From the Judge's desk
County Judge/Executive -
Kevin Neal I’m very happy to announce that our county’s new webpage is up. Citizens can research and find valuable information pertaining to our county government. I.T. and other departments have put many hours into gathering the information you deserve to have at your fingertips.
There will be quarterly updates from my desk regarding the latest happenings in Marshall County Government. This will make county government more personal and allow you to familiarize yourself with our operations.
During the past several months we have been very busy with infrastructure, budgets, administrative review, economic development, and many more day to day operations. This will all be information that will be accessible from the new website.
I’d like to take a moment to review a few important things regarding our wastewater districts. The county has two districts: Aurora and Draffenville. Both are different when compared to each other as a district. Aurora has less than 30 customers and Draffenville has over 130 customers. Each district has their own challenges. Aurora is in need of serious rehabilitation, and the cost is great.
Grant money was obtained for the Aurora district in 2012 for rehabilitation of the plant, but the plan was not executed efficiently. It stalled in place with no options for moving forward. We picked up the project and started moving it forward by having an engineering firm study the district and then advise the fiscal court of its status.
Draffenville has had to be completely reorganized financially and administratively. Immediate attention has been given to repairing and fitting the plant with key components that were originally left off. All of this has been ongoing while under notice of violation from the Department of Water due to being out of compliance from years of wastewater issues in the district. I am proud to announce, that as of July, the district is financially in the black and the new board has great ideas in moving forward.
I am also pleased to announce that we have moved forward on completing the Oak Level water tank project. The fiscal court approved a $275,000 loan for the project in 2011. The project was not completed, and the court has paid interest only since 2011. Thousands of dollars have been wasted each year since then.
The project was managed poorly and project overage cost the fiscal court another $107,000. Again, I requested an engineer to review the project and report the status to the fiscal court. To date, the project is complete, and we are working on closing the project so the fiscal court can start paying on principal.
As for the Oak Level water tank, the City of Benton has plans to replace water lines to the tank. The fiscal court is in support of getting potable water to rural parts of the county. It plans to work with City of Benton water and Jonathan Creek water district. However, it will take time and money to meet these goals. The county helped the City of Benton expand water lines out Highway 58 earlier this year.
The fiscal court is trying to establish a tangible reserve so the county can help reduce its liabilities and be financially sound during hard times or when projects need funding. I’m pleased to announce that this year’s budget review logged many hours with department heads and members of the fiscal court. We only had $1,500 in general reserves at one point in the year. I’m proud to tell you we are forecasting 1.7 million dollars in reserves by the end of the fiscal year.
Our road department is one of the best in the state, and it has been challenged this year with an early spring tornado. It caused some damage to areas within the county. There was also the recent July flooding that caused major damage to our infrastructure. It’s costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair. The road department immediately started repairing damage after the storm hit, and some of our major roads that were damaged were repaired within days. I am proud of the employees throughout the county who did great work during the roughest times. It is a true testament of their hard work. My sincere thanks.