CHARLESTON -- Mississippi County's Senate Bill 40 board should begin looking into building a home for the county's handicapped.
Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said during the regular County Commission meeting Thursday that he may attend the next SB-40 board meeting and suggest they buy some property.
Blumenberg said he thinks the SB-40 board, which administers the Sheltered Workshop Fund, should keep their reserve funds for construction of a home for the physical and mentally handicapped in the future while using annual revenue to support programs.
"Whatever they take in, spend it," he said.
Commissioners agreed the SB-40 board could renovate an existing building or put up a metal building similar to the recently-built community building in East Prairie.
"They don't have to build a Taj Mahal," Commissioner Homer Oliver said.
As physical and mentally handicapped residents often receive a check from Medicaid or other agencies, a portion of that money could go to the home to help with operating expenses, commissioners said.
Some of the handicapped in the county that are unable to care for themselves are now 40-50 years old and their caretaker parents may pass away soon.
"They're not kids -- these are people, grown-ups," Blumenberg said.
Blumenberg said he received letters from Christy Story of East Prairie, Carolyn Henry of East Prairie, and Misty Smith of Charleston expressing interest in serving on the SB-40 board.
"She's very sharp," Blumenberg said of Smith.
"These people are dedicated and interested," said Commissioner Martin Lucas.
Commissioners selected Story to fill the unexpired term of Don Moxley who resigned from the position during the SB-40 board's last meeting in May. The term ends in 2007.
"Don Moxley had been there since it started," Blumenberg noted.
Commissioners will ask Dick Brown and Deema Atteberry if they are still interested in serving on the board as their terms end this year.
"Terms expire July 31," County Clerk Junior DeLay said.
Commissioners also re-appointed Lesli Marcum to a full term on the SB-40 board. "She just went on two or three months ago," Blumenberg said.
Marcum went on the board to replace Story who had previously served on the SB-40 board but had resigned due to what she believed was a conflict of interest as she was employed by the state at that time, Blumenberg said.
Blumenberg also said he agrees with county residents who said the Community Sheltered Workshop in Sikeston should submit a budget to the Mississippi County SB-40 board.
The SB-40 board, which decided to meet quarterly, will hold its next meeting in July.
In other business Thursday:
* Lucas said he received a complaint regarding junk house trailers on Highway JJ.
There are reportedly three trailers there already. "He said they're moving a fourth one in," Lucas said.
Oliver said he recalls someone first moved a trailer there to live in but it burned.
Blumenberg said if the trailers are not in livable condition, they are junk, no different than a junk washer or dryer unit.
"If it's trash, it's trash," he said.
Lucas also advised commissioners of another resident who has purchased 20 acres to open a salvage yard.
* The price on oil used for cold-mix asphalt has gone up 40 cents, according to Blumenberg, rising from $1.34 last year to $1.74 for this year's blacktopping season.
He estimated this will mean the oil cost will be $9,000 for six-tenths of a mile.
As the county only has $65,000 for materials in the blacktop budget, "make a few adjustments is all we can do," Blumenberg said.
"You can only do what you can do," Oliver agreed.
DeLay said the road and bridge department has operated on the same budget amount for eight or nine years.
One way to save money, commissioners agreed, is to not grade gravel roads just because grass grows up in the middle.
"What's the grass hurt?" Lucas asked. He said the grass will eventually die from the heat and blow away anyway.
Blumenberg said road graders burn about $75 per day in fuel.
He said another way to stretch the road and bridge department budget would be to cut 2-inch blacktop caps down to one inch.
Oliver also advised he received a request asking if County Highway 220 could be graded weekly during the potato harvest.