CHARLESTON -- Mississippi County commissioners are happy with their local university extension office but welcomed the opportunity to pick a former county commissioner's brain.
Tony DeLong, county council coordinator for the University of Missouri Extension program, met with Mississippi County commissioners during their regular meeting Thursday.
DeLong, who was formerly a county commissioner in Stone County for 10 years, said he visits county commissions around the state to thank them for supporting their local extension offices "and ask you, What we can do to help?"
His job with the extension program is "supporting our stakeholders," DeLong said, by primarily working with county commissions.
Commissioner Homer Oliver said they are happy with their local extension office. "We're well satisfied with them and glad we can support them," he said.
"We're really pleased with our extension - they do a real good job," agreed Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg.
Statewide, extension offices have seen a 2-percent increase in money from county commissions, DeLong said, despite economic challenges.
Commissioners asked DeLong several questions about Stone County which is located in southwest Missouri near Branson.
"Our revenue comes from the tourists," DeLong said. "Seventy-five percent of our sales tax revenue comes from tourists."
Commissioners asked about Stone County's roads, noting their road and bridge budget has remained the same for the past seven or eight years.
DeLong said when he was commissioner, $8 million of the county's $12 million budget was dedicated to roads and bridges.
He said his county brings in $2.1 million per half-cent in sales tax.
Commissioners also asked about Stone County's experience with chip-and-
DeLong said his road and bridge department was using quarter-inch clean limestone gravel.
"We were putting a double coat of chip-and-seal on," he said, adding that they start with a rock base first.
Oliver said blacktop on sand or in the hills does a lot better than on the "gumbo" soil found in many places around Mississippi County.
DeLong said Stone County has been experiencing 6 to 7 percent growth in population per year.
"Most of it's in the rural areas," he said.
DeLong suggested the county consider getting assistance from the extension in "community futuring" which Stone County used to focus on getting businesses to come to the county, encouraging residents to shop locally, and seeking businesses to provide specific goods and services needed in the county.
"We did three of them," DeLong said, during which the county redefined itself from an industrial to more of an arts and crafts focus.
In other business, Oliver said County Road 219, also known as Possum Island Road, will need overlays on two stretches in addition to some patching due to the road's rough surface.
"It's the whole width of the road," Oliver said. "Just bad rough."
Blumenberg said they need to get ready to start blacktopping activities as the 65-70 degree weather will change to 85-90 degree weather in a couple of weeks.
Commissioners also discussed doing asphalt work on County Road 304, also known as the Port Authority Road.
Commissioner Martin Lucas said the hot mix asphalt there is 16 years old.