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County looks at alternate bridge funding

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- The Stoddard County Commission discussed options for funding a new bridge on County Road 410 in Castor Township and made two appointments to the county rural Sewer District #1 board of directors. The commission met Monday morning in the Commission Room of the Government Building.

Presiding Commissioner Greg Mathis reviewed the situation with the CR 410 bridge. The bridge was washed away in the floods of 2011. The township was approved by FEMA to receive funds to rebuild the bridge. FEMA would provide 75 percent of the total cost of the project (estimated at $400,000), while the township would have to provide 25 percent of the total. The township does not have the revenue to provide the matching money. An application was made for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), and it was approved but not funded. Funding continues to be unavailable, and the township was advised to proceed without the money.

Commissioner Danny Talkington asked about using Off-System Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Program (BRO) funds for the local match.

Mathis said BRO funds could not be used as matching funds because "you can't match federal money with federal money."

Mathis said township officials had approached him about borrowing money from the county at a low rate of interest. He said this had been done once before. But he proposed a different approach and asked the other commissioners to consider an alternate option.

"We need to think outside the box," said Mathis.

Mathis suggested that the county could pay for the bridge out of the county general budget and then receive 75 percent reimbursement from FEMA.

"We would be spending $100,000 to get $300,000," Mathis reflected.

"I just want you to think about it," said Mathis. "I was just floating it out there."

The county had a balance of $1,024.917.83 in the road and bridge fund at the end of the 2012.

"We have several bridge projects we could do," said Mathis. The commission reviewed several of the bridges in the county that either are closed or in need of replacement.

Talkington and Commissioner Carol Jarrell agreed that the county needed to begin looking and prioritizing bridges that need to be replaced. Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Area Engineer David Wyman told the commission that the department had changed their approach on BRO funds, and the county needed to use those funds or lose them.

"I would like to jump on it and get some bridges built," stated Mathis.

In other business, the commission appointed Tom Hunsperger and Robert Slavings to the County Sewer District #1 board. Hunsperger is also on the County Water District #1 board. They will replace David Agey and David Mulcahy who resigned in December.

Mathis said the two names were recommended by the sewer district board. He said he had not been informed of any other residents who were interested. He told the commission that Ronnie Alsup was the new president of the Sewer District #1 board.

Jarrell made the motion to appoint Hunsperger and Slavings to the board, and it was seconded by Talkington. It passed by a 3-0 vote.


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