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by Patty Cheffey
While Marion County swore in officials during their meeting last week, they voted to swear off animals this week.
After having some difficulty at the Hannibal Courthouse with people bringing in their pets, the Marion County Commission voted to adopt a rule to allow only “properly certified service animals” to the courthouses in Hannibal and Palmyra.
Also during this week’s meeting, the commissioners discussed the BRO bridge projects, approved work on the ceiling in the lawyers’ room in the Palmyra courthouse and reviewed sales tax and fund balances.
According to Teya Stice, improvement coordinator, and Larry Welch, Eastern District commissioner, the Hannibal Courthouse has had a major issue with people bringing in their pets and one dog forced a citizen to leave, according to Welch.
The new rule can be enforced by the sheriff’s office, according to the county’s attorney.
When questioned by Sheriff Jimmy Shinn on what is proper identification, the commissioners noted the animals must be properly identified as a service animal “as a condition of ADA and MHRC” or the owner will be asked to remove it from the courthouse.
That identification can be a vest, tag or some other means of identification.
In other business, the commissioners discussed the BRO bridges, with Western District Commissioner Steve Begley saying he now understands the timeline better after expressing some concerns about it last week.
As part of the timeline, the commissioners approved a change to the contract with MECO Engineering, making the date of July 22, 2023 for one part of the process.
During last week’s meeting, Begley said he was confused by the dates and thought both bridges would be built in 2023.
Begley said he assumed when he saw “begin building bridges,” it meant physically building the bridges this year. But that statement only means they can begin the process of building the bridges on County Road 281 and County Road 230.
Stice said the contract signed with MECO stated the design work will not be done until August, which is a short time compared to normal time for designing a bridge.
The commissioners approved having Stice contact David Durst to see if he could repair the ceiling in the lawyers’ office at the Palmyra Courthouse after plaster fell off recently.
They also briefly discussed the Marion County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting to be held Thursday.
During that meeting, planning and zoning will develop a checklist for land developers on things they want to see done before a developer comes to a planning and zoning meeting.
County Clerk Marla Meyers reviewed sales tax and fund balances with the commissioners, noting everything is still in good shape.
Sales tax for General Revenue came in at $225,439.92, compared to $177,339.97 in January 2022.
The commissioners also heard an update from Chariton Valley, which noted the ARPA portion of the process is completed.
During last week’s county commission meeting, which was held Tuesday because of the holiday, new and returning county officials were sworn in.
Administering the oath of office was newly-sworn in County Clerk Marla Meyers.
Being sworn in were David Lomax, presiding commissioner; Joelle Fohey, county treasurer; Harla Friesz, county recorder; and Luke Bryant, prosecuting attorney.
Sworn in earlier was Cheryl Damron, new county circuit clerk, Division I, by Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd on Jan. 1; and Judge John Jackson, by Judge David Mobley on Dec. 30.
Also during last week’s meeting, Fohey reported she had received the $50,000 Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund grant, which is part of the ARPA funding, but for which the county had to apply.
After some discussion it was decided to put those funds into the Emergency Fund, using a longer rate certificate of deposit.