BENTON - Scott County commissioners signed an agreement Tuesday with the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, clearing the way for the St. John's Ditch cleanout.
Darin Gant and Brian LeGrand from the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service explained the agreement specifies how the project will be completed, why the NRCS is able to provide funding and the portions of cost for the NRCS and local sponsors.
The project will remove about 2.5 feet of sediment along with woody and foreign debris from the St. John's channel starting at Scott County Highway 450 on the ditch's north end and extending south roughly to Sikeston's southern city limits.
Both commissioners and NRCS officials reported receiving numerous phone calls about the project. Gant said the NRCS has about 20-25 contractors on a list they routinely send bid packets out to.
Gant said the project's contract must be awarded by June 23 or the NRCS will no longer be able to obligate the funds.
The contractor will then start within seven days of the contract award and must finish by the end of the year
LeGrand said the contractor should be moving equipment to the site by the first week of July.
In other business during Tuesday's meeting:
* G&D Communications entered the only bids for items from the old jail before it is torn down, offering $30 for the kitchen stove and as $15 bid for a gun safe. Commissioners accepted both bids.
Demolition of the jail by Penzel Construction starts Monday, according to commissioners.
* The county's road and bridge department will try a new schedule for daylight saving time.
Harlan Duncan, road and bridge department supervisor, said his department will be changing to four 10-hour shifts. The department will be closed on Fridays unless a holiday occurs during that week in which case they will be closed on that day instead. Their work day will begin at 6 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m.
"We felt like we'd be more efficient," said Commissioner Jamie Burger, explaining crews could get the equipment set up early and then work longer shifts.
Crews will also be able to take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures, he added.
* Commissioners issued an order that states before an electric utility company may construct a new electric service anywhere in the unincorporated areas of the county, the person building the structure must obtain an approval permit from the Scott County floodplain coordinator.
This in order to help protect the citizens from the consequences of building a structure in the floodplain, according to commissioners. "It's so much easier to get it done before," said Martin Priggel, presiding commissioner.
Officials reported only three homes in Scott County remain in violation of the county floodplain ordinance, all of which have basements not in compliance with the ordinance.
* Scott County Economic Developer Jim Schwaninger updated commissioners on the Bootheel Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission meeting he attended recently.
During the meeting, Mike Dumey, BRPC executive director, said they will discontinue some project areas that are losing money, according to Schwaninger.
Schwaninger also said the renovated Sikeston Outlet Mall will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Friday.
* A meeting for the new drainage district proposed for the east side of the county is scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday in the county commission room at the courthouse.