Phelps County Commissioners are discussing possible options for replacing private drive signs throughout the county.

Phelps County Commissioners are discussing possible options for replacing private drive signs throughout the county.

The issue was initially raised at the March 14 Phelps County Emergency Services Board (PCESB) meeting when some board members disagreed with District One Commissioner Larry Stratman about who is responsible for replacing such signs.

While Stratman and Presiding Commissioner Randy Verkamp have talked with some of the PCESB members since that meeting, the commission has made no decision about the signs. The next PCESB meeting is April 11 and the issue will likely be an item on the agenda then.

At the March meeting, PCESB treasurer Buz Harvey said that the PCESB is “not in the sign business.”

Stratman told the PCESB at its March meeting that the commission would like to get the signs produced and have the county road department install the signs. “And then at the end of the month, we send a bill to this body (PCESB),” Stratman said.

“We’re not going to pay that bill,” PCESB Chair Paul Rueff replied at the March meeting.

Verkamp said he feels the county set a precedent by putting the private drive signs up initially.

Verkamp said his idea is to have the county road department put up the signs and send a bill, possibly on a quarterly basis, to the PCESB. Verkamp said the board may be surprised how much the bill turns out to be.

He said the county road department could keep track of the costs of putting up private drive signs. “We are capable of doing it,” Verkamp said of the county road department. “It’s most logical that the county do it and reimburse the road department for the sign.”

Last week, Stratman suggested charging 55 cents per mile, plus $25 per hour for driving and installing the signs for a maximum of two hours plus the cost of the sign.

It was noted that the private drive signs could be replaced as the county replaces the green county road signs in the same area. It was suggested that the Sheltered Workshop could make the signs and that the county road department would pick up the signs and then install them.

Stratman said he believes most of the private drive signs are near Rolla and would not be far to travel to if they need to be replaced.

Verkamp said by having the county road department install the signs, “it’s a big advantage to the citizens because it will be one place where the citizens can call.”

The issue of replacing private drive signs was brought to the attention of the county commission and PCESB after a county resident was reportedly “bounced around” to several different offices after she asked how to go about replacing a private drive sign at the end of her road.

“I don’t want to put anyone else through that,” District Two Commissioner Gary Hicks said. Verkamp called the situation “most embarrassing.”

In other business

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Verkamp said the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) informed him that Bridge Replacement Off-System (BRO) funds could be used on low-water crossings as long as replacement structures meet certain specifications. The commission agreed to begin obtaining updated traffic counts on certain eligible bridges and low-water crossings.

Stratman said traffic counts and safety should be considered in prioritizing bridge projects as well as the impact it would cause if a bridge were to be closed.

Stratman also said he was concerned that if the county spends all of its BRO funds on low-water crossings, while that could potentially affect more people and more areas, he worried about how to fund larger bridge replacement projects.

n The commission also approved traffic control measures at the intersection of College Hills and Stoltz drives.

Stratman recommended placing a stop sign on westbound College Hills Drive at the intersection and a yield sign on eastbound College Hills Drive at the intersection, meaning northbound traffic on Stoltz Drive would have the right-of-way. This would be similar to the intersection of Salem Avenue and Sixth Street in Rolla, it was noted.

n The commission approved an amendment to the Show Me Health Women contract between the county health department and state department of health and senior services, which reduces the amount the county receives from $10,000 to $8,500 for the time between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013 for breast and cervical cancer screenings and diagnosis.