(Photo by Scott Welton, Staff)
Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said during the regular county commission meeting Thursday that they owe Captain Steve Stanionis an apology for changing the fare during their June 19 meeting.
"He said it should have been brought to him first," Blumenberg said. "We should have contacted him."
During the previous county commission meeting, commissioners reduced the fare for motorcycles from $5 per crossing with no discount for round trips to $3 one way and $5 for a round trip after agreeing that, compared with fares for other vehicles, the motorcycle fare was too high. "They wanted to know why they couldn't get a break," Blumenberg said.
Blumenberg said he was under the impression rates were set by space usage, but Stanionis told him motorcycle fares are more than bicycles because "they've got more money."
Stanionis proposed offering a book of 10 tickets for $35, resulting in a cost of $3.50 each way or $7 for a round trip, according to Blumenberg, as a way of giving local taxpayers a break while still making money from all the motorcycle traffic passing through. "I can see tapping that revenue," said Blumenberg.
In related business, Port Authority Board member Liz Anderson reported the ferry's tugboat was having some transmission problems. "It's too light," she said.
The new tugboat is slated to be ready for service in mid August, according to Anderson.
In other Mississippi County Commission business:
* Commissioners approved another $1,325 worth of testing by Smith and Company to officially close the books on the in-ground fuel tanks removed from the county airport.
Correspondence was reviewed by commissioners from Smith and Company advising groundwater sample reports were submitted to the Department of Natural Resources, but "DNR is requiring some additional samples," according to County Clerk Junior DeLay.
DNR is asking for samples from both observation wells, incurring the additional cost.
* Commissioners reviewed correspondence from East Prairie City Administrator Kathie Simpkins to Tom DeHaven, environmental specialist for the Solid Waste Management Program, along with DeHaven's response regarding a tire dump located off Highway 105 on land owned by Cecil Hammontree.
Referring to a recent gasoline spill in which DNR took the site over, paid for the cleanup and will later attempt to collect from the land owner, Simpkins asked if DNR could classify the tires as an emergency and do the same, "Since the tires pose a health risk, especially with the presence of West Nile being found within birds in the county."
"The waste tire clean up offer that was made to Mr. Hammontree required him to pay 10 percent of the department's cost and provide the department legal access to perform the activity," DeHaven advised in his response. "Mr. Hammontree declined this offer for financial reasons and is now being referred to the Missouri Attorney General's office. The AGO will determine the future compliance strategy at this site."
Blumenberg said he had heard Hammontree's share of the cost was only $2,400 plus a fine.
* The latest bridge constructed from rail cars is finished but not blacktopped yet. Commissioner Martin Lucas described it as "the best one yet."
The bridge is located on County Road 208 north of Wilson City, crossing the Setback Ditch.
* The new plat books are available at the courthouse for $25.
The last time a plat book was produced for the county was in 1998, officials recalled.
"They're nice books, in color," said DeLay.
Commissioner Homer Oliver said the books are useful in many ways as they include every tract of land and every road in the county.
* Lucas said New Madrid County now has a flood elevation map overlay for their Geographic Information System and will soon be adding overlays showing all fire hydrants and man holes.
Midland GIS Solutions of Maryville is the GIS setup company for both New Madrid and Mississippi counties.
"New Madrid County is extremely pleased with what they've done so far," said Lucas. "It's not cheap but it's a super product."
Commissioners noted a nearby county that went with another vendor for their GIS is having all sorts of problems.
Officials are looking at adding Emergency 911 rural addressing data to the GIS system. "We'll have to upgrade the 911 computer, get a larger one," DeLay said.
* Blumenberg said the county has another problem at the Road and Bridge Department shed.
"We got a load of carpet dumped at the gate," Blumenberg said. "It's still illegal dumping."