County board updated on various matters


The Monroe County Board conducted what would be a four-hour meeting Monday, Aug. 20, hearing updates on various matters.

The final matter of the day involved a number of citizens hearing about developer Joe Koppeis’ proposal to build a wind farm south of Valmeyer. Read about that portion of the meeting by clicking here.

Monroe County Engineer Aaron Metzger told commissioners that resurfacing approximately 5.5 miles of Kaskaskia Road is complete. All that remains is to add centerline stripes and raised reflective marking on the newly resurfaced pavement.

Further south, signs are being erected on Ames Road in preparation to resurface that road from Old Route 3 to VV Road.

Finally, adding a turn lane to Hanover Road onto southbound Route 3 has taken another step forward with federal funding being approved, Metzger said.

Monroe County Circuit Clerk Lisa Fallon and Brenda Hempen next told commissioners of progress in updating their fee structure for services of court fees for civil filings, such as mortgage foreclosures, divorces, probate and small claims.

Fallon said such fees are based on state laws, which provide a range of minimum and maximum fees to be charged.  She said there had been no changes to the county’s fee structure since 2003.

Much of the fees convey to the state, but other fees exist to defray costs the county incurs in handling the matters. In fact, some of those fees the county could and should collect to pay its costs have not been levied in the past.

“We are not trying to overcharge our citizens,” Fallon said, “but we need to recoup our costs of providing services.”

The fee increases are slated to begin Oct. 1.

Fallon said state statutes change frequently, and her office is working to catch up and keep up with requirements.  She also said her office is conducting a similar review of fees associated with criminal cases.

The commissioners approved her recommended changes and will await recommendations for fee changes for criminal cases.

Career specialist Melanie Biffar came to familiarize commissioners with a program she runs to assist adults who are unemployed but want to find somehow to get prepared to find well-paying jobs.

They may have been stay-at-home moms or dads whose jobs have gone away.  Biffar noted she is currently working with Oak Hill to help people gain medical career training.

She said federal funds are available to help, but if they are not taken advantage of, they tend to migrate to locations where they are, so she encouraged people seeking training for better jobs to contact her.

Biffar is available daily in Room 19 of the courthouse.  She can also be reached at 939-3332.

Annmarie Marcusson, the county’s human resource head, accompanied Monroe County Assessor Carl Wuertz to seek additional staffing for his office.

Wuertz noted his staff was one person larger in 2010, but that person retired in that year, and a hiring freeze prohibited a replacement at the time.

While he has shared an employee as a clerk in recent years, that arrangement recently ended.  He also noted an added 700 homes in the county since 2010, and said new requirements for data entry have added to the office’s burden.

Wuertz indicated these shortages as reasons for the late delivery of property assessments in recent years.

Commissioners asked for additional details and finally recommended an immediate hire to replace the employee who was not replaced when they retired, and a temporary full-time hire to fill the data entry position.

In return, commissioners insisted assessments must be ready by the end of February to get property taxes back on schedule, since they are so vital in all county work.   

Marcusson provided additional data for consideration of possible changes to county employee medical insurance.  Costs are divided between the county and the covered persons or families.

Marcusson gave specific data on numbers involved: there are 163 employees in all county activities, including the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and Oak Hill.

In 122 cases, only the employee is insured; in 20 instances, an employee and child are covered. Eleven employees and spouses are covered and nine families — spouse and children are covered.

Noting the complexities involved in decisions about possible changes, commissioners asked Marcusson to set up a meeting to allow them to balance costs and coverages.

The commissioners presented certificates of recognition to local businesses and groups recognized in a recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch survey. They are:  Kim Keckritz, Oak Hill; Dave Vogel, Weber Chevrolet;  Waterloo Feed & Pet Supply; Mark and Robin Lengacher, Schneider’s Quality Meats; Tom and Brandy Clements, Clements Cleaning; Amy Hank, Keller Williams Realty; Jen and Dave Midkiff, Ms. Middy’s Salon and Tan; Savannah’s Southern Charm; Jeff Vogt, JV’s Downtown Bar and Grill; Matt Schweizer, Hopskeller Brewing Company; Ahne’s Bakery; and Brian Charron, Waterloo Community Unit School District No. 5.

The following resolutions of reappointment were approved: Brian Mehrtens to the Columbia Drainage and Levee District; Eugene H. Sensel to the Stringtown Drainage and Levee District; Bran Edler to the Harrisonville Drainage and Levee District; and Craig Ramsey to the Fish Lake Drainage and Levee District.

The next county board meeting will take place 8 a.m. Tuesday,  Sept. 4, at the courthouse.

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