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County officials testify on behalf of bills to keep funds local

Posted on Thursday, March 18, 2021 at 1:49 pm

From left to right are Andy Arnold of Arnold & Associates; Audrain County Presiding Commissioner Steve Hobbs; State Sen. Jeanie Riddle and her service dog, Gracie; Audrain County Assessor Missy Maupin; and Van-Far Superintendent John Fortney. Submitted.

From left to right are Audrain County Presiding Commissioner Steve Hobbs; Audrain County Assessor Missy Maupin; Rep. Kent Haden; Audrain Eastern District Commissioner Alan Winders; and Van-Far Superintendent John Fortney. Submitted.

By Barry Dalton

Officials from Audrain County and the Van-Far School District testified on behalf of two bills in Jefferson City on Thursday, March 11, to keep Ameren payments to the county local after December 2022.

House Bill 524 is sponsored by State Rep. Kent Haden and Senate Bill 92 is sponsored by State Sen. Jeanie Riddle. If approved, the bills would allow local governments that pass Chapter 100 Bonds to keep payments permanently local rather than have them assessed statewide by the Missouri State Tax Commission.

“I have talked to all members of the House Utilities Committee,” said Haden. “I think we have a good chance of getting this out of the committee.  The testimony of the local officials was very important.”

Van-Far Superintendent John Fortney said that he and the county officials were encouraged by the reception they received while testifying in front of both the Missouri House and Missouri Senate committees considering the bills.

“The biggest thing is being heard,” said Fortney. “And we really felt like, coming back, that both committees really listened to us. I think we were able to convey how important that money is to the success and the development of the school district [and county service agencies] long term.”

County officials who testified during the day were Assessor Missy Maupin, Van-Far Superintendent John Fortney and County Commissioners Steve Hobbs and Alan Winders.

Ameren payments for the Vandalia peaking station are currently distributed to the Van-Far School District ($271,593.14), Tri-County Nursing Home ($23,281.60), the Vandalia Ambulance District ($22,582.03), the Vandalia Special Road ($31,849.50), the Audrain Library ($18,997.66), Audrain Developmental Disability Services ($18,997.66), State of Missouri ($4,382.81), Audrain County General Revenue ($14,697.23), Audrain Special Road and Bridge ($24,978.70).

Ameren payments for the Peno Creek peaking station are distributed to the City of Bowling Green ($165,742), Pike County ($9,922) and the Bowling Green School District ($24,336).

“We appreciate the efforts of both Sen. Riddle and Rep. Haden in moving these important bills forward,” said Winders.