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by Patty Cheffey
Marion County general revenue and road and bridge fund balances for 2023 remain lower than the first two months of 2022.
February saw a combined fund balance of $4,210,526.21 including $1,831,045.50 for road and bridge and $2,379,480.71 for general revenue.
Last year’s road and bridge figure for February was lower at $1,754,709.48, but general revenue’s was higher at $3,051,561.36, making the total combined higher at $4,806,270.84.
January’s 2023 fund balances for both were also lower than January’s 2022 individual and combined fund balances.
In other business, the commissioners allowed a request by Mark Novak, county assessor, to hire another individual for his office.
Stating he wants to hire two more employees and that he has the funds available in his assessment fund to do that, the commissioners suggested caution and approved Novak hiring only one more employee.
“I think maybe one at this time and we’ll see where your ending balance is at in December,” said Western District Commissioner Steve Begley, noting he did not want the assessor’s balance to be zero at the end of the year and the positions not be sustainable.
Donna Rice-Goodin, new county collector, spoke on behalf of allowing the two employees, noting “if Mark had more help, they would pay for themselves.”
Novak said he was fine with hiring only one employee at this time and revisiting the situation later.
The commissioners also approved having Andy Dorian, who works for the city of Hannibal, serve on the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments Transportation Advisory Committee.
Dorian would be filling the position vacated by Marty Meyers, who has moved out of Marion County and can no longer serve on that board.
John O’Brien was present to again ask the county to take readings at railroad crossings in the county to be proactive about possible train/vehicle accidents.
He specifically asked about Route M and Route A, and was informed by the commissioners and Mike Schaefer, county highway supervisor, those roads are MoDOT and the county does not work on them.
Schaefer also noted the crossings belong to the railroad and the county only works on the approaches to them.
Begley presented a report on items discussed at last week’s commissioner association meeting, which the Marion County commissioners had attended.
Among the items he reported on were:
• Marijuana, noting as of right now, both the county and city can collect sales tax, but that might change later in the year;
• Solar and wind energy with counties being urged to hold off implementing any type of ordinance until the state figures out the issue and makes that information available to the counties. He also said no decisions had been decided at the state level on whether those should be rezoned or not and how to dispose of used panels when they stop working; and
• Dust control, noting many counties are switching to magnesium sulfate instead of using calcium because of the cost. Schaefer said he would probably bid out for both kinds.