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County OKs more CARES Act funds

by Patty Cheffey

CARES Act funding again dominated Monday’s Marion County Commission meeting, including revisiting the request from the Marion County Ambulance District.

John Nemes, ambulance district chief, was present at Monday’s meeting to discuss the district’s request for funds and what it was for.

The $80,533 requested earlier covers just the hazard pay given to the employees, Nemes said. The county had approved half of that amount, $40,266.50.

According to Nemes, although the ambulance district would be eligible to submit their full payroll, he had only requested what amounted to a $2 and hour increase to the employees as COVID pay.

“Sam (Diffenderfer) said we could ask for full payroll, but I’m not going to do that as we already had that budgeted,” he said. “We’ve not seen the decrease in payroll as some businesses, but we don’t have the luxury of saying we aren’t going in.”

Nemes noted that since COVID began, other agencies, including Hannibal police and fire have informed him they are not going to respond to those types of calls.

Because of that, he added, the ambulance district has even issued bullet-proof vests to its employees and are considering arming some of them.

He also noted he has had six employees test positive for the disease since it began.

After hearing the explanation, the commissioners approved paying the remaining $40,266.50.

Several other businesses were also approved for CARES Act funding, including Rumor Has It, Tin Pin Alley, the city of Hannibal, FKF Commercial Fisheries & Bait, LLC, Hannibal Arts Council Inc., Kad Eri Ana Dancewear, The Haunted House on the Hill/Karlocks Kars/Big River Trains, Learning Opportunities, Java Jive and Mark Twain Dinette, although some received amended amounts from what was requested.

A couple other applications, including one for $58,781.21 from 911 were tabled.

In other business, the commissioners visited with Glen Turner, with the Monroe City IDA, via telephone, who discussed a part of the CARES Act, which allows counties, cities and economic development groups to “rebrand” themselves because of lost jobs.

Turner said he is working with surrounding counties and cities as well as with the Northeast Missouri Economic Development on that issue and wanted the commissioners to be aware of what he was doing.

Under his plan, each entity would use some of their CARES Act funds to do a marketing approach to try to lure workers from outside the area to this area.

“I know we want to take care of our local businesses, but we want to also look at it in a longer term,” he said.

The commissioners approved a request from Louis Hoerr to build a home on a one acre plot of land near Taylor since there had been a house on the property once which had been torn down. 

In grandfathering in the request the commissioners noted it does fall outside of the three acre minimum now needed.

They also approved a transfer of $450,000 from capital improvements to general revenue as part of the review of the fund balances, which, according to County Clerk Valerie Dornberger remain in good shape.

The county also:

• asked Teya Stice, county improvement coordinator, to follow up with Bleigh on the fact both ends of the new Taylor bridge have settled;

• learned MoDOT will be fixing the sign on the Palmyra Courthouse lawn; and

• signed a project exemption form for Audio Acoustics for the new audio equipment to be installed at the Palmyra Courthouse. That equipment has also been turned in for CARES Act funding.