A public hearing concerning the amendment of the 2012 Phelps County budget is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18, in the county commission office at the Phelps County Courthouse.

A public hearing concerning the amendment of the 2012 Phelps County budget is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18, in the county commission office at the Phelps County Courthouse.

Another public hearing concerning the 2013 proposed county budget will take place at 9:30 a.m. that same day at the commission office. The 2013 budget will be approved sometime in January.

Phelps County Commissioners were made aware of the hearings at their meeting Tuesday morning.

Also at the meeting, the commission received a county briefing from the Missouri Conservation Department, which details department services within Phelps County.

According to the document, total payments in lieu of tax made to the county in 2011 were $1,553.58 and forest crop land payments in 2011 totaled $2,578.82, for a total of $4,132.40 received. There are 3,399.66 acres held in public trust by the conservation department out of a total of 431,539 acres in the county.

The conservation department also has mutual aid agreements with several rural volunteer fire departments. This year, the Duke Fire Protection District received volunteer fire assistance matching grant dollars from the conservation department.

In addition to the grants, the conservation department loans equipment to the volunteer fire departments. Among the equipment currently on loan to fire departments in Phelps County include a liquid tank, several trucks, an ambulance, a fork lift, generators, trailers, pumps and portable floodlight sets.

In other business

• Also at the meeting, commissioners were made aware of a proposed surface mine plan area in which River Cement Company doing business as Buzzi Unicem USA, of Festus, has applied for a new site addition to their permit from the Department of Natural Resources, Land Reclamation Commission, to mine clay on an additional three acres of land in northeastern Phelps County near Clear Creek and County Road 1210. If no objections are made, operations would be conducted between through Nov 1, 2020.

• In addition, the commission was informed that the Missouri Department of Transportation will hold an open house community briefing from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Jerome First Baptist Church, 21996 Main St., in Jerome, to discuss improvements to the Route D bridge over the Gasconade River in Phelps County. The bridge will be completely closed during the construction, which is scheduled for the 2013 construction season.

• County Clerk Carol Bennett also said that the county received a final payment of $163,018.49 from the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) from the May 2009 flood disaster.

• The commission approved an emergency management preparedness grant request for reimbursement in the amount of $4,835.

• The commission also discussed with Sheran Ashby quotes from health insurance companies regarding coverage of county employees next year. Ashby and the commission will talk with county department heads more about health insurance at the commission’s meeting Thursday.

• The commission received a copy of a letter sent to Eula Mae Huskey, of Newburg, regarding access to her land west of County Road 7420. According to a 2001 letter from Richard Elgin, the county highway engineer at the time, the county has and does maintain the road from Route T west about 1,100 feet to a sign that says “County Maintenance Ends.” No record conveyances to the county for the road could be located and the U.S. Forest Service reports that no special use permits have been issued to individuals for use of the road as it crosses their lands. Ron Heimbaugh, of Archer-Elgin, said he believes that letter still stands today and suggested Huskey contact an attorney.

• The public is invited to drop in for District Two Commissioner Bud Dean’s retirement celebration Tuesday, Dec. 18, from 1-3 p.m. at the county courthouse.