Utility work scheduled on Kramme

By Buck Collier, Special Correspondent
Posted 8/10/22

Residents living along and motorists using Kramme Road soon might notice activity associated with utility work along the county road south of Owensville.

Sho-Me Technologies is scheduled to bury …

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Utility work scheduled on Kramme

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Residents living along and motorists using Kramme Road soon might notice activity associated with utility work along the county road south of Owensville.

Sho-Me Technologies is scheduled to bury fiber optic cable along the road to a new Verizon cell phone tower to be built in the area. Vernon Leighty of Sho-Me Technologies last Thursday morning outlined the planned work to the Gasconade County Commission during their session held in Owensville City Hall.

Leighty, the project coordinator, said the work will involve burying the fiber optic cable under the edge of the gravel road, rather than in the ditch alongside the road.

“We like to stay right along the edge of the road,” Leighty said, explaining that by staying out of the ditch damage to the cable is avoided when the county Road Department grader operator pulls the ditch to recover gravel and improve water flow. “Over the years, we find the road grader guys really like us,” he said.

Sho-Me Technologies, which this year marks 25 years of service, is not new to this area. It already provides some service to the courthouse, Leighty said. Sho-Me also has done work in Phelps, Osage and Morgan counties, he added.

The cable is typically buried 30 inches deep and placed inside a conduit.

When the project begins it should take only three to four days, Leighty said, noting that the site would be marked with orange cones to ensure safety.

Leighty attended the session to seek an easement to do the work, but Southern District Associate Commissioner Jerry Lairmore, R-Owensville, pointed out that the county doesn’t grant an easement along a road; rather, a roadway agreement is the document used. The agreement spells out the work to be done to restore the site to original condition.

“We’re fine with that,” Leighty said, adding, “we do that with MoDOT.”

“We want to work with you in any way we can,” Lairmore said.

Regarding county roads and the people who maintain them, a mandatory meeting of Gasconade County Road Department personnel was held prior to the Commission session.

“The biggest thing that came out of it was that there needs to be better communications,” said Presiding Commisioner Larry Miskel, R-Hermann. He said the meeting was held to encourage department employees to offer their thoughts on how to improve the agency’s operations and to for the county administrators to answer any questions the employees had.

More cross-training of employees also was mentioned, added Lairmore, who noted that Road Department Supervisor Roger Dahl is starting to do more cross-training.

As for the county roads, the recent break in the drought means graders are back at work. “Finally got some rain,” Lairmore said. “They’re (road workers) getting out and getting some grading done.”

The department also is preparing to do some more chip-and-seal work. One county highway scheduled to receive chip-and-seal is Stony Hill Road, which has been receiving some maintenance prior to the coating being applied.

“We’re working on Stony Hill,” said Northern District Associate Commissioner Jim Holland, R-Hermann. “I think we’ve got that taken care of so we can go the whole mile” with chip-and-seal, he said.

Also, Holland said the Road Department is taking steps to deal with standing water on areas of Catholic Church Road, along with replacing some culverts and rebuilding some driveways. 

“We’re on top of it,” he said.

In other matters, County Collector Shawn Schlottach, recovering from injuries suffered during a horseback riding accident in recent weeks, returned to her office last week — but only for a short while. She hopes to fell well enough to return for a longer stay this week, county officials said.

County Clerk Lesa Lietzow told the Commission the collector is still getting back up to speed and the recovery will take a while longer. “It’s a slow process, as she was told it would be,” the clerk said.

Schlottach suffered what was later learned to be a rather serious concussion when she fell from her horse. Initial reports put her recovery time from about six to eight weeks with her physical movements restricted.

“We wish her well,” said Lairmore.

Steps are being taken by the other officeholders in the courthouse to make available some of their staffers to help Deputy Collector Glenda Shockley keep the Collector’s Office providing service.

Fewer hogs, fewer cars — that’s what County Assessor Paul Schulte says his office found during this year’s review of property in Gasconade County.

“We’ve got a lot less livestock,” he told the Commission, adding that the number of hogs is “way down” from previous counts.

Also, Schulte said there are 900 fewer autos in the county than found in the last review. However, the used autos that remain in the county have increased in value, he said — a phenomenon seen across the country during the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, Schulte said property valuation is up 29 percent this year with the bulk of that coming in the value of autos.

Deputy Assessor Julia Baker noted that county residents were alerted earlier this year to the forthcoming increase in property valuations, which, in some cases, will mean higher property taxes.

However, it should be noted that the county’s property tax rate for this year likely will be reduced to offset the second straight record-setting year for the General Revenue sales tax that was received in 2021. A public hearing — and action by the Commission — on a proposed property tax rate usually takes place in late August. Property tax bills are mailed to residents in November with a Dec. 31 deadline to pay taxes without a late fee being attached.

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