that it gets done. 

The commissioners spoke to Crump about a cemetery established by Rodney and Sheila Duncan, which is the Duncan Family Cemetery. It was deeded to the county when it began. It’s a little over an acre in size. The problem is a neighbor has used purple paint along the area of the cemetery on the county’s property. The commissioners consulted a state statute and Stratman said the statute is very plain and it appears Crump “did everything right” when he prepared the paperwork for that particular cemetery. However, the problem now is the neighbor is trying to keep them out of the cemetery. The commissioners asked Prosecuting Attorney Tony Skouby to write a letter to the neighbor informing them that the cemetery land is property of Maries County and asking them to stop keeping people off of it. 

Crump said the cemetery land already has been surveyed. Eastern District Commissioner Doug Drewel asked that as a county cemetery, if any person is allowed to visit it. Crump said with the county owning it, it becomes public property, so yes, anyone can visit it. 

It was announced last week in this publication that Crump and his assistant Bev Clark will be retiring from the Vienna office Sept. 1, 2022. Those present in the commission room wished him congratulations upon his retirement. Crump said he appreciated the opportunity to serve Maries County in various ways over the years and appreciated getting to work with all of them. He said he hopes he met their expectations. 

Glad it’s over

The commissioners were informed Ron and Anne Calzone won the appeal in the Missouri Court of Appeals Southern District. The court determined the county commission violated the Sunshine Law when it held commission meetings after it shut down the courthouse to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020. 

The Calzone’s appealed Judge John Beger’s decision on the “No Reasonable Notice” count, saying the commission did not publicly post a notice identifying the mode by which the meeting would be conducted nor did it notify the public how to access the commissioner’s public meetings. The appellate judges agreed with the Calzones and reversed the trial court’s judgment in  favor of the commission and found the Sunshine Law was violated. 

Maries County did not file any briefs in the appeals process as advised by Prosecutor Skouby. The commissioners said they were fine with losing the lawsuit as they meant no harm to any of its citizens. After Judge Beger’s ruling in Maries County Circuit Court, the commissioners said they were finished with the lawsuit. 

At last Thursday’s meeting, Western District Commissioner Ed Fagre said when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they did what the governor asked them to do and closed the building to the public. They did not mean to do anything wrong or to violate any laws. It was a confusing time. County Clerk Rhonda Rodgers said they posted phone numbers on each door at the courthouse. Stratman said he’s glad it’s over.

Bridge priorities

Stratman said MRPC’s Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) has asked each county in MoDOT’s Central District to identify three bridges which are the county’s top priority to be replaced using the BRO program. All of the Central District counties will choose three deficient bridges. All of the selections will be put together and at a TAC meeting, the MRPC board members will “sell” their bridges to the committee members and then some of them will be selected for replacement. Stratman was unsure how many bridges will be selected and thinks it may be based on how much money they have, but he’s not sure.

Fagre chose the old WPA bridge on MCR 614 over the Big Maries River. He said it catches a lot of trash and is near a flooding area of the Maries River. Fagre had talked about replacing the bridge on MCR 213 over Fly Creek, but they have put this bridge in for replacement through a different program. 

Drewel has two old bridges that need to be replaced. One is on MCR 448 over the Little Bourbeuse, and the other is on MCR 449 over Lanes Fork. These three bridges were chosen as Maries County’s priority bridges needing replacement.

Stratman said the TAC members do a good job selling their bridges and he has seen some drama that resulted in a bridge being selected. 

Maries County will have to compete with the other counties in the district, which include Howard, Boone, Callaway, Cooper, Moniteau, Cole, Osage, Gasconade, Maries, Morgan, Miller, Camden, Laclede, Pulaski, Phelps, Crawford, Dent, and Washington. 

Charging station

County IT Manager Shane Sweno asked the commissioners about their interest in participating in an upcoming Ameren grant for charging stations. The Ameren grant will pay $5,000 for the charging station. A dual port station will cost $23,000 with the grant amount being $10,000. There is also an upcoming grant through MRPC. After some discussion, it was decided there really isn’t space or a place at the courthouse put it. The commissioners said it wouldn’t be fair to ask another business to put one in. 

ARPA change request

Sweno proposed a change to a request for use of the county’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money. He said the Maries-Osage Ambulance District (MOAD) had asked for a change order to the request for Turn-Key tablet, holders and mounts on the previous request. But, there is a pole that everything mounts on that was not included in the original request. Turn-Key is charging $1,846. This includes the pole and installation. No decision was made on the request. 

Sweno was asked about the panic buttons. He said they should be working and he will test this. 

BOE valuations

Clerk Rodgers reported Assessor Dana Simmons has turned over the valuations following the board of equalization (BOE). The new valuations are: Maries County 164,540,409, Road One 76,228,944, and Road Two 66,635,646. 

MOCA Mobile Office

The MOCA Mobile Office will be in Vienna at G&W Foods on Aug. 3 and 17, and in Belle at Mace’s Supermarket on Aug. 10 and 24. For both sites the hours in operation are 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. but closed between 12 and 12:30 p.m. for lunch. 

BRO payment

It was reported Road One received its final BRO payment of $1,673. The federal BRO program was used to replace an overhead bridge on MCR 608. 

Grant writing hours

Rodgers reported speaking to Cindy Doerr about using some of Maries County’s MRPC hours to write a grant for the Vichy Farmers’ Market. Cindy and Kevin Doerr are seeking assistance to help fund the farmers market, which is open on Saturdays at The Country building near the Vichy Dollar General location along Highway 63, south of Vichy. 

With its annual membership to MRPC, Maries County gets 18 grant writing hours. These hours go away if they aren’t used. Rodgers said she’s not sure what grants they plan to apply for. 

Fagre said he doesn’t have a problem giving them some of the county’s hours. Stratman suggested giving them up to three hours and this number was agreed upon. He said if they aren’t used, they go away. 

Belle Fair

Rodgers was asked if the Belle Fair will stay at the 4th of July weekend next year, too. It was moved forward this year as previously it was held the third weekend of July. 

Rodgers said yes, for now. The date was moved so the Belle Fair could continue to use Sunshine Amusement, the company which operates a good carnival at the fair each year. 

Broadband

Fagre was looking through the Rural Missouri magazine put out by rural electric cooperatives. He asked Stratman if he thinks Three Rivers Electric “will move on broadband” and Stratman said it looks like it will not.

They briefly discussed that Gascosage Electric Co-op is moving forward to bring broadband internet to its customers. In the recent Rural Missouri magazine, it was reported Sac Osage Electric Co-op in El Dorado Springs has hired contractors to deploy fiber to its members with 2,300 miles of fiber to connect 8,700 member-owners within the next three to four years. 

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