Phelps County Commissioners don’t normally begin their meetings with a recital of the pledge of allegiance, but that may change — at least during one meeting held at the end of each month with county officials.

During Thursday morning’s meeting, District Two Commissioner Gary Hicks asked why the commission does not start its meetings by reciting the pledge.

The commission’s last two night meetings held in Doolittle April 9 and Edgar Springs April 16 began with reciting the pledge, but the pledge is not recited during regular Tuesday and Thursday morning commission meetings.

Presiding Commissioner Randy Verkamp noted that commission meetings are more informal than, for example, a city council meeting. The commission also meets twice a week, more often than other boards and councils.

District One Commissioner Larry Stratman said, “The feel of our meeting here is it’s more like if someone were to walk into our office.”

Stratman suggested that the pledge of allegiance be recited during the last Thursday meeting of each month, when county officials from around the courthouse attend.

While Hicks said he doesn’t feel a certain way about it, he said later, “I think we should be reasonably patriotic and need to demonstrate that.”

Stratman added, “It’s the reason for us being here.”

In other


Also at the April 18 meeting, County Surveyor Lou Gilbert told the commission that he had completed 15 corner remonumentations and said the county had agreed to contribute $100 for each corner while the state would reimburse $250 for each corner for up to 15 corners.

When Gilbert reminded the commission that he had submitted an invoice for the county’s share and paperwork for the state reimbursement to the county clerk’s office, the commissioners were made aware of a discrepancy in the county surveyor’s approved budget for 2013.

The approved budget states that the commission approved $550 for mileage expenses, $300 for office expenses and $250 for Board of Equalization pay. However, during discussion of the budget, the commissioner stated that those funds totaling $1,100, plus an additional $400, will go toward the county’s contribution to the corner remonumentations. A budget amendment will take place at a later date.

In addition, commissioners opened bids for new software for the county collector’s office. Only two bids were received — one from Tyler Technologies Onc. and the other from DEVNET, Inc. The bids were taken under advisement.

The commission approved a multi-jurisdictional agreement through Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) and the Meramec Community Enhancement Corporation (MCEC) for upgrades to low-income housing. The agreement, which totals $306,563, will help at least one home in each of MRPC’s eight counties.

Resident Gene Gaddy, who lives on Cedar Ridge Road off County Road 8130 west of Rolla, spoke to the commission and Road Superintendent Walter Snelson about his neighbor who has not been raking leaves, which Gaddy said has caused a nearby culvert to be plugged. That, in turn, is causing water to erode the roadbed, he said.

The commission’s Tuesday, April 23, meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at St. James City Hall for County Government Month.