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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Use of federal seizure money is discussed by commission

Friday, December 26, 2003

(Photo)
Austin Uhrhan, pictured with Scott County commissioners Jamie Burger, Martin Priggel and Walter Bizzell, stands before the results of his restoration project.
BENTON - Scott County commissioners will "need a bit more clarification" on how federal seizure money can be used.

Commissioners said during their regular meeting Tuesday that they hoped to see televisions for jail pods to be paid for with seizure money. Officials reported there is about $20,000 in the seizure fund left.

"We can't pay for those with federal seizure money," said Capt. Jerry Bledsoe of the Sheriff's Department. "We've got a set of guidelines on what we can and can not spend it on."

Commissioners were under the impression seizure money could be spent on "anything for law enforcement," Presiding Commissioners Martin Priggel said, "but we don't want to do anything that's not right."

"Is TVs in a jail 'law enforcement?'" Bledsoe asked, adding that he thought of television as "more of a privilege-type deal, not something they have to have."

Televisions at the jail will enable the Ministerial Alliance to show Sunday services in all seven pods using one DVD or VCR player, according to Capt. Jim Chambers, jail administrator. "We can pipe it in all day, an hour, two hours at a time."

Television also pacifies prisoners as they tend to become more destructive when they have nothing to do, Chambers said: "The sewers get all clogged up."

"There's dos and don'ts on what you can do," Bledsoe said regarding the seizure money. "I'll bring a copy of it over so you can read it."

In other Scott County news:

* Sikeston can expect a check of about $20,000 due to the bid for the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service-funded clean out of the St. John's Ditch coming in at less than the projected cost. Roughly $75,000 for the project from Sikeston was placed in an escrow account prior to the project being bid out. "The city's going to get some money back," said Priggel.

Priggel said the project was "a good deal for Sikeston and the county."

The local cost was divided proportionally according to the length of the ditch in the city or county, with the city paying 60 percent and the county 40 percent of the local match funding.

* Commissioners looked over the restored World War I memorial in front of the courthouse along with Austin Uhrhan who completed the restoration as an Eagle Scout project.

The memorial includes the names of county residents who served in the war.

Uhrhan said the monument's base was chipped and weathered. "It had a lot of water damage," he said, "so we patched that."

Missing mortar was also replaced between joints. "Then we bleached it and painted it with a sealer," Uhrhan said.

Commissioner Jamie Burger said commissioners hope to see additional Eagle Scout projects expand the memorial to add the names of county veterans of World War II and the Vietnam War.

Burger said he would also like to see the memorial's water fountains fixed.

* Commissioners reviewed 2003 third quarter economic indicators presented by County Economic Developer Jim Schwaninger which show growth is slightly up for the county.

Growth in Scott County's retail sales were above average for southeast Missouri at .97 percent, surpassed slightly by New Madrid's 1.04 percent, according to Schwaninger.

* Judge David Dolan reported the county was approved for $6,092.50 in grant funds for a wireless security system at the courthouse.

The Office of the Court Administrator will cover 100 percent of the cost for courtrooms and courts-related facilities but the county will have to pay for the cost of installing the system in other county offices.

* Service agreements for the county's elevators and backup power generators were discussed.