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by Patty Cheffey
The Ralls County Water District is again requesting ARPA funds, this time to help pay for water line breaks in Marion County lines only.
Tyler Stuhlman with the water district, Frank Burch with the water district board, and Mark Bross with Klingner and Associates, were present at Monday Marion County Commission meeting to make their request.
Also Monday, the commissioners approved the budget (see related story), heard an update from the jail and opened a bid.
According to Bross, the Ralls County Water District budgeted to replace water lines on County Road 258 and County Road 409 in 2021, but had to put off the work because of COVID.
“Pipe availability is now difficult as we are looking at four to six months before it becomes available,” said Bross, adding the cost has also increased significantly.
From the time the water district budgeted the project in 2021 to the present day, Bross and Stuhlman noted the cost has gone up $152,580, which is the amount being requested from American Rescue Plan Act funds.
“We’ve been told our budget now is not realistic,” said Stuhlman, adding if there should be any federal funds available to help with the project in the future, that is six to nine months away before they would even know that.
Noting water line work is specifically listed as an approved project in the ARPA guidelines, Bross said the group is hopeful the county will consider helping out.
Although he added they have not filled out an application as they did not know what the process was, he would be doing that quickly.
In other business, Sheriff Jimmy Shinn reported on the current COVID situation at the jail.
“It’s been a rough five days,” he said, noting he has six inmates, including two at the emergency room, and five employees, including a dispatcher in a hospital in St. Louis, and a nurse out currently with COVID.
“We are working through it,” he added, noting they have been quarantining the inmates in their pods. “I’ve had dispatchers come in and work 12 hour shifts, and I’m working on getting them paid for that overtime.”
The dispatcher is on the mend, he added.
The commissioners also signed the county assessor’s Assessment Plan for the State Tax Commission, and opened bids for the printing of the county’s annual financial statement.
A decision on that bid had not been decided as of press time.