By Scott Welton
CHARLESTON -- Mississippi County will resurface some more blacktop roads.
Commissioners agreed during their regular weekly meeting Thursday to get prices for 1-inch hot mix asphalt overlays on three county roads near East Prairie.
Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said he didn't realize how much blacktop on Clay Morgan Drive in the industrial park has deteriorated. There is a section about 700-800 feet long that needs an overlay, he said.
Blumenberg said he is also concerned about what another winter would do to a 300-foot-long section of Spanish Grant Road without an overlay this year.
The third overlay they will get a price on is a section on South Dutch Drive that is about 600-750 feet long. "I've been holding off on it because I live on it," Blumenberg said, "but that's not fair for my constituents."
Commissioners also discussed approving extra Saturday hours for two road and bridge workers so Richard Wallace, road and bridge superintendent, can train one to do cold mix asphalt overlays. The second worker will be needed to drive a truck for materials.
In other business Thursday:
* Commissioners are unsure what the impact on the county and other entities that receive sales tax will be from state legislation that goes into effect Thursday allowing farmers to have their local sales tax on farm diesel fuel refunded.
"I'd say that's got to be a big hit," said Commissioner Martin Lucas.
During last week's meeting, commissioners discussed how the county will receive less money from the County Aid Road Trust Fund for county roads. With this tax exemption further lowering revenue for the road and bridge department, Blumenberg discussed some comparative figures to illustrate his concern about funding for county road and bridge maintenance.
Revenue for the county's roads and bridges totaled just over $861,000 in 2001. He projected this year's revenue will be about $900,000.
Blumenberg then compared the costs for several types of gravel such as red clay gravel that has gone up from $4.50 per ton in 2006 to $6 per ton this year.
MC800 oil, which is used for asphalt, has gone up in price from $1.85 per gallon in 2006 to $4.95 this year. Diesel fuel, which the county was buying for $1.20 per gallon in 2006, is now $2.40 per gallon for the county.
In addition to materials, other costs for the road and bridge department, such as health and workers compensation insurance, are also going up.
"Where do you get the money?" Blumenberg said.
Commissioner Homer Oliver said the county will have no choice but to "concentrate on the roads that have traffic."
Blumenberg said the county may need to let some paved roads become gravel roads again.
"It's going to be tough," he said.
* Commissioners approved the purchase of blinders for security fencing on the juvenile side of the Mississippi County Detention Center.
County Clerk Junior DeLay said Kevin Hess, superintendent of the county's juvenile facility, requested the blinders so juvenile inmates can have outdoor recreation time while maintaining their privacy.
"Kevin said he wanted to provide them with some fresh air," DeLay said.
The projected cost for the blinders is about $1,000.