CHARLESTON -- Water for rural areas still tops the list of things needed by Mississippi County.
A public hearing required to apply for a Community Development Block Grant for Phase 2 of the Mississippi County Rural Water District No. 1 was held during the regular County Commission meeting Thursday.
Joe E. Lane, director of community planning for the Bootheel Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission at Malden, asked those attending the public hearing to fill out a needs assessment.
"There may be other needs the county needs to address," Lane said, offering as examples fire protection or ambulance districts.
"I think the rural water is the No. 1, otherwise we wouldn't all be here today," said Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg.
The second greatest need, according to the consensus among those at the public hearing, is for E-911 upgrades followed by the need for sewers in congested rural areas.
Fourth on the list is planning and zoning/code enforcement and fifth is the need for affordable housing.
Liz Long with Green and Associates, the engineering firm for the water district, said 730 residences were included in the water district's first phase which laid 195 miles of pipe.
"This is a continuation of Phase 1 going into Phase 2," she said.
The second phase will add 151 residences with just under 50 miles of pipe, according to Long.
Water bills in the rural water district are currently a minimum of $18 per month with an additional $4 per 1,000 gallons. With an average use of about 5,000 gallons, the average monthly bill is $34 per month.
The anticipated cost for the water district's second phase is $1.16 million. The water district is applying for $400,000 in CDBG funding. The project already has a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan of $648,000 and a RD grant of $84,200.
In other business during Thursday's meeting:
* Mississippi County Mass Transit is looking for support from the county on its application for a Community Development Grant, according to its director, Shirley Allen.
The grant is being sought to pay for the construction of a new facility, she explained.
The facility will need room for two offices, two handicapped-accessible restrooms, a meeting room, a small kitchen, a place to park the vans and a wash bay.
Allen also asked if the county could help with a piece of property, possibly at the county airport or the East Prairie Industrial Park.
"It doesn't matter where," she said. "It wouldn't matter if we had to move."
"We'll type up a letter of support for it," Blumenberg said.
* The Bootheel Solid Waste District will change its bylaws, according to Commissioner Martin Lucas.
Lucas said under the district's current bylaws, the executive director for the Bootheel Regional Planning Commission serves as chairman for the Bootheel Solid Waste District.
The current BRPC executive director, Steve Duke, resigned from the chairman position for the Bootheel Solid Waste District as he has a conflict and is unable to attend meetings, Lucas said.
The change in bylaws will allow someone else to fill the chairman position.
* The sheriff's department has been approved for a Local Law Enforcement Block/JAG grant, according to Blumenberg.
The department will receive $8,100 with a required local match of $900.
* Officials from the Mississippi County University Extension Council presented their annual report and a budget request of $32,000, the same amount budgeted for 2005.
* Cedar Brook Lane, the road for the new Turnbo Farms Development located off Miller Road north of East Prairie, was accepted by commissioners.