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Formation of water district reviewed

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

BENTON - The Scott County Commission is taking steps toward the formation of a rural water district for the county.

John Chittenden of Waters Engineering Inc. in Sikeston met with county commissioners during their regular meeting Tuesday and provided information on how to proceed with the formation of a rural water district.

"I think it's a worthy project," Chittenden said. "I'd be really proud to be associated with it.

Waters Engineering has provided design engineering services for all existing water districts in the county as well as for Sikeston, Miner, Morley, Oran, Vanduser, Blodgett and Haywood City.

Chittenden and commissioners agreed the meeting scheduled for noon Oct. 30 at the SEMO Port offices with mayors and school superintendents from around the county would be a great opportunity to present the idea to community leaders in the county and to seek candidates for a steering committee. "Public interest will be an important factor," Chittenden said.

This preliminary planning stage will be followed by an application for a Community Development Block Grant to fund a feasibility study.

With rural water districts, "almost universally, the bigger it is the better it is," Chittenden said.

With the potential for around 5,000 customers, a Scott County rural water district could end up being "one of the biggest water districts in the state," he said.

Scott County presently has three rural water districts: one in the Westview area; one in Mini Farms; and the third east of St. John's Ditch. All three are "relatively small" districts, Chittenden said, and purchase their water from Sikeston.

The project would probably be funded with grants and revenue bonds which would paid off using only money generated by the water district, according to Chittenden.

"If you are a water customer, you pay for the bond issue. If not, you don't," he said. "Most of the water districts in this region are paying $30 (per month) on average usage."

Joining the water district would be voluntary.

In other Scott County business:

* Commissioners approved a contract with Lambert Engineering and Surveying of Sikeston for design work on a project which will pave County Road 266 located roughly between Oran and Chaffee, connecting Highway P at Perkins with Highway 77.

The county was approved for $127,500 in Delta Regional Authority funding with the project's total cost estimated at $267,750.

Approximately one mile of old pavement and 4.1 miles of gravel road will be repaved.

"I think the drainage will also have to be improved," Commissioner Jamie Burger said.

Commissioners met with Norman Lambert of Lambert Engineering and Surveying following their meeting to inspect the site.

* The insurance provider for county vehicles has asked the county to hold periodic meetings during which safety awareness is discussed and to provide documentation of such meetings.

"It was something we've really been doing in the past, anyway," said Burger. Honoring the request will simply be a matter for forwarding documentation to the insurance company, he said.

* Heather Houseworth, vice president of marketing for and owner of Marceline Mapping in Marceline, discussed prices with commissioners for both folding road maps and 2004 plat books.

Houseworth offered to produce a four-color, wire-bound plat book which has road maps on left-hand pages in addition to plat information on right-hand pages.

The old plat books were black and white and did not include a road directory.

"This is a good community service project," Houseworth advised.

The county will advertise for bids to provide maps before commissioners finalize their decision.

* The new heating and cooling system for Circuit Court Judge David A. Dolan's offices on the courthouse's second floor is fully operational, according to commissioners.