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by Patty Cheffey
The Marion County Commissions has hired an engineer to write a grant for lighting on Veterans Road, provided they have not missed the deadline.
Western District Commissioner Steve Begley reported he learned last week preliminary work was to have been turned in by Aug. 4, but is hoping that will be extended to Aug. 11.
In the meantime, the county has hired Great River Engineering to write the grant, which has a maximum amount of $500,000 plus a 20 percent county match.
Begley noted he has the engineering firm checking to make sure they can still apply for the grant before beginning any work on it.
He also noted the county is still working with the local electric cooperatives to see who will do the lighting as part of the project along Veterans Road is within the Hannibal city limits.
In other business, Donna Goodin, county collector, asked for approval for the contract with the city of Hannibal to have her office collect taxes for that entity.
Again, the vote was 2-1 with Begley “vehemently” voting against it.
Prior to the voting, Begley asked Goodwin to explain how she plans to give the money collected with the increase to the contract to her employees.
Goodwin noted she will be writing checks to her employees after paying taxes on the full $15,000 additional to her regular salary. Each employee will then be responsible for paying taxes on the amounts they receive.
Begley quoted a state statute, which he said seemed to indicate she could not do this, however, Goodin quoted a different statute which outlined how her office can contract to do work for other entities and how those funds may be retained by the county officer as per what the contract says.
Begley asked whether Goodin had told the cities, Palmyra, Hannibal and Monroe City, that if they did not sign the contract, her office would not be collecting taxes for them, and Goodin stated she had told at least one Hannibal alderman.
In voicing his disapproval of county employees getting paid more than their amounts based on the salary scale, Begley asked if the matter could be tabled until the commissioners could “check on the validity” of Goodin’s claims.
“I just don’t think they should be (over) compensated for doing their jobs,” he said.
Larry Welch, Eastern District commissioner, noted it has become a touchy situation among other county employees but made the motion to proceed with approving the contract with Presiding Commissioner David Lomax seconding it.
“It’s been hard for us to explain this to the other employees,” Welch said, adding he knew Harry Graves had done something similar.
In his report, Mike Schaefer, county highway supervisor, said he had been receiving more phone calls about the vehicles parked on County Road 365 and on the county’s right-of-way.
Sheriff Jimmy Shinn asked for photos and said he would follow up on it further, including checking to see what legal steps the county can take.