New Madrid County election
NEW MADRID - Ballot boxes will be out Tuesday in several precincts in New Madrid County, however County Clerk Clement Cravens is projecting such a small turnout, he isn't even turning on the county's optical scan tabulation machines. The ballots will be hand-counted by election judges.
"The main reason is there will be a very low turn out and it is a much less expensive way to tabulate the vote," said Cravens. He explained optical scan ballots are much more expensive than the paper ballots which will be used.
A proposal to issue $1,250,000 in revenue bonds to provide improvements to the Lilbourn sewer and water system will be decided by the voters in Lilbourn.
The bonds will fund construction and improvements to the system along with equipment and maintenance. The bonds will be repaid through the system's operation.
Lilbourn Mayor Dale Ray said new regulations imposed on communities by the state and federal government have prompted the need to make improvements to Lilbourn's sewer system.
"There is no way we can meet these regulations without making a lot of improvements to the system," said Ray.
The work, estimated at costing $1.2 million will include de-sludging and improving the old sewage lagoon and building a new filtration unit. Water going through the filtration system will be chlorinated then de-chlorinated to comply with federal regulations before being returned to a local stream. Throughout the process, Ray said, the work will require numerous tests to ensure there is no contamination.
According to the mayor, Lilbourn is one of several communities facing such required improvements. "We've been fighting this for about two years, but we are down to the point that if we don't get it done we will be facing legal battles and could be fined," he said. "If we don't get this bond issue passed and show we are going to do something, we will be looking at a lot of legal issues in eight to 10 months."
He pointed out the board held three public hearings on the proposal. While some people came to the hearings with doubts, Ray said that after they heard from the engineers and the bonding company representatives, most were in agreement about the need for the work.
Ray said the cost of the project should be covered by the current sewer charges unless "maybe at later date we have a slight increase for inflationary costs."
The mayor noted the sewer improvements will go hand-in-hand with a recent $128,800 Delta Regional Authority grant received by Lilbourn to fund a new well for the water treatment plant.
On Tuesday, New Madrid residents will be asked to elect a municipal judge to fill an unexpired term through April 8. The opening came with the retirement of longtime Municipal Judge Bill Boyd, who was required by state law to step down after reaching age 75.
"Bill did a good job and the city was lucky to have someone to give as much of his time for as many years as he did," said City administrator John Gilbert.
With the retirement, the New Madrid Board of Aldermen amended the city ordinance requiring the position to be filled by a person who is a member of the Missouri Bar Association and making it an appointed position by the Board. Filing for the post was opened this fall and no one sought the job.
With no declared candidates and the vacancy following Boyd's mandatory retirement, Circuit Judge Fred Copeland appointed local attorney Amy Phillips to the position.
Public Water Supply District No. 4 in New Madrid County would like to issue waterworks system revenue bonds totaling $1,000,000 and the residents in the district will vote Tuesday on the proposal. The money would fund extending and improving the system as well as the operation and maintenance.
According to the District's attorney Hal E. Hunter IV, the district had earlier annexed an area and this vote will allow for the extension of services to homes there.
In Marston, voters are being asked to make the terms of the mayor and the board of aldermen four years long, as allowed by state law, instead of the current two-year terms.
The change, explained Marston Mayor Rebecca Redden, would save the city money by reducing the number of elections required. If approved, she added, the city will work with the Missouri Municipal League on finalizing the details of the changes.