CHARLESTON - Mississippi County commissioners will have to move fast to follow through with their plan to purchase a mobile communication unit using the county's 2004 Homeland Security funds.
During the regular County Commission meeting Thursday, County Clerk Junior DeLay reminded commissioners the money must be spent by the end of October. "We have about $7,500 left," he said.
While the funds are allocated for the county, officials must submit a budget of cost estimates and justifications for the purchases, DeLay said. "The next cycle of grants will be competitive," he added.
Commissioners agreed to purchase and equip the communications trailer even if the county has to spend a few hundred dollars over what is covered by the Homeland Security allocation.
"I think we definitely need an emergency control center," Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said.
Blumenberg said a 16-foot trailer with a side and rear doors should cost about $3,000.
Equipping the trailer with heat, a generator and radio equipment should bring the cost up to around $7,500 or $8,000 he estimated.
In other business Thursday:
* The contract for mowing some county ditches was awarded to the sole bidder, Duty and Kestner of Benton, which offered to do the work for $34,850.
The vendor will subcontract the work to Paul Benson of East Prairie.
The areas to be mowed include about 11 miles 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.
Commissioners agreed that despite it being the sole bid and the high fuel prices, the bid was still fairly reasonable.
* The Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center has been tentatively awarded a 2005 Title V Juvenile Justice Grant of $100,000, according to a letter from the Missouri Department of Public Safety.
DeLay said the Center applied for $101,000 for the juvenile delinquency prevention grant.
* Commissioners discussed loose ends to tie up for the blacktopping season which has come to a close too soon to complete some planned hotmix overlays.
"We lost the heat," said Commissioner Martin Lucas.
Commissioners agreed an experiment using layered chip-and-seal blacktop turned out some good results.
Lucas suggested using chip-and-seal on the Oak Grove Cemetery's roads. "I'm just thinking about making it a little better," he said.
* DeLay summed up the audit exit conference by Brown and Thomas CPAs with two words: "clean audit."
He explained this was a "limited scope audit" that only included the county clerk, treasurer, and health department that was mandated by the Single Audit Act because the county received more than $500,000 in federal funds during 2004.
"And we will probably be doing it again next year," DeLay added.
Auditors were only on site at the courthouse for about four days and one or two days at the health department, DeLay said, as compared with state auditors who were at the courthouse for around six months for their full-
This audit report included no findings, according to DeLay.
There was a recommendation not included in the report: auditors suggested the county develop an accounting procedures manual in case regular personnel are indisposed or to serve as a training aid for new office holders.