A 2.9-cent 2019 property tax rate for the general revenue fund was established by the Dent County Commission Monday based on calculations from the state auditor’s office.

The commission set the rate after a public hearing. Commissioners also established a road and bridge tax rate of 25.3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, the same as last year.

By law, the commission can levy up to an 11.5-cent general revenue tax rate. That number was voluntarily reduced to 3.5 cents for a number of years. But the commission “zeroed out” the levy in 2018, presiding commissioner Darrell Skiles said, when sales tax revenues started “going through the roof.”

The .0295 rate per $100 of assessed valuation will produce about $50,000 in revenue, he estimated.

Commissioners also set the same levies as last year for the senior citizen service fund at 4.77 cents and the developmental disabilities board fund at 13.4 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Treasurer Denita Williams reported sales tax figures for funds received in early August all showed decreases from August of last year.

The general revenue and law enforcement sales tax funds each received $76,705 for August, compared to $88,425 in 2018, a decrease of $11,719. Those funds are each down $31,133 year to date, or 4.725 percent, she said.

The road and bridge fund received $36,402 in sales tax in August, compared to $41,923 in August a year ago, a difference of $5,520. Those revenues are down $9,784 year to date, or 3.72 percent.

The two jail sales taxes each brought in $72,829 in August, compared to $83,244 in the same month a year ago. Each fund is down $10,052 year to date, or 1.7 percent, she reported.

Sales tax revenues are actually up from 2017, but 2018 was an outlier. “Last year at this time we were up some crazy amount over ’17,” Skiles said. The increase in 2018 was well over $100,000.

Skiles also reported on an MRPC Transportation Advisory Committee meeting he attended last week in St. James. The committee was updated on MoDOT’s planned rebuild of the I-70 bridge over the Missouri River at Rocheport.

The current plan is to begin construction in the spring, with an expected completion date in late 2020. The planned $18 million rehabilitation is intended to extend the bridge’s life for another 10 to 15 years.

Three-to-eight-hour traffic backups are possible, MoDOT said. “They just wanted us to be aware there’s going to be a lot of additional pressure on I-44,” Skiles said.

MoDOT is still hopeful of receiving a $176 million federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant.

If the grant goes through, MoDOT would build a new bridge instead of the rehabilitation project, which means the old bridge would be used while a new one is built. That would prevent the massive I-70 backups.

Under commission reports, First District commissioner Dennis Purcell said crews would be grading county roads 5650 and 6435 Monday and cutting brush on 5130, 5140, 5450 and 4126.

Second District commissioner Gary Larson said grading was planning on county roads 4060, 4480 and 2130 with materials hauled to 4060 and 4480 and brush cutting on 5240.

Purcell said chip and seal work is scheduled to begin the week of Aug. 19, but more than 50 loads of trap rock need to be hauled in to start. “It can be done but I don’t think they’re going to get it done,” he said.

At their meeting Thursday, Purcell said crews would be checking for washouts and low-lying limbs, hauling material to county road 2430, doing maintenance on dump truck No. 21, and patching chip and seal on 5045, 5013 and 5083.

In the Second District, Larson said crews would be grading and hauling rock to county road 4060, brush cutting on 5240, hauling in brown rock and working on loader No. 3.

Collector Shannon VanKirk asked about proceeding with a tax sale of the Timber Industries properties. She has six pieces of property for a tax sale so far.

Dwight Ramsburg, jail project manager for Septagon, came in and is on the agenda at 11 a.m. Aug. 22 for another jail update.

Dennis and Janet Bounds addressed the commission about a peace disturbance and threats involving their neighbors. Skiles and Sheriff Bob Wells advised them it is a civil matter that will have to be taken to court.

Commissioners also had a conference call with the county’s bonding company, LJ Hart, about the next round of financing for the new jail.

Wells discussed the need for a new phone system that would link the sheriff’s office with the new jail phone system. Commissioners voted to seek bids to be opened at 10 a.m. Aug. 19.