County commissioners hear update from MTRCG

by Patty Cheffey

The Marion County Commission received an update on opportunities with the Mark Twain Council of Governments during Monday’s meeting.

According to Ashley Long with the MTRCG, that organization can help with several loan and grant options for not only counties but cities and businesses too.

While the CDBG grant has closed recently, the council of governments will be starting a new session on that grant this fall or winter.

She also said the solid waste containers are still open and have been busy this year. 

Those are open every Wednesday and the first Saturday of the month and electronic recycling is included in that.

Long said the $3,500 mini grant program is open, and while there does have to be an education component to that, more than just schools can apply for one.

The MTRCG is also working an a grant for the Shelter Workshops, she said.

The Revolving Loan Fund is also available, Long said, noting they are seeking applicants for that currently.

The loan is for businesses for rebuilding and resiliency, she said.

With the MTRCG promoting transportation safety, Long presented the county with a Phone Down, Buckle Up sign to be hung in the county.

She also noted the speed sign and the traffic counter are available to borrow from the group.

As a new service, the MTRCG is offering to create two maps a year for the county.

She also noted Marion County’s mitigation plan is due to be updated, and asked the commissioners to be thinking of changes or additions they would like to see to that.

In other business, the commissioners voted no they were not in favor of switching from the Rock Island Corps of Engineers to the St. Louis one because of past troubles with that group.

Henry Dienst, from Clark County had sent a letter requesting the commissioners support that decision to switch after he said he had heard from experts, including the Weather Service, Conservation Service and Corps of Engineers that it would be better to have St. Louis Corps serve Marion County instead of Rock Island, Ill.

However, the commissioners noted several instances where they have been unable to get information from the St. Louis Corps when it was needed.

Commissioners also  met with Harla Friesz, county recorder, who requested funds to purchase a laptop and accessories if the courthouse should have to close to the public again and her office has to work from home.

The commissioners asked her to get costs and find out how quickly items could be purchased if that is the case.

In her report, Teya Stice, county improvement coordinator, noted she had visited with both Ralls and Pike counties about the Ralls County Water District’s application for CARES Act funds.

At this point, she said, neither county has made a commitment to use CARES funds for that request.

Stice also reported she had already purchased four air purifiers for the courthouses and the seven she had ordered from a local store should be ready to be picked up.

She also reported she had completed the annual CEPF grant application.