No writer’s block this week, as there has been a lot of activity since my last update. In a time when negativity seems to rule the day, it is a pleasant relief to report some good news.
A few items of interest that the Commission has been working on are below.
• Thanks to the cooperative efforts of Jay Gourley and Blanche Kelly of our Project Management office and our Emergency Management director Emma Epplin-Birdsell, I am happy to announce that the County has been approved for a $1.5 million Hazard Mitigation project which will combine $380,000 of local funds with $1,120,000 in FEMA funds to replace 8 dangerous low-water crossings with either a bridge or a concrete box culvert. These crossings, some of which require a driver to take their vehicle directly into the creek bed, present a danger that only gets worse when there is flooding. This is a huge win for Lincoln County and we are excited to get these projects underway later this year.
• Progress continues on the remaining 2015 flood projects. Aubuchon and Dickerman Roads will soon be re-opened and we award the last three contracts for flood-related bridge repairs tomorrow. In addition to all of these flood projects and our normal summertime activities, the Road and Bridge Department tackled an emergency situation on Mansion Rd. With minimal interruption to local traffic, our crews demolished and replaced a rapidly deteriorating culvert that was constructed many decades ago of hand laid stone. Job well done.
• Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the City Council meeting in Moscow Mills and Elsberry to discuss dispatching costs. I am happy to announce that we were able to at least temporarily resolve some of our issues. Let me stress that, contrary to what the media reports, our 911 service is not in jeopardy. The ongoing discussion centers on dispatch costs and warrant processing fees for municipal police, fire, and ambulance. Until we get some relief at the State level to allow us to try to pass a nominal fee on cellular phones like the other 49 States, it is up to us to manage escalating costs locally. Based on my experience in Moscow Mills and Elsberry last week, I can assure you that we are blessed with dedicated colleagues who share our commitment to do what is best for all of the residents of Lincoln County.
• There will be no update next week as I will be out of town with my family on our annual baseball trip. Destination: Denver!!
That’s all I have time for now. As always, call, e-mail or stop by the Courthouse if you have questions. Until next week…