It’s always fun covering the Marion County Commission’s Monday meeting. The commission and the elected officials visibly get along well, and the mood is usually light as officials deliberate county business at the typically sparsely attended meetings.
The big news Monday was the Marion County Library District’s progress toward seeking voter support for its tax levy, but there were a few other items of note.
• The county’s work to install sidewalks along Mo. 168 in Philadelphia is moving along but slowly. The cold ground and some issues with acquiring right-of-way slowed construction progress since the fall groundbreaking, but Western District Commissioner Randy Spratt — a Philadelphia resident who has championed the project — remained confident that it would move along as the weather warmed up. Meanwhile, the project has a new chairman, John Hummel.
• In one of her final acts as state auditor, Susan Montee (who was defeated in her November run for re-election) audited the Marion County Collector’s office after learning of its short vacancy last year — namely, collector Lee Viorel’s death in office. There were no findings in the office, which is running smoothly now under the control of Mary Ann Viorel, who was appointed to fill her late husband’s office and won her first term in November.
• The marble steps at the 111-year-old Palmyra courthouse will soon sport rubber treads. County Clerk Valerie Dornberger said three people have fallen on the steps in the last year, compelling courthouse staff to look into a solution. “That marble gets slick when people come in with their feet wet,” Dornberger said, prompting Spratt to joke, “They’ve gotten slicker in the last 100 years.”
• The commission re-approved Presiding Commissioner Lyndon Bode’s service on 11 — count ‘em, 11 — boards and committees in Northeast Missouri. Bode, who just began his fifth term as presiding commissioner, chairs the North East Community Action Corporation, Lincoln County Public Housing Authority and Northeast Missouri Resource, Conservation & Development boards. He’s the board secretary for the Highway 36 Transportation Development District. He sits on the boards of the Highway 36/I-72 Corridor Association, Northeast Missouri Workforce Investment Board and Northeast Missouri Senior Service Council for the Northeast Missouri Area Agency on Aging. He’s the Northeast Missouri Commissioners Association legislative representative to the Missouri Association of County Commissioners and an ex officio member of the Marion County Planning and Zoning Commission. He sits on the citizens advisory panels for BASF and Continental Cement. Oh yeah, and he still runs Bode’s Courier Service. And you thought YOU were busy.
• Did you know Marion County will pay up to $500 toward indigent funerals (that is, those where no one can cover the expenses)? I didn’t. I found that out yesterday, when Bode said he’d received a letter from a Hannibal funeral home indicating such a circumstance. The county approved the funding and moved along, but I found it interesting.
Till next time, commission …