Dent County may be looking to the Meramec Regional Planning Commission for help in administering $1.8 million in federal money aimed at covering costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Presiding commissioner Darrell Skiles said the CARES Act funding was a major topic of discussion at Thursday’s MRPC board meeting in St. James. “MRPC is trying to unravel what it can be used for and how that can be handled documentation-wise and so forth,” Skiles told the commission Monday.

“MRPC is putting together a proposal, a contract for counties to look at it if they’re interested,” he said. “MRPC is in a pretty good position to be able to do the administration of those funds.”

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That’s especially true for third class counties that lack and auditors and financial staff available in higher classed counties, he said. More guidance from the federal level is expected from MRPC this week. “I do believe (using MRPC will) work very well for the county for trying to get this money out where it needs to go,” he said. “I’m pretty optimistic about that.”

A public hearing on a budget amendment to account for the extra money is set for 9:30 a.m. May 26 in the commission meeting room.

In other business, county clerk Angie Curley reported that Wednesday is the last day to mail out absentee ballots for the June 2 municipal elections. Voters must have a valid excuse allowed by the state. The deadline to register to vote in the Aug. 4 primary is July 8.

Election authorities are still waiting for details on the mail-in voting approved by the legislature last week for the August and November elections. The bill went to the governor for his signature.

Commissioners also approved a $2,321 change order from Meyer Electric to install a magnetic lock on one of the doors at the new jail.

Under commission reports, first district commissioner Dennis Purcell said the district received more than three inches of rain over the weekend, damaging road in some places. Crews were out Monday repairing roads, patching and cutting brush on county road 6220. About five inches fell further south, he said.

Second district commissioner Gary Larson said at least three inches fell in his district. He received one report from a resident of county road 5330 that three inches fell in an hour and 15 minutes Thursday evening.

Patch grading was planned Monday on county roads 5330, 5260, 5300 and others found with damage. Materials will be hauled to 5330 and 5260. “It really poured Saturday night and early Sunday,” he said