CHARLESTON -- Incoming associate county commissioners in Mississippi County will face an even bigger challenge in maintaining county roads than the current Commission when they take office this January.
During their regular weekly County Commission meeting Thursday, Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said that while county sales tax receipts are up 7 percent as compared with last year, County Aid Road Trust Fund distribution funds are down 10.5 percent. CART funds from the state's motor fuel tax are distributed to counties based on road mileage and land valuations.
Blumenberg said the state is now holding back 25 percent of the 3-percent cost of collection.
"They have never charged administrative fees," County Clerk Junior DeLay said.
Additionally, the state is deducting over a 32 month-period reimbursement for collection costs going back to Fiscal Year 2006.
DeLay said the county received about $412,000 in CART funds last year.
With the collection costs and reimbursement deductions, the county's CART funds will be down about 17 percent for the year as compared with last year for a total of about $350,000, Blumenberg predicted.
Blumenberg said commissioners have expressed concerns for several years about road and bridge revenue not increasing over the last seven years while costs keep increasing.
"I can't see fuel going down," Commissioner Homer Oliver said.
Now, Blumenberg said, the county is facing a decrease in road and bridge revenue.
"People get tired of hearing this, but the road and bridge department can't continue to operate without money," Blumenberg said. "I get complaints every day about the roads. If you don't have the money out there, you can't fix them."
He said the county should begin requiring all new blacktop put in by developers or citizens that the county will have to maintain to be hot mix asphalt and comply with county specifications so there will be a longer period of time before the road needs maintenance.
Blumenberg said the county road and bridge department also needs to add a grader operator and a heavy equipment operator next year.
"We have some (road) problems we need to have addressed," he said.
With 360 miles of gravel roads to maintain, the county needs to have road graders running every day, Blumenberg said.
Commissioner Martin Lucas recalled the county used to run four motor graders.
"Road and bridge is going to get tight," Blumenberg said. "Everything is going to get tight, but road and bridge is going to get really tight."
Blumenberg said the road and bridge department will probably need about $130,000 to $150,000 in transfers from the general revenue fund next year.
In other business:
* Blumenberg said the county received its 18-foot emergency supplies trailer from Homeland Security Tuesday at the road and bridge department complex.
"It's a super-nice enclosed trailer," Blumenberg said, that is "cram packed" with supplies such as cots, a generator, water, blankets and medical supplies.
"There's a lot of supplies in it," Blumenberg said. "We need the inventory list before we even open it."
He said the trailer needs to be moved to the county airport where the county's emergency communications trailer is kept.
Blumenberg also recommended they "leave the trailer intact" so in the event of an emergency the supplies can immediately be taken to the site of the emergency.
"It's a good deal," Oliver said.
Danny Harris, county emergency management director, will be in charge of the trailer, Blumenberg said.
* Commissioners approved the destruction of old records from Collector of Revenue Faye P. Elliott' office.
There is a records retention schedule with requirements for keeping records, DeLay said, with "different schedules for different records."