County holds final meeting of year


The Monroe County Board of Commissioners conducted its final meeting of the year Monday morning at the courthouse in Waterloo.

County highway engineer Aaron Metzger reported progress on the Kaskaskia Road curve project, which will enhance safety on that stretch of road north of Burksville near the railroad tracks. He noted that funding for necessary preliminary engineering work is coming from federal highway safety funds. Features to improve safety will include a skid-resistant asphalt driving surface, asphalt shoulders and rumble strips to alert drivers.

County assessor Carl Wuertz reported the county is on schedule to publish assessment notices by mid-March.  They were delayed last year, which caused difficulties for schools and other taxing bodies preparing their budgets. Wuertz noted that while his office hopes to meet the March target date, this year’s quadrennial review – which looks each year at about one-fourth of the county – is covering the Columbia area, including some 5,000 properties north of Hanover Road, and is a time-consuming project.

County Health Department Administrator John Wagner reported that the county annex will soon acquire and install a back-up generator to provide power at the annex building for use in an emergency electrical outage. He also discussed continuing examination of opening an urgent-care-type facility at the annex, which would focus primarily on Medicaid patient needs. Currently, area physicians are not accepting new Medicaid patients.

A well-received report on progress at the Miles Cemetery near Columbia was provided by Charlotte Hoock, a cemetery trustee. She noted that generous contributions have supported restoration of the historic mausoleum structure. She said new security cameras have virtually eliminated bad conduct that had plagued the area for years. A recent finding of a section of the original iron fence that provided a gated courtyard in front of the mausoleum and adorned the top of the structure, may enable reproduction of the 150-year old fence.

Her progress update also noted that they hope to be able once again to inter people in the historic cemetery, perhaps as early as 2013. Monroe County Board Chairman Delbert Wittenauer commended the work as a “real success story.”

Finally, treasurer Kevin Koenigstein reported that some 98 percent of the county’s property taxes have been paid to date, leaving about $1 million outstanding. He said that people not making their payments have been notified, will receive certified letters, and their names are slated to be published in the Dec. 26 issue of the Republic-Times if they do not pay their taxes by then.

Reappointments to various boards, committees and commissions were also noted and approved.

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