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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • County retracts obligating BRO funds for bridge

  • Phelps County Commissioners at their Thursday morning meeting approved a motion to retract a previous request they made to obligate Bridge Replacement Off-System (BRO) funds for a bridge on County Road 3620 east of St. James.
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  • Phelps County Commissioners at their Thursday morning meeting approved a motion to retract a previous request they made to obligate Bridge Replacement Off-System (BRO) funds for a bridge on County Road 3620 east of St. James.
    Presiding Commissioner Randy Verkamp said he talked with Jenni Jones, of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) earlier this week and Jones recommended the county back off their request because of a concern about meeting certain deadlines.
    The commissioners approved the motion to no obligate their BRO funds for a proposed project to replace or repair a low-water crossing over a branch of the Dry Fork Creek on County Road 3620, just east of Private Drive 3625.
    The existing span has been plugged up with rocks, but commissioners say water still tops the crossing almost every time it rains.
    However, the county still plans to move forward with applying for BEAP (Bridge Engineering Assistance Program) funds for that crossing.
    At Tuesday’s commission meeting, commissioners agreed to use Burns & McDonnell, of Kansas City, when applying for the BEAP money. It was noted there were no local consultants on a list approved by the MoDOT that commissioners could select.
    However, Verkamp was told that BEAP funds would not be available until July 1. If the county’s application is approved, Burns & McDonnell would recommend the low-water crossing be repaired or suggest a replacement structure with an estimated cost.
    Verkamp said he would like to see a replacement structure designed and engineered that could be used for small low-water crossings across the county, a “cookie-cutter” plan.
    District Two Commissioner Gary Hicks said he can’t travel very far in the county without crossing a wet or dry creek bed. “And when they top (from flooding), they erode the driving surface,” Hicks added.
    District One Commissioner Larry Stratman said if a replacement structure can be found that can be used around the county that is not “terribly costly,” then he would like to see a line item placed in each year’s budget that possibly the county highway department can install.
    Several counties have been told that they cannot use county employees on bridge replacement projects that use federal funds.
    In other business
    Also at Thursday’s meeting, the commission by a 3-0 vote approved a contract with Newburg for the county collector’s office to take over handling property and real estate taxes collections for Newburg.
    Under the agreement, Newburg would pay the collector’s office 2 percent of the total amount of property and real estate taxes that the county collects for Newburg. The agreement runs through the end of February 2014 and can be renewed each year.
    Page 2 of 2 - The agreement also states that Newburg residents’ taxes will be due on Dec. 31, about a month earlier than usual. That will take effect this year.
    The Newburg Board of Aldermen approved the contract at its June 11 meeting. Since 2004, the county has collected city property and real estate taxes for both Rolla and St. James.
    In addition, it was noted that recent thefts of fuel, tires and a pump from the Phelps County Highway Department shed in Rolla will be covered by the county’s insurance. Rolla police are investigating the thefts.
    The commissioners also received the 2012 audit of the Phelps County Emergency Services Board, a report from the June 10 MU Extension Council meeting and an agenda for the June 25 meeting of the Rolla Development Review Committee.
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