Ramp no longer needed at Fifth Ward polling place

Improvements at the Hannibal church where Fifth Ward residents cast their ballots have made it possible for Marion County to sell a handicap ramp previously needed to assure all voters accessibility to the Oakwood polling place.

The Marion County Commission accepted three bids and approved selling the aluminum ramp at its Aug. 27 meeting at the county courthouse in Palmyra.

“I didn't know if anybody would bid on it, and then I had three [bids]," Marion County Clerk Valerie Dornberger said. "I was afraid nobody would bid on it.”

Dornberger posted the ramp's availability on a Facebook site frequently used by her fellow clerks, thinking it may be of use to other county clerks in the region. However, none of the three bids came from county officials.

"Nobody (other clerks) wanted it," Dornberger said. "I tried."

Bids ranged from $200-400, which fell below the $1,600 that Dornberger paid for the device a few years ago.

"What do you think?" Larry Welch, Eastern District commissioner, asked Dornberger regarding the bids.

"I don't know if it's worth taking that big of a cut (loss) to get rid of it," Dornberger said.

Ultimately the commissioners voted unanimously to accept the $400 bid of Diane Smith.

Dornberger said, at that price, it would be up to Smith to transport the ramp.

After the commissioners approved the sale, Western District Commissioner Steve Begley asked if the county could have received more if it had just sold the metal ramp for scrap.

"That's an aluminum ramp," Begley said. "It might have scrapped out for that ($400), depending on the price of aluminum right now."

Dornberger said the ramp would have to weigh more than 400 pounds to top the high bid.

It was the ramp's size and not its weight that had Dornberger anxious to sell it. “It takes up a lot of space in our little storage unit," Dornberger said of the ramp she estimated to be 16 feet long by 3 1/2 feet wide.

Prince Avenue Baptist Church served as the Fifth Ward polling place since the Missouri Presidential Preference Primary on March 15, 2016. Prior to that election, voters had gone to the Missouri National Guard Armory. However, Dornberger was advised in December 2015 the armory would not be available as a polling place due to security concerns.