All three Phelps County Commissioners have signed a letter of support for a new health center to service south central Missouri.

The commissioner signed and approved sending the letter at Thursday morning’s meeting.

The letter, which will be sent to Amy Beechner McCarthy, chair of the South Central Missouri Community Health Center (SCMCHC) board, states that such a center will “provide a much needed medical home for the residents of Phelps and the surrounding counties.”

The letter notes that since 1997, the county’s health department has operated a primary clinic for low-income and uninsured residents of Phelps and surrounding counties.

The letter goes on to state that the clinic’s services have dwindled because of decreased revenues while residents’ needs have increased and that a “fully functional community health center will greatly improve our community’s ability to address rural health disparities.”

The letter also notes that much of south central Missouri has been designated a medically undeserved area.

The county health department’s administration has collaborated with the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) planning group to prepare a grant application and is also on the clinic’s board of directors.

In other business

Also at Thursday’s meeting, the commissioners discussed holding possibly one or two of their meetings in locations other than Rolla during April, which is National County Government Month. It was mentioned that the commission hold either an open house or an official meeting where county business would be conducted in St. James, Newburg, Doolittle and/or Edgar Springs. The meetings would likely be held at night since normal commission meetings are Tuesday and Thursday mornings. No official dates have been set yet.

County resident Lana VanDoren requested the county repair or replace a one-lane bridge on County Road 5180, located about 0.4 miles east of Highway 63, south of Rolla. She showed a picture of the bridge and said it gets “quite a bit of traffic” including trucks that use the crossing. The commission took no action on the request. Presiding Commissioner Randy Verkamp asked to find out if Bridge Replacement Off-System (BRO) funds could be used on low-water crossings such as the one on CR 5180 since counties are being asked to obligate their BRO funds.

March 19 meeting

At the commission’s March 19 meeting, the commission rejected the only bid received for a new contraband scope requested by the sheriff’s department. It was noted at the March 14 meeting that no bids had been received by the deadline, but a bid from Instrument Technology Inc. for $11,500 was received later on March 14. The sheriff’s office made a recommendation to decline the bid because of the cost.