County commission talks about broadband, roadwork

Thursday, January 21, 2021

During a regular Saline County Commission meeting held Thursday, Jan. 21, Northern Commissioner Stephanie Gooden stated she spoke with Marshall Municipal Utilities General Manager Jeff Bergstrom to see where the county was at in terms of obtaining rural broadband Internet.

“He is thinking that we are still about 18 months out, which is unfortunate, but no one anticipated COVID — and the delays that it would cause in manufacturing,” Gooden said.

She noted if residents would like to know more, they can visit MMU’s website at www.mmumo.net.

In other news, Southern Commissioner Monte Fenner stated he had a few county road updates. On Wednesday, Jan. 20, the Road and Bridge Department worked on rocking a road, which was south of Interstate 70.

Fenner noted on Thursday, Jan. 21, the department would be rocking a road in the eastern part of Saline County on Route 41.

“We have a road crew that’s cleaning around culverts in the northern part of the county,” he added. “So they’re staying very busy, and the weather is excellent to do that.”

Gooden added the commission reported to the Missouri Department of Transportation a few state highways and county road crossings that need maintenance.

During the meeting, Gooden stated the commission met with someone who is working with Rhodes Engineering on the water line project for the Marshall Junction.

“And they’re moving their crew to H Road,” she explained. “The last part of 118th Trail that they were working on, they … got into more dirt and less rock, which is good news.”

Fenner said the junction project is about 50 percent completed on the water line.

Before adjourning the meeting, county resident Jill Hollabaugh requested the commission clarify a question she asked — prior to the meeting — in regard to the forensic audit.

“My question really is who is communicating and providing the information to BKD?” she asked.

Presiding Commissioner Kile Guthrey stated the auditors are getting information from wherever they want to go. Hollabaugh asked if it was not offline and through the commission.

“No, we initiate that,” he said. “ … I’m not an auditor, but they’re auditing. Seems like we’re audited all the time. We’re audited every year for the county, we’re doing a forensic audit now.”

Guthrey added they are also in the process of a CARES Act audit from the state of Missouri.

Hollabaugh inquired about who is doing the CARES Act audit.

“On behalf of the state, it’s BKD,” Gooden explained. “Then the county has to have their own third party audit when we do our annual audit, and that will be with whoever gets the bid. But we’re assuming whoever had it the last couple years — Gerding Korte and Chitwood.”

She added she thinks the county usually bids their annual audit every two to three years.

“I think it’s up for bid this year,” Gooden said.

Other questions Hollabaugh addressed prior to the meeting can be read at https://www.marshallnews.com/story/2861039.html.

The next county commission will be Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 9 a.m.

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