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by Patty Cheffey
The Marion County Commission will be lending not only their support, but their name to a grant application to support Northeast Power Cooperative.
Northeast Power representatives were present to ask the commissioners to apply for the grant on their behalf during Monday’s meeting, at which the commissioners also approved a bid for a new jail roof, discussed a public transit plan, approved a planning and zoning issue and approved some county insurance.
Allie Bennet, Skyler Wiegmann and Abe Gray were present at the meeting to ask the commissioners to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds on behalf of the Northeast Missouri Electric Power Cooperative to rebuild approximately nine miles of 69 KV transmission line in the Mississippi River floodplain southeast of Taylor.
According to Bennet Northeast Power just recently became aware they could qualify for funds for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and community (BRIC) grant, but they need the county to apply for the grant on the behalf as local governments are eligible applicants.
Increased flooding frequency and larger magnitude and longer duration floods which inundate the South River, North River and Fabius River bottoms has created the need to replace the current lines, which were installed probably in the 1940s, according to Wiegmann.
During the flooding, the conductor-to-ground clearances are significantly reduced, which causes potential safety hazards to the general public traveling in watercrafts. Therefore Northeast Power de-energizes these lines, which can cause problems and even jeopardize the the system reliability. That system includes providing power to Palmyra.
If the $10.5 million grant is approved, Northeast Power plans to not only raise the lines, but also build newer, stronger and taller poles to achieve greater ground clearance.
If the grant is not approved, Wiegmann said the company will still need to do the work at the expense of the customers, although it probably would not be done immediately.
In other business, the commissioners approved the low bid of $324,995 from Tournear Roofing of Quincy to replace the jail roof.
Bids were also received from Goerlich Roofing, $341,000; and Watkins Roofing, $352,452.
All bids were lower than the engineer’s estimate on the project.
A lone bid of $7,421.67 was opened from Allen’s Carpet for ceramic tile in parts of the Palmyra Courthouse.
However, the commissioners set that bid aside when the representative of Allen’s Carpet informed them ceramic tile is probably not the best choice for these locations for two reasons.
Not only would the ceramic tiles create a tripping hazard because it would be taller, but the sub flooring is not suited for ceramic.
He recommended a luxury vinyl, which he said he would provide samples of to Teya Stice, county coordinator.
As the costs will fall below what the state requires for a bid, the commissioners asked Allen Carpets to proceed with the project once vinyl is approved.
The commissioners unanimously approved a recommendation of the Marion County Planning and Zoning Commission to rezone one acre from agriculture to commercial to allow Christopher and Shannon Kleindienst to park a commercial use truck on the property.
Delores Woodhurst with Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments was present to discuss the Coordinated Human Services Public Transit Plan.
The plan is reviewed every five years, to identify current transportation providers, identify transportation needs for older adults, people with low income and individuals with disabilities, identify strategies to address gaps in service and to prioritize strategies for implementing specific strategies/activities based on resources, time and feasibility.
Current date was provided to the commissioners, and Woodhurst said she will be holding a meeting with transportation service provides to discuss the situation and seek ideas for improvements.
In addition, surveys will go out to gather additional information, she said.
Carla Meyers with First State Insurance was present to review group life, short-term disabilities, vision and dental insurance.
While life and short-term disability will be going up, vision, dental and accident insurance will remain the same, she said.
The commissioners approved having Meyers proceed with this part of the county’s insurance plan for the employees. Health insurance will be addressed once that information is available, she said.
The commissioners also:
• approved a letter of support for St. John’s Lutheran Daycare in Hannibal, which is seeking a grant from the Mark Twain Solid Waste District;
• reviewed fund balances and sales tax, which is up this month;
• approved a bid of $201 for trustee-held property at 515 Edwards St. in Hannibal;
• learned the current snow removal service from David Durst will not be available this year. Larry Welch, Eastern District commissioner, will do some checking on a replacement;
• learned the county had two BRO bridges approved for funding, although nothing official has been received from the state on that;
• approved a change order in the amount of $4,172 for the county’s storage facility;
• approved the first payment on the storage facility; and
• learned the county will received a $19,914.80 EMPG grant, half of which helps pay for the emergency management director’s salary and half for the Code Red program.