County discusses various matters

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The Monroe County Board discussed election day being a holiday this year in addition to a possible ambulance purchase, levee concerns and the upcoming flu season during its regular meeting on Tuesday.

Commissioners noted that Gov. JB Pritzker has declared Nov. 3 a statewide holiday for 2020. Therefore, county offices and workplaces will be closed, except for the clerk’s office, where Jonathan McLean and staff will be available to assist any citizens encountering voting problems such as registration issues and to oversee vote counting as polls close.

Monroe County Ambulance Director Carla Heise told commissioners she was exploring details of purchasing a new transit van ambulance to replace one of the existing aging box-on-truck chassis ambulances. The commissioners told her to proceed with research. The next step will be to request a resolution approving a detailed final bid. 

Heise said she hopes to be able to order and take delivery of the vehicle by February.

Monroe County Engineer Aaron Metzger requested and received approval to order a new Freightliner single-axle dump truck.  The estimated cost will be $156,617, with funding coming partly from  the two most recent fiscal year budgets.  

Metzger also noted elections are approaching for all 10 road district commissioners and clerks on April 6. All the positions are up for vote every four years.  As these are elected positions, they require persons seeking them to petition for election. Persons interested can contact Metzger at 939-8682.  

Stringtown Drainage and Levee District director Lynden Prange, who also received reappointment to that job, told commissioners about difficulties being encountered with the aging gravity drain gate in the levee that protects some 2,500 acres of land starting about a half mile north of Fort de Chartres.

He said the structure, which allows water from the Mississippi River – collecting through inland drainage systems such as relief wells – to flow back into the river.

But a gate in the system must be closed when the river rises toward flood stages to prevent a back flow. He said the equipment, installed in 1948, was at one time maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  But after legislative changes in the 1970s, it fell to local levee districts to maintain it. 

He said he hopes to be able to begin work next week to repair the structure supporting the movable closure gate that has had to be removed, and to finish work before possible high water returns.

Monroe County Health Department Administrator John Wagner updated commissioners on ongoing COVID-19 matters and addressed the coming of a new flu vaccine. He said several commercial providers have it in hand now and he expected the health department would also have it available by Oct. 1. 

He recommended residents get flu vaccinations sooner versus later, noting it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to take full effect.  

Finally, several appointments and reappointments were approved: Matthew Mueller of Columbia to the Columbia Drainage & Levee District; David Krebel of Prairie du Rocher to the Fort Chartres and Ivy Drainage & Levee District; Daryl Cates of Columbia to the Fish Lake Drainage & Levee District; Gene Rohlfing of Fults to the Harrisonville Drainage & Levee District and Glen Lutz to the Monroe County Nursing Home Memorial Endowment Association.

The county board will next meet Monday, Sept. 21 at 8:15 am. 

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