Lafayette County Commissioners speak at Santa Fe Agri-Leaders meeting

Friday, January 31, 2014
Lafayette County Presiding Commissioner, Harold Hoflander, speaks at the Santa Fe Agri-Leaders informational meeting on Monday, Jan. 27. (Kelly Melies/Democrat-News)

Presiding Commissioner Harold Hoflander and County Clerk Linda Niendick from the Lafayette County Commissioners office spoke about weed control for the county, improvements to the courthouse and jail, among other issues at the educational meeting held by the Santa Fe Agri-Leaders at the Santa Fe High School in Alma on Monday, Jan. 27.

Hoflander began the meeting by talking about a big issue in Lafayette County -- johnsongrass.

"We keep getting more and more of it," Hoflander said. "It might take a little time but I think we will get help from the state on that."

He said they are wanting to make some changes on that in order to encompass other types of harmful weeds.

"We want to go to the people and on the April election we want to change it from johnsongrass to noxious weeds," Hoflander said.

There are several types of weeds included in the noxious weed list for Missouri. These types include musk thistle, field bindweed, Canada thistle, Scotch thistle, common teasel, cut-leaved teasel, purple loosestrife, Kudzu, multiflora rose, marijuana and johnsongrass, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

By eliminating and controlling these weeds, it would help with agriculture, he said.

Linda Niendick said, "We can't develop in other areas without agriculture."

Hoflander also said there is a burn ban in effect until further notice.

He then proceeded to talk about some things the county commissioners have done in the past year. He said they purchased a dump truck and snow plow.

"We needed more vehicles to help with snow, especially after the snows we've had in the last couple of years," Hoflander said. "And we would use them if other road districts needed help."

Other plans for the county are to replace three bridges and will continue to replace culvert pipe. They have already replaced 3,570 feet of culvert pipe. That's a 42 percent increase from 2012.

He continued and talked about the maintenance, which is currently in progress at the courthouse. They are in the process of replacing the heating and air conditioning units.

"The cost is around $10,000," Hoflander said. "We did four in 2013. We're going to do four this year and we're going to keep on until we get them all replaced. Some of them in there are 30 years old."

Another item on the to-do list is to replace the phone system for 911.

"It's about 10 years old," Hoflander said. "We'll probably have that done in the next few weeks."

In addition to these improvements, they are also looking to make improvements to the county jail. Hoflander said the cost would be around $100,000.

Hoflander also talked about the carry-over cash balance for the county. In 2011, the balance was just over $747,000, he said. At the beginning of this year, the balance was over a million dollars.

"It's the first time we've carried over a million dollars in the county," Hoflander said.

To contact the commissioners office, log on to www.lafayettecountymo.com.

Contact Kelly Melies at kmelies@marshallnews.com