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by Patty Cheffey
The Marion County Commission again heard from internet providers, this time with some costs and timelines.
Representatives from both Chariton Valley and Mark Twain Rural Telephone were present at Monday’s meeting to discuss their options with the commissioners.
Also Monday, the commissioners heard an update on American Rescue Plan fund applications and signed a letter concerning the warning siren in Taylor.
Darin Dowell and Donna Bell from Chariton Valley, reported they had filled out the ARPA application, and questioned when they might know something about that.
They also noted the federal grant, for which they have also applied to help put fiber throughout the county, has been put on hold until at least February 2022.
Western District Commissioner Steve Begley informed them, as well as the representatives from Mark Twain, they had been advised by the Missouri Association of Counties to wait at least a month before using their ARPA funds for broadband as the governor has said he is putting $400 million into broadband across the state.
As of right now, though, the county does not know how much of that they could receive, and therefore, Begley said Marion County will be waiting on that before making a decision or approving any ARPA funds for broadband.
He and Eastern District Commissioner Larry Welch also noted Chariton Valley is not the only company wanting to work with the county on broadband.
Jim Lyon, John Neils and Jason Cook with Mark Twain Rural Telephone were also present at Monday’s meeting to provide maps and costs to the county.
While their immediate plan is to get wireless communication out to the county residents, which can be done quickly, they do plan to install fiber later.
The commissioners made no decision on the project.
In other business, Allona Kizer with Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments provided a list of applicants for the ARPA funding as well as additional information on what is allowed and what is not.
While all who have applied are eligible in some form or another, not everything for which they have asked for funds is allowable.
Commissioners asked her to come back next Monday with a list of what is allowable and what is not at this point for each applicant.
When asked, she reported the Douglass Community Services’ new building is not eligible under the current guidelines, but said their attorney states it is. She has asked him to provide a signed affidavit to that affect so it can be kept with the application if the county should get audited. At this point she has not received that letter.
However, the commissioners proceeded to approve having Douglass go ahead with their public hearing on the new facility.
In a related ARPA fund matter, the commissioners approved using $80,216.35 of those funds to pay for the recently completed storm water drainage project at the courthouse. That represents half of the cost as the city of Palmyra is paying the other half.
The commissioners also signed a letter changing the coordinates for location of the warning siren in Taylor.
The siren will now be located on state property, rather than on county property.
The commissioners also reviewed the monthly report and fund balances, which remain in good shape.