Taylor Bridge Down

The Taylor bridge came down last week to make way for a replacement. (Contributed photo)

Whether or not Marion County will be able to adopt a strict ordinance curtailing utilities from using county right-of-way remains up in the air.

The Marion County Commission briefly discussed the ordinance during Monday’s meeting, at which the county learned they had received an EMPG award, discussed the Taylor bridge and heard an update on the Mark Twain transmission line.

While the commissioners have not actually approved the ordinance, Teya Stice, county land improvement coordinator, had presented them with a copy of the proposed ordinance to review.

She also reported she had visited with Dig Right, who informed her they could not stop the county from approving such an ordinance.

The ordinance, which is loosely based on one from Phelps County, is strict, barring any utility from placing lines on county right-of-way, and outline rules they have to follow if they cross county property.

Eastern District Commissioner Larry Welch expressed doubt the county will be able to approve such a strict ordinance and asked Stice to contact Ivan Schroeder, the county’s attorney, about it.

While the Phelps County ordinance does not prohibit utilities from being on its county right-of-way, it does have strict guidelines utility companies have to follow.

Part of the problem with Marion County doing that is that while Phelps County has designated right-of-way, Marion County has “assumed” right-of-way, except on Veterans Road, on which the county actually purchased the right-of-way.

Stice said she would check with Schroeder before the commissioners moved forward with the ordinance.

In other business, Stice said the county had received an EMPG award in the amount of $20,421.26, but noted it actually only receives half of that amount. The other half is a local cost share of $10,210.63.

The award, however, pays for the salary of John Hark, county emergency management planner.

The commissioners also briefly discussed the Taylor bridge project, noting the old bridge is down and a low-water crossing has been built.

Bleigh Construction, which has the bid, has 90 working days to complete the project.

See more in this week's Palmyra Spectator.