July 28, 2011

County Grant Application 'Makes the Grade' for New Road Equipment

Officials were on hand Tuesday in Memphis for the USDA presentation of $72,000 for the purchase of a new motor grader for the county. Pictured (L to R) are Scotland County Commissioner Paul Campbell, LouAnn Rongey USDA Area Specialist, Cheryl Elliott USDA Area Specialist, Janie Dunning USDA State Director, C.E. "Chipper" Harris Presiding Commissioner, Danette Clatt Commissioner, Batina Dodge County Clerk, Allison Skare representative for U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, Tanner Smith representative for Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, and Rande S. Bryan USDA Area Director.

by Hannah Kiddoo

In a Certificate of Recognition ceremony on July 21, 2011, Anita J. Dunning, Missouri State Director for USDA Rural Development, announced the award of $72,520 to Scotland County for the purchase of a new motor grader to serve the Scotland County Road and Bridge service area.

The assistance consisted of a USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Grant of $72,520, with Scotland County providing $152,480 toward the cost of the new road grader.

The funds are part of the Community Facility Program, which provides loans and grants to public bodies and non-profit entities to assist in the development and improvements of essential community facilities in rural areas and towns up to 20,000 in population.

"The USDA Rural Development grant enabled us to upgrade our line of machinery to have one new motor grader. With the weather conditions the last few years, this machine will be a great benefit in maintaining the county roads and reducing maintenance costs," said Scotland County Presiding Commissioner C.E. "Chipper" Harris.

During the ceremony, Harris commended Western District Commissioner Paul Campbell and County Clerk Batina Dodge for their hard work during the grant application process. Campbell, who initially found the available grant money and contacted the USDA, was grateful for the grant assistance. "We got lucky," he stated, "We're one of the few counties in Northeast Missouri that got one of these grants."

Dodge wrote the grant for the county and explained that the USDA was very helpful during the application process. She said area specialist Cheryl Elliott helped make the process very easy. "She was extremely helpful and easy to work with."

The new road grader is a 2010 CAT 140M and features the latest technology developments. Area Director of USDA Rural Development, Rande Bryan, noted that during recent winters, it has been challenging for Missourians to keep up with the snow levels. "The past two winters have really actually pushed a lot of motor graders beyond their endurance," he stated. The new grader will improve safety and quickness of cleanup while helping alleviate financial costs.

"The help you gave us," Harris told USDA representatives, "will enable us to do some things in the future with you as well as shepherd our funds better because we've got something that will do more for the same expense."

Representatives from the offices of Senator Claire McCaskill and Congressman Blaine Lutkemeyer were also present for the ceremony. Each office extended congratulations and thanked local government for actively pursuing the grant. "These areas are a lot less populated; that doesn't mean they're a lot less important. This is where it's at," remarked Tanner Smith, field representative for Lutkemeyer.

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