County moves on road projects

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The Monroe County Board approved two road improvement projects at its meeting on Tuesday.  

Monroe County Engineer Aaron Metzger provided details on the projects. The first is a cooperative agreement with Columbia to will improve Old Bluff Road and DD Road within the city limits near 11 South.  

Upon completion of the work, maintenance and jurisdiction of Old Bluff Road from Sand Bank Road north will be transferred to the city. 

The estimated $600,000 project will combine Illinois Economic Development Project funds with the county and Columbia sharing the rest of the funding, with half projected to come from Illinois EDP.

The other project consists of adding a turn lane from Hanover Road south onto Route 3 and resurfacing some 1.29 miles of Hanover Road from Route 3 to the Old Railroad Bridge near FF Road.  

The turn lane to be added will enable drivers turning right onto Route 3 to enter the flow of traffic more easily and safely, Metzger said.   

Federal Highway Administration funds of $396,000 will cover more than half of the project, with the county motor fuel tax making up another $289,000. Any overages will come from county matching tax funds if necessary. This work is projected to start in June.  

Also during the meeting, commissioners amended the county’s zoning code, adding special uses to zoning for agricultural A-1 and A-2 zoned land to permit a wedding and reception venue to operate at 1439 Centerville in rural Columbia. 

The amendment was recommended by the planning committee and zoning board.

Oak Hill’s Kim Keckritz provided an update on operations at the county-owned nursing facility.  Highlights included Magnolia Terrace Senior Living apartments being almost filled, with 49 of 50 apartments occupied, and increased federal Medicare payments being received – although Keckritz cautioned this has been seen only for one month and may change.  

Keckritz also said usage of the Evergreen Pointe rehabilitation facility has been very good through December, usually a slow month for such facilities.  

She also told commissioners Oak Hill is continuing to develop ways to reduce staff turnover.

The board also took first steps to create a position of Public Safety Coordinator, which will blend the responsibilities of the Monroe County Emergency Management Agency and Monroe County 911 department.  

The position will be placed under the supervision of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, and Monroe County 911 will support 75 percent of the planned $70,000 annual salary.  To create the position, an intergovernmental agreement between the county and the 911 department is needed.

Brian Lenhardt of Coast to Coast Equipment and Supplies of St. Louis received approval to provide a new postage meter for outgoing courthouse mail. Lenhardt noted the new meter will meet or exceed security requirements of the U.S. Postal Service. 

The county currently leases a meter from the firm for $152.49 per month and will pay $168 per month for a slightly faster machine that meets all new requirements. 

Lenhardt noted the system saves the county $1 per certified item mailed.

The board OK’d a resolution reappointing James Hill of Fults to the ILLINOISouth Tourism board for another one-year term. 

Commissioners renewed the lease of property at 107 E. Mill Street in Waterloo to the Monroe-Randolph Regional Office of Education. The lease of about 2,800 square feet will be at the rate of $1,800 per month and runs until Nov. 30.

The county board will meet next at 8:15 a.m. Monday, Feb. 3.

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