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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Proposed tax would improve 460 miles of county roads

  • All Marion County-maintained gravel roads would be switched from the current river gravel to white rock, if a possible one-fourth cent county sales tax is put on the April 8, 2014, ballot and approved.
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  • All Marion County-maintained gravel roads would be switched from the current river gravel to white rock, if a possible one-fourth cent county sales tax is put on the April 8, 2014, ballot and approved.
    “White rock is a smoother rock and has less chance of (causing) a flat tire,” said Marion County Presiding Commissioner Lyndon Bode. During his 20 years as a county commissioner, he said, “the one complaint I get the most is people getting a flat tire from the river gravel. It is screened, but there are all types of rock. The white rock is machine made and is all smooth rock.” Marion County has 390 miles of river gravel roads, he said.
    This project is among three types of road projects that would be financed by a one-fourth cent county sales tax.
    The second is to improve the 70 miles of blacktop roads maintained by Marion County, Bode said. This would be done on a resurfacing rotation, he said. During the past five years, only patching of bad spots has been done, due to the lack of funds.
    “Our (Marion County) Highway Department is operated a lot off fuel tax,” Bode explained, “and with people driving less and in more efficient cars, there is less revenue coming in.”
    The third purpose is to gradually do various road improvements. One goal is to replace the old, narrow, high-winged concrete culverts with new regular culverts, which would be passable by two cars.
    The two-lane roads currently have one-lane culverts, Bode said. “We try to mow the roads at least once a year, but if that concrete culvert is sticking up, it would be covered by weeds and could cause an accident.”
    If passed the proposed tax measure would bring in roughly $900,000 a year, Bode reported, adding that approximately half would go toward white rock, a fourth for repaving existing blacktops and a fourth for county road improvements.
    Offering more details about the need to use white rock on the roads, Bode said “right now we have been getting it (river gravel) out of North River in Marion County, and it is getting harder to get the necessary permits to get the rock out of the river. ... We are midway through a five-year permit, and we are not sure we can get another permit. It is getting to the point where at some point the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is going to tell us ‘no.’
    “That is one reason for the sales tax,” Bode said. If white rock is used, it would be purchased from a local quarry, such as Central Stone at Taylor or a quarry at Huntington.
    The tax issue was discussed at the Dec. 16 Marion County Commission meeting, and the public is invited to attend future commission meetings, including the Dec. 23 meeting.
    Page 2 of 2 - The commission has until Jan. 21 to make a decision about putting the tax issue on the April ballot.
    “We would like people to contact us” about the tax proposal, Bode said. He invited phone calls to himself at (573) 248-5842.
    People may also contact one of the other commissioners, he said. They are Randy Spratt, Western Commissioner; and Larry Welch, Eastern Commissioner.
    The commission meets at 9:30 a.m. every Monday at the Marion County Courthouse in Palmyra.
    The commissioners “would like to know what the residents of Marion County think about the issue,” Bode said. “The commissioners encourage the public to let them know their thoughts by talking to them or by attending one of their meetings.”

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