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County endorses repair of dilapidated bridge

A dilapidated bridge near Park Hills is getting repaired by the Park Hills Special Road District. St. Francois County Commissioners put their official stamp of approval on the project at the regular session last week.

There has been no cost estimate for the bridge yet. The county does not approve expenditures for the district, but has to endorse the road district.

“There is a bridge that sits in there over by Rosener’s a 4-ton, maybe it’s a 2-ton now, that’s just dilapidated,” said presiding Commissioner Dr. David Cramp. “It’s terrible, dangerous as can be, goes around a curve and they are gonna go in there and fix that thing. We don’t want to mess with that, let them have as much money as they want to do that bridge. I would wholeheartedly recommend this be passed.”

Associate Commissioner Patrick Mullins made the motion while Associate Commissioner Bret Burgess seconded it. There was no discussion. It was unanimously approved.

On other matters, the County Commission decided to hire a negotiator who specializes in setting per diem rates for federal prisoners. “You can’t quote me because I’m not sure the exact amount, here, but I think Ste. Genevieve is getting $70 per day. It’s just crazy,” Cramp said.

St. Francois County is currently getting between $40 and $45.

“I’d like to go up and talk to the US Marshals myself but they’d eat me up,” Cramp said. “I think we need to strongly consider using this guy to negotiate our rates for us. Even if we got up to $60, that’s a couple hundred thousand extra revenue to house those prisoners, which would be really good for our budget.”

This was also unanimously approved.

During discussion of the energy efficiency block grant the county is looking into, Commissioner Mullins reported he had a letter of support from Alan Aubuchon, director of the St. Francois County Transfer Station, to explore the potential for capturing methane from the landfill.

“One option there is to pursue funding for a feasibility study,” said Mike Alesandrini, who has been talking to the county about energy efficiency projects. “I am not sure if you can get funds for both the feasibility study and the project if it’s worthwhile.”

David Grimes with Southeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission is working on a grant to change out less efficient lighting with municipalities and counties in the region.

“The time frame is fairly near here,” Alesandrini reminded the Commission.

The County Commission adjourned for a recess, then met again in a closed session at 1 p.m. for negotiations with employee groups, primarily, the Road and Bridge Department union.

Renee Jean can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 117 or at

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