County opts to remove Price Road fence which encroaches right-of-way

By Buck Collier, Special Correspondent
Posted 6/22/22

HERMANN — The Gasconade County Commission is prepared to formally move to order the removal of a fence that was placed in the right-of-way along Price Road, just outside the Owensville city …

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County opts to remove Price Road fence which encroaches right-of-way

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HERMANN — The Gasconade County Commission is prepared to formally move to order the removal of a fence that was placed in the right-of-way along Price Road, just outside the Owensville city limits. The action could come at the Commission’s session scheduled for June 30.

Southern District Associate Commissioner Jerry Lairmore, R-Owensville, noted that after repeated efforts and a formal service of notice, the property owners have not removed the fence. June 2 was the deadline set by the Commission for the property owners to get the fence out of the right-of-way.

“It’s not been moved yet,” Lairmore said at Thursday morning’s weekly session.

With Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel, R-Hermann, out of town, Lairmore was serving as the acting presiding commissioner during last week’s session. He said the Gasconade County Road Department can be directed to take down the fence and added that the county can bill the property owners for the cost of removing the fence.

Northern District Associate Commissioner Jim Holland, R-Hermann, agreed and also concurred with Lairmore that the matter be tabled until Miskel returns for the June 30 Commission session so he can offer his thoughts on the issue and formal action could be taken by the full administrative panel.

The county likes to have a right-of-way that covers 25 feet on either side of the middle of the road. But that 50-foot total width is narrowed on many county roads by trees — and fences that have been built too close to the roadway. Squeezing a roadway poses a hazard for motorists, Lairmore said.

“This is a serious safety problem,” he said. “They’ve had a month to take it down. They’re going to be charged for our cost to take it down.”

In other matters at Thursday’s session, it was noted that Owensville is applying for grant funding to help it develop plans for the portion of the Rock Island Trail that runs through the city. The state is partnering with cities, counties and private landowners who purchased the right-of-way as it runs alongside their property to raise money and make improvements to the trail.

Lairmore said he hopes the county follows the lead of Owensville.

“I’d like to see the county apply for this,” he said, referring to grant money being made available through DNR’s State Parks Division.

Parks Department staffers earlier this month said there is no specific timetable for completing the Rock Island Line. That became clear when the Missouri Legislature stripped $69 million in ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funding from the state’s Fiscal Year 2023 operating budget. Gov. Mike Parson had made the trail project a priority item in his legislative agenda this session.

With that money not available, the development of the trail will depend in large part on funding raised by the state Parks Department and the cities, counties and supporting organizations along the trail.

Meanwhile, Lairmore noted that there is an individual who has pledge to donate $100,000 for repairs to a bridge on the trail — if the county’s grant application is approved.

Also, the commissioners could be coming and going from the July 14 session as they take part in an Emergency Operations Center drill from 8 to 11 a.m. Usually, all three commissioners attend the drills, but with a regular Commission meeting scheduled for the same time as the drill, Emergency Management Director Clyde Zelch believes having only one administrator on hand would be sufficient.

County Clerk Lesa Lietzow told the panel that “I’m getting prices now” on two air-conditioning units for the courthouse. While she was in the process of having those units inspected, the Gasconade County Sheriff’s Department alerted the clerk to one of the units at the Swiss substation needing to be replaced.

Archer-Elgin, the county’s consulting engineering firm, is doing preliminary work on the possible addition of an elevator to the courthouse. The installation of an elevator is one of the recommendations offered by the various county officeholders regarding use of the county’s ARPA money. Gasconade County has received the second $1.4-million installment of the total $2.8 million allocated by the federal government to boost the local economy that suffered from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The county now is in the midst of accepting a second round of applications from government agencies, businesses and non-profit organizations. In the first round, about $500,000 in ARPA funding was approved for nearly two dozen applicants.

Lietzow noted that the new telephone system equipment will be arriving on July 21 and 22 — a system replacing the decades-old communications equipment that is significantly limited in its ability to transfer callers between departments.

The clerk said the monthly bill for the new system will be $1,781, which will be about $200 less than what is being paid now to the existing telephone service provider.

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