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by Patty Cheffey
Northeast Power Cooperative is again seeking federal funds to rebuild some transmission lines in the Mississippi River floodplain.
Abraham Gray, a CPA with Northeast Power, was present at Monday’s Marion County Commission meeting to ask for the commissioners signature on road maintenance and cooperation agreements as they try a second time to get a grant to raise power lines which can be hazardous to work on during flooding.
In other business, the commissioners approved ARPA funds to a daycare in Hannibal, learned of an upcoming safety training event in the county and approved new valves for the heating and cooling system in the Hannibal Courthouse.
According to Gray, Northeast Power missed out on the funding through the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program grant when they first applied for the it in October 2022 as other projects were instead funded, but is applying again for a $10.5 million grant.
The proposal is to rebuild nine miles of 69 kV transmission line in the floodplain southeast of Taylor with new, stronger and taller poles to achieve greater ground clearance during flooding events. Wood and steel replacement poles will be utilized.
While Gray said he was not expecting the county’s signatures on Monday, he asked them to send the paperwork on to the county’s attorney for review and approval before they sign off on the agreements.
The commissioners indicated they are in support of the grant application.
In other business, Teya Stice, improvement coordinator, presented an application from WeeCare Daycare in Hannibal for $55,000 in ARPA funds to help pay for a transportation van.
While the daycare has already purchased the van as the old one needed replacing, they asked for reimbursement of the cost.
The commissioners approved $20,000 of the requested amount.
Russell Schleiermacher with University Extension informed the commissioners Extension is planning a safety event at the Marion County fairgrounds which will include the fire and rescue training equipment from Columbia as well as other equipment from the University Extension.
Part of the training will be a mock grain bin rescue.
Schleiermacher noted he is also working with Stice to hold an armed intruder simulation which would involve both courthouses.
He assured the commissioners bright pink signs will be placed around the courthouse to assure the public it is strictly a training exercise taking place.
After some discussion about replacing valves versus installing antifreeze, the commissioners approved replacing the valves on the heating and cooling system at the Hannibal Courthouse.
According to Stice and Presiding Commissioner David Lomax, the system is currently costing the county considerable money as the chiller line cannot be shut off completely because of old valves.
Since they can’t be shut off, the lines have to be left open enough to keep the water moving to avoid it freezing and destroying the lines
Since replacing the valves will mean the Hannibal Courthouse will be without heat for a couple of lines while the chiller lines are being drained and since the commissioners are discussing replacing the entire heating and cooling system in the near future, Commissioner Steve Begley asked if it wouldn’t be more efficient to just run antifreeze through the lines.
Although not knowing the cost of doing that as compared to replacing the valves, Lomax assured Begley the valves would be usable on a new heating and cooling unit.
The commission also:
• approved Great River Engineering for the Veterans Road lighting project engineering work;
• discussed options for improved lighting in the Hannibal Courthouse, especially on the stairways. They approved having an electrician look into the emergency lights for the stairs, which are currently not working;
• asked the Highway Department maintenance man, Brad Neil, to see if he could fix some issues with the courthouse maintenance truck;
• approved purchasing six Purple Heart designation signs to be placed on county highways;
• approved the sale of trustee-held property at 2009 Gordan St. in Hannibal for $200 plus the recording fee; and
• heard a report from Mike Schaefer, county highway supervisor, who noted his department is currently grading roads after the recent rains and snow, and they are working on a system to hang the new oil burner from the ceiling. Delivery on that is expected soon, he said.