CHARLESTON - A mobile unit may ensure Mississippi County officials have communications in the event of a natural disaster.
Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg presented the idea for a mobile communication unit during the regular County Commission meeting Thursday.
Blumenberg suggested a couple CBs, some decent radios, a good antenna and batteries could all be obtained for about $2,500. He said county resident Charles Telker had expressed an interest in setting it up for the county. "He's just a concerned citizen who is good with radios," Blumenberg said.
County Clerk Junior DeLay said there are still 2004 Homeland Security funds available for Mississippi County. "There's at least $3,000 to $4,000," he said, adding it could be as much as $6,000 to $7,000. "We've got until November to spend the money - time's running out."
Blumenberg first suggested converting an old ambulance, but soon agreed with the opinion that a single-axle enclosed trailer would be the best platform for the equipment.
Earlier in the meeting, commissioners had discussed communication difficulties in Gulf states hit by Hurricane Katrina and the possibility of facing a similar crisis here in the event of an earthquake.
Commissioner Homer Oliver said the mobile communication unit may even prove useful in a storm or after a tornado. "It doesn't have to be an earthquake," he said.
In other business Thursday:
* Property tax rates for 2005 were set by commissioners after a public hearing with no comments from the public.
General revenue was set at .3002 per $100 assessed value which is .0039 higher than last year. Rates for road and bridge and Johnson grass remained unchanged at .35 and .05 respectively.
* Blumenberg said he was asked by the auditor if he thinks there are any crooks working for the county.
"I guess they're all honest - I hope they are," Blumenberg said of the county's employees.
DeLay said according to a recent ruling, office holders can set their own personnel policies.
* Commissioner Martin Lucas proposed finishing the asphalt overlay project on County Line Road and then stopping.
"I want to see how this money situation goes," he said.
Lucas suggested an aggressive pothole patching program as an alternative.
* The county will not pave Belmont Road even if it is paid for by private interests.
County officials previously agreed to accept the road and put gravel on it to keep Missouri jobs from going to Kentucky, commissioners explained. The road is used by Fitzgerald Marine, a fleeting service.
But being right alongside the river, it is likely to get washed out regularly. "We can't maintain it as an asphalt road," Lucas said.
The only way the county would agree to lay asphalt on the road - even if it is paid for privately - is if it becomes a private road and is no longer the county's to maintain, commissioners agreed.
* The county will re-solicit for bids on about 11 miles of mowing on the south end of Ditch 14 and its laterals; five miles on Ditch 3 from Highway 60 to the county line; one mile of thick growth on Ditch 23 from Ironbanks Road to Samos Road; and 2.5 miles east of the Setback Levee on Ditch 25.
During the previous solicitation for bids, no bids were received as all mowers in the area were busy on other projects, according to commissioners.
"We'll get some bids this time," Lucas promised, although he added they might put off the work until fuel prices drop some.
* Blumenberg said county law enforcement officials will be expected to stay within their budget next year, but he understands how this year's budget was strained by unpaid bills from previous administration
As for the rest of this year, "we'll just tough it the best we can," Blumenberg said.
* The road and bridge department has already spent $5,100 of their $6,000 budgeted for utilities, according to Blumenberg. Last year, utilities totaled $5,800.
DeLay said a small part of that can be attributed to paying for water.
* Commissioners will contact Richard Griggs of Charleston to rewax the courthouse's floors which, commissioners agreed, is long overdue.