Lack of door bids prompts concern about CARES Act for pending applicants

By Buck Collier, Special Correspondent
Posted 5/26/21

HERMANN — There was a bid for a painting job. There was a bid to build a low-water crossing. There were bids from banks looking to handle Gasconade County’s money. But there was no bid …

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Lack of door bids prompts concern about CARES Act for pending applicants

Posted

HERMANN — There was a bid for a painting job. There was a bid to build a low-water crossing. There were bids from banks looking to handle Gasconade County’s money. But there was no bid received for new doors for the courthouse.

And that has some county government officials concerned as administrators move closer to handing out the remaining CARES Act money to several applicants. Just how much will be allocated to how many applicants is unclear; indeed, it’s possible the final slice of the CARES Act pie will be thinner than first thought.

The County Commission had estimated using as much as $40,000 of the remaining $65,000 of CARES Act money for three new courthouse entrance doors. The double doors on the main southside entrance would be a hands-free opening set of doors. But when a variety of bids was opened Thursday morning as scheduled, there was none for the doors, which were proposed as a way to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“That’s a problem,” said County Clerk Lesa Lietzow. “The one thing we most needed, we don’t have,” she said.

Most surprising to county administrators was the lack of a bid from Mike LeRoy, an operator of an area millworks who recently talked to the Commission about the door project, along with contractor Glen Englert.

“We don’t know what the doors are going to be; we know what the water fountains are going to be,” said Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel, R-Hermann. He was referring to the two new no-hands water fountains and bottle stations that will be installed in the courthouse. Those fountains will cost about $3,300 and will be purchased with CARES Act money.

If the doors indeed cost the estimated $40,000, and with the water fountains costing $3,300, there would be about $22,000 left to divide among the dozen or so applicants applying for a share of the remaining CARES Act money. The county has until June 30 to allocate the remaining dollars or risk having to return it to the state and ultimately back to the federal treasury, as outlined by federal regulations.

The county received $1.725 million last year as its share of the $2.2-trillion CARES Act. That money initially was intended to reimburse emergency services agencies for costs incurred in fighting COVID-19, but the program’s focus changed to make the money available to businesses, not-for-profit organizations and local government agencies.

Lietzow said it’s important that officials find out just how much the new doors will cost. “Until we know that number, we don’t know how much of that (CARES Act funds) we’ll have left to give away,” she said.

Miskel announced Belle Mayor Steve Vogt is his successor as chairman of Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s Board of Directors. Miskel will continue as the panel’s secretary-treasurer. Miskel said he benefited from helming the MRPC board.

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