CHARLESTON - Mississippi County commissioners may finally be able to do something about illegal dumping and animal control in the county.
During their regular meeting Thursday, commissioners reviewed a "MAC E-Mail" from Dick Burke, executive director of the Missouri Association of Counties, advising all county clerks that Gov. Bob Holden signed House Bill 795 into law July 2. This gives third-class counties the authority to adopt ordinances and resolutions.
According to MAC, the law extends to any county without a charter form of government the authority to make ordinances related to county roads, emergency management, nuisance abatement, storm water control, promotion of economic development for job creation purposes, parks and recreation, and protection of the environment from the risks posed by methamphetamine production.
The new law specifies that third-class counties can not enact ordinances regarding agricultural operations, although zoning ordinances are exempt from this subsection.
County Clerk Junior DeLay said an attorney should be involved in drafting county ordinances.
Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg suggested seeking advice from John Ballard, governmental law specialist, regarding making ordinance.
Blumenberg said illegal dumping and complaints about dogs are probably at the top of the list for issues to address with the new ordinance power.
"Honestly I think the biggest problem we have is with trash," Blumenberg said.
DeLay predicted the law will go into effect "probably Aug. 28."
In other Mississippi County news:
* Tuesday's storm dislodged shingles from the courthouse roof, DeLay said.
Materials for repairs are already on hand. "We've got several bundles of shingles left," he said.
The problem is finding someone to put them on, DeLay said.
Roofers called last year to replace a few shingles said they would come do the job but never showed up.
Blumenberg said most roofers are too busy to mess with small jobs. "It would be a courtesy if they did it for you," he said.
Smaller and independent roofers, on the other hand, probably don't have the required liability insurance.
DeLay said he would "pull the phone books again" and try to come up with someone to do the job.
The county will be able to put the county's limb grinder to work Monday on the main task it was purchased for: cleaning up the mess in Charleston left by a storm. "County road and bridge (crews) are not working this week - they're on vacation," Blumenberg said.
"This will be the first emergency use," said DeLay noted.
Homer Oliver, commissioner, said it would probably be better to bring the machine to limb piles and grind them on site rather than handling them twice.
* Commissioner Martin Lucas will contact Lloyd Smith, U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson's chief of staff, to see if the county's base flood plain elevation can be lowered.
"They have set the flood plain elevation artificially high," Lucas said. Unable to get flood plain permits, residents can't make additions.
DeLay said it has stopped all development in the spillway.
* Blumenberg said commissioners are starting meetings at 9 a.m., but advised they will only review and approve bills until about 9:25 a.m. when the commission will begin addressing all other business on the agenda.
He said the plan for commissioners to start reviewing and approving bills beginning at 8:30 a.m. was to make things convenient for the press, not to make a closed session for reviewing and paying bills.
* Commissioners agreed to begin the process of transferring money from the general revenue fund to the law enforcement fund.
DeLay said a transfer requires a budget amendment, which in turn requires a public meeting to be held after giving five days notice with advertisements.
Blumenberg suggested about $200,000 be put in a fund to allow the Detention Center to pay its bills on time as payments from the Immigration and Naturalization Service lag.
"May money came in this month," DeLay reported.
The county budget began the year with a $290,000 transfer from general revenue to the law enforcement fund, but the law enforcement fund has still been "perpetually running $100,000 in the red," DeLay said.
* Commissioners adopted the Hazard Mitigation Plan drafted by Bootheel Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission.
The plan is required to be eligible for FEMA disaster funds in the case of an emergency.
* Answering 3,000 questions to be eligible for Homeland Security grants just might not be worth it, commissioners agreed.
The questionnaire is about two inches thick as questions are enmeshed in definitions and detailed instructions on how to properly answer them.
* Commissioners approved travel expenses and lodging to bring a witness here from Chicago for a murder trial as requested by the county prosecutor.