Cape Girardeau County commissioners sign grant application for port dredging

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cape Girardeau County commissioners signed a grant application that could provide the funds for dredging at the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority.

A community development block grant issued through the Missouri Department of Economic Development would provide $400,000 to dredge the port. Port executive director Dan Overbey said several months ago it was estimated to cost $250,000 to dredge, but during the time since officials started trying to locate funding, water levels have risen, which adds cost to the operation. It will now take most, if not all, the grant money to cover the dredging.

Overbey said the grant would cover the cost of dredging this year, leaving subsequent dredgings unfunded. He said U.S. Sen. Kit Bond has a line item in a budget bill before Congress that would cover the 2011 dredging at the regional and New Madrid and Pemiscot county ports.

The port hopes to be awarded the grant in time to take advantage of a dredging barge coming through around Oct. 10. If the grant is not awarded, the port will finance dredging with its own money and borrowed funds. However, he said the port does not want to do that, and should not have to.

"I am disappointed in the corps. They have an obligation to do so. They don't think they do," Overbey said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was responsible for dredging the port until recently, when the port's five-year average of shipped tonnage dropped below 1 million tons a year, to 850,000 tons a year.

The Southeast Missouri Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission applied for the grant, but the money would be administered by the county. The port lies in both Cape Girardeau and Scott counties.

In other business

* Indigent burial was approved for Ronald Garmon.

* Extension of vacation time use was approved for county public works director Don McQuay. Commissioner Paul Koeper said there were so many problems, repairs and programs this year that McQuay spent more time assisting county employees, resulting in less opportunity to take vacation time. Normally McQuay is required to use his annual vacation time by Nov. 1, but commissioners extended the deadline to Jan. 1.

* Commissioners renewed Cape Girardeau County's membership in the National Association of Counties.

* Two right-of-way waivers for two property owners on County Road 422 were approved.

* A quitclaim deed for Norman Whitson at the intersection of county roads 365 and 366 was approved.

* The county will pay for flu shots for county employees.

cbartholomew@semissourian.com

243-8600

Pertinent Addresses:

1 Barton Square, Jackson, MO

10 Bill Bess Drive, Scott City, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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