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County Commission Communications
A Periodic Column Written by Ed Douglas, Presiding Commissioner

June 2016

Many people are aware of some the main responsibilities of the County Commission, such as approving the budget for the entire county. But there are many functions people may not be aware of that I think you will find interesting.

Emergency Management: The Commission works together with the City and Emergency Management Director, Darrell Wright, to prepare for all types of emergencies. The Presiding Commissioner, as the highest elected official in the County, has the responsibility for ensuring the public safety and welfare of the people in our County. In that role, the Presiding Commissioner, in a severe emergency, is the person who would contact SEMA (the State Emergency Management Agency) for assistance and also FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency if the emergency warrants contacting them. Annually, our Livingston County Emergency Committee conducts table top simulations to prepare for crisis that might occur.

Brush Ordinance: Our County has a brush ordinance that requires our county roads are clear for travel by all types of vehicles and equipment (school buses, farm equipment, road graders, etc). The township boards bring us information regarding roads in their townships in need of work, and we send brush letters to the landowners requesting that the road be cleared from the center of the road back 20 feet. Most everyone (after receiving the letter from the Commission) complies; but in extreme cases of noncompliance, our county can clear the road and apply the cost to the landowner's taxes.

Appoint County Boards: Our Commission appoints board members to the following boards: Planning and Zoning, Board of Equalization (Property assessed values), Senior Citizens Tax Fund, Library Board, New Horizon Board (Senate Bill 40 for Handicapped workers), Board of Adjustment (variances from planning and zoning standards) and the Law Enforcement Restitution Fund.

Nuisance Ordinance: Our county has a public nuisance ordinance that gives us the authority to abate public nuisances which is defined as conditions that are detrimental to the health, safety, and welfare of the county. This is an ordinance that is fairly recent, and we are in the process of using this ordinance, one property at a time, to clean up properties that meet this definition.

Road Inspections: Our Road and Bridge Crew (under County Commission supervision) inspects our county roads before rock is put on the road to insure that the roads have been prepared properly. The county disburses Federal CART rock money each year to townships and these inspections help insure we have been good stewards of the Federal money.

Bridge Inspections: Every two years, our Bridge crew along with MODOT inspects every bridge (estimate of 250 bridges) in our county to insure safety. Bridges are given ratings and a complete analysis which help to give us a priority for bridge replacement as well as eligibility for federal matching dollars.

Providing and Installing Drainage Tubes: Our Bridge Crew purchases and installs all drainage tubes two feet or larger in diameter. Each township currently installs the smaller tubes.

Road closings: On occasion, we are petitioned to close roads that may no longer be needed or used by the public. We have a process that includes a petition, notifications in the media, and a public hearing to determine if a road should be closed.

Planning and Zoning: Our county planning and zoning regulations are administered by Rich Thieme (who works half time for the Commission in this capacity and half time for the Assessor's office). Missouri law gives Livingston County the authority to regulate land uses and establish dimensional standards by zoning district for the purpose of governing use, density, intensity, design and standards as related to new development. Planning and zoning helps assure that a new building or divided lot will be in harmony with the area and protect property values.

Public Roadway Specifications: Our county has adopted road specifications for new developments to insure that the roads accepted into the county meet certain minimum standards so that these roads can be maintained efficiently and effectively.

911 Emergency Call Center: This is also an area we work with the City to provide 911 service 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to the people in our city and county. The county and city have quarterly meetings together to review, monitor and plan for the future for this operation.

Serving on Various Boards: The Commission serves on various boards like the Green Hills Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) which makes recommendations to MoDot for road priorities for our area. Additionally, we serve on the University of Missouri Extension Council; and through Green Hills Regional Planning, we schedule annual hazardous waste disposal for our County.

Handling all other County Concerns and Issues: These issues are many and varied from allowing use of courthouse facilities to handling disputes between property owners, and/or other such matters that require an arbitrator.

Finally, the Commission works with all the other elected county offices - the County Clerk, Circuit Clerk, Public Administrator, Juvenile Officer, Treasurer/Collector, Assessor, Recorder of Deeds, Coroner, Associate Judge, Circuit Judge and Sheriff. We have a great relationship with all of these offices; and I believe we work well together as a team.

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