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George is reappointed to port authority board

Friday, July 12, 2002

CHARLESTON - Kenny George was reappointed to a fourth term on the Mississippi County Port Authority Board during Thursday's county commission meeting.

Port authority board terms run for three years.

George, who is serving as the board's chairman, said the port authority has several projects pending that he would like to see through. "I'm going to go as long as I feel like messing with it and as long as you'll have me," he said.

After confirming he was willing to continue serving on the board, George recommended Robert Carman of Charleston to replace Don French, also of Charleston, who is ready to get off the port authority board after serving six years. "He really didn't want that second term," said Commissioner Martin Lucas.

George also updated commissioners on the purchase of a new tow boat for the Dorena Hickman Ferry.

Officials are anticipating a much better response to their second request for proposals to build a new tow boat, according to George. No bids were submitted following the first request for proposals.

The deadline for this round of bids is Aug. 15.

"This boat we have now is just too light," said George. "We're going with a bigger boat with more 'horse.'"

The current tow boat, which was purchased for $265,000 when the ferry operation was revived in May 1999, has approximately 13,000 hours on its two engines but the motors have as yet never required an overhaul.

George confirmed the new boat will also have two motors. "I wouldn't vote on a boat with one motor," said George. "Our number-one concern is safety first."

George advised commissioners that the bids to construct a 40-foot concrete extension for the ferry's landing ramp are due Aug. 8.

George said efforts to get some financial support from the state of Tennessee don't look hopeful given their budget problems, but noted signs had been placed along Tennessee highways directing motorists to the ferry. "They put them up but we had to pay for them," George said.

"Three out of four cars are going to Reelfoot Lake (in Tennessee)," he estimated.

In other Mississippi County business:

* Commissioners reviewed a letter from Shanon M. Hawk, a legislative assistant for the Bryan Cave law firm in Jefferson City, advising his firm is putting together a coalition of southeast Missouri cities and counties to form a tax-exempt corporation.

The coalition would lobby the legislature "to promote the interests of the people in Southeast Missouri."

Participants would pay annual dues based on population.

* The county's Federal Emergency Management Agency inspection for flood damage to public facilities for disaster recovery assistance began Tuesday, according to officials.

* Layton Pickard of Charleston and Millie Wallhausen of East Prairie were appointed to the Senate Bill 40 board for three-year terms.

* Commissioners estimated the annual impact of the reduction in the state reimbursement for prisoners held in the county jail and then sent off to the Missouri Department of Corrections from $22.50 to $20 could be as high as $20,000.

The reimbursement reduction became effective July 1, according to county officials.

* Commissioners approved the assessor's participation in the annual Missouri Mappers' Convention.