Tuesday, July 11, 2017

From the desk of Bates County Southern Commissioner Larry Hacker

Larry Hacker - Bates County Southern Commissioner
SUMMER REPORT: Busy time for everyone normally and as your Southern Commissioner it's no exception!

We are in the beginning stages of some great long term projects for our county's future operations. As you most likely know we have purchased the former Jennings Market and the 2 story Jennings home south of the market. By doing this it will accomplish 3 things;

1. Provide us the opportunity to expand the second floor courtroom and law related facilities ... a much needed expansion! It seems in our modern society the "business" of crime and drugs isn't going anywhere but up.

2. Our plan is to relocate some of the existing offices to the market building making all of them accessed WITHOUT climbing stairs! It will also allow us to address building security issues that are looming and so important now days.

3. The Jennings home property allows for immediate parking for the market building offices and provides additional jail facility parking. It was available to purchase now, and might not become available again in the future.

We are also making some much needed upgrades to our (recently paid for)15 year old jail facility. These changes will include correcting a few original building design issues that need addressed, adding a more efficient, and safer, sally port (area where prisoners are loaded and unloaded), adding two additional bunk type cells that can house an additional 30+ prisoners and will include a secure outdoor exercise area, enclosing a sally port walkway to eliminate potential escape efforts, and taking the former sally port and booking area and renovating those areas for specialized holding cells. This project will take up another 40 - 50' of the west lot of the jail property and also makes the property purchases decision even more crucial to the county's future needs. We are also currently in the process of upgrading the existing locks and jail security system that has had 15 years of 24/7 hard use and is in definite need of replacing.

Out "in" the County, we are dealing with additional wear and tear on some of our county roads due to MoDot bridge projects, have let bids for 5 concrete box culvert projects, and are FINALLY putting out for bids a railroad crossing project that has been in the works with the railroad and MoDot for 3+ years!

On a more "civic" level, I have finished my term as President of the food pantry board and rotated off that board, have moved into the President-elect position of Rotary for the coming year. I was also involved in three UNBELIEVABLE fund raising auctions ... Bates County Ducks Unlimited (new record total), Children's Center Casino Night and Auction (new record total), and most recently the Rich Hill "Famous for the 4th" World Record Pie Auction (which raised OVER $20,000 selling 40 pies)!

Other activities include recent Rich Hill 4th parade participation, Bates County Fair is this week and that means obligations Tuesday with Democrats and MU Extension Council at the BASH, the parade participation, Wednesday Rotary serving lunch to the fair kids, and Friday purchase at the livestock sale! Then, Hume Rodeo comes next and I again plan to participate in the parade and help some during the rodeo.

Again, a busy summer, but life is GOOD in Bates County!