CHARLESTON - Voters in the Mississippi County R-2 school district will have a new polling place from now on.
County Clerk Junior DeLay advised county commissioners during their regular meeting Thursday that the move for the R-2 district from the Anniston to rural East Prairie polling place will be in effect for the next election in the county.
A total of about 20 registered voters will have their polling location changed as a result. Almost all of those to be affected live along the west side of State Highway 105, according to DeLay. "They're all in the St. James Township," he said.
The change should eliminate confusion at the Anniston polls, according to DeLay, as only R-1 district ballots will be available there now.
DeLay said he had advised voters of the possible change in advance. "All the responses we got were positive," he said.
The change will also have a small effect on the ambulance districts as the area in question will become part of district 3 instead of district 2.
In other Mississippi County news:
* Liz Anderson, Mississippi County Historical Society Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Committee member, reported that columns from the old county courthouse donated to the historical society for use as part of a Lewis and Clark Bicentennial visitor's center at Whipple Park have been placed.
"They got them up in one day," said Anderson, "and they look gorgeous."
The society will still need to place interpretative panels between the columns by Nov. 16 when a celebration of Lewis and Clark's journey and their first steps west of the Mississippi is scheduled.
Anderson said there is also a big, black granite slab with a map carved into it which marks the explorers' route.
* Commissioners accepted the low bid of $20,188 for a 80-horsepower brush-chipper from Vermere in Chesterfield.
Also bidding was Luby of Fenton which offered a 110-horsepower model for $24,000.
Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg predicted the machine will provide years of service for the county.
* A lot purchased for future county jail expansion does not have to be rezoned, according to Charleston city attorney Michael O'Rourke.
O'Rourke explained in a letter reviewed by commissioners during their meeting that the present zoning of R-2 (multi-family residential) also allows for public buildings.
Commissioners arranged the purchase of the property near the jail from Tommy Butler for $9,000 to allow room for an expansion of the Mississippi County Detention Center.
Also discussed were options for tearing down the structure and clearing the lot.
* Talk of the economy turning around appears to be more than just talk. DeLay reported third quarter sales tax receipts are up to $108,850 per half-cent, up 7 percent from the second quarter's $101,759. The first quarter brought in about $90,000.
"Year to date, we're down about five percent from last year," DeLay said. If the trend continues, the county will bring in more revenue than budgeted for, but will still finish below last year's receipts, he added.
Officials budgeted for a 15-percent drop in tax revenues for this year from last year.
* Lynn Bruce of Charleston was appointed one of the county's two representatives on a Tax Increment Financing board forming for a project which will create an outer road north of Interstate 57 between Charleston's two interstate exits and for renovations in the shopping center formerly occupied by Wal-Mart.
Commissioners need to select one more representative, DeLay advised.
* State officials will get an additional paid holiday this year.
DeLay said he received an e-mail advising Gov. Bob Holden had signed an executive order authorizing paid holidays for Nov. 28 and Dec. 26, the Fridays following Thanksgiving and Christmas.
While not on the list of scheduled holidays, the day following Thanksgiving was expected, according to DeLay: "He does it every year."
* Commissioners agreed to close the southern 600 or 700 feet of County Road 519 as requested by landowners in that area. The stretch of road in question goes over the levee and dead-ends in a field, according to officials.
"The main thing is to keep the junk and litter down," Blumenberg said, as well as to keep people out of the farm fields, he added.
With the road's closing, the landowners will be permitted to erect a gate across the road and a fence to keep trespassers out.