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by Patty Cheffey
Marion County residents had better hope for light snow this winter, or expect to be stuck at home for a while, unless they live on the two main highways in the county.
The Marion County Commission had a visit from Jeff Kroner, area engineer with MoDOT during their meeting Monday morning, who shared the news that because of staffing issues, if there is any major snowfalls this winter, only U.S. 61 and U.S. 36 will be cleared.
“I wanted to make you aware of our staffing issues,” said Kroner of his reason for visiting with the commissioners. “Statewide we are down 1,000 employees to man trucks to push snow.”
What that means, he said, is MoDOT statewide will be shifting resources to cover all areas of the state.
“Interstates and major routes will be our main priorities,” he said. “Secondary routes will only be cleared after the primary routes are cleared.”
What that means is residents on lettered routes and on Mo. 168 could be stuck in the event of large snowfalls.
Kroner noted in the event of an emergency responder getting to someone, plans are in place.
“The Highway Patrol or sheriff reaches out to us, and we try to dispatch a truck to get that emergency responder to the victim,” he said. “Now, that could mean a truck is pulled off a major route during a storm to get an emergency vehicle down a route.”
Kroner added it could also mean the county highway department could be called into service.
In another matter, Kroner said he was asked to inform counties the state asks that county signs be mounted on the post of a state sign, and not on the sign itself.
“I don’t know if that is a problem in Marion County or not, but I was asked to let you know about that,” he said.
In other business, the county approved allowing Devon McClain, the county’s IT contact, to apply for a cyber security grant in the amount of $200,000.
The grant, which must include a 10 percent county match, would include training, software and hardware. Applications are due Dec. 16.
The county also reviewed fund balances and sales taxes, both of which are in good shape.