By Ethan Colbert
On Monday, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens released his budget recommendations for the upcoming fiscal year.
The Governor recommended that the state’s General Assembly increase funding for elementary and secondary education by $87 million; increase funding for roads and bridges by $162.8 million; and to add $25 million to the state’s jobs and infrastructure fund to pay for key infrastructure projects expected to attract new jobs to the Show-Me State.
One of the things not included in the Governor’s proposal is funding for a portable flood wall in Clarksville. The project is expected to cost $1 million in state funding, with additional funding coming from the federal government and other agencies.
City of Clarksville Mayor JoAnne Smiley, who has helped lobby the state’s General Assembly and other elected leaders for the needed funding, said in an interview last week that she was optimistic that General Assembly will be able to find the money.
“I am optimistic every year,” Smiley said. “I know this is something that needs to be done. I believe in it wholeheartedly and I will continue to support it anyway that I can. Representative Hansen has agreed with me and he has been right there digging alongside me.”
Smiley said she has faith that within the appropriations process in the General Assembly that the floodwall will be included in both the House and Senate’s budget proposals.
“This is a 200-year-old community that is looking to take care of itself,” Smiley said. “We are trying to avoid being a burden and avoid trying to always have to ask the state with our handout whenever we need sandbags or other help. We have done our due diligence in following the path that we were guided to by FEMA and SEMA back in 2008. We have followed that path. We know what we want. We believe in it. We know it is needed to help keep Clarksville alive.”
According to previous Times reporting, the City of Clarksville has selected American manufacturer EKO Flood USA for its removable flood wall. The company boasts on its website that a team of 30 workers can install 2,125 square feet of the temporary wall within an hour.
Smiley said when the city does eventually have the temporary flood wall that it will change the dynamic of the eastern Pike County community.
“I believe that this little town, who has survived many times, would do well to be example for other cities on taking care of itself,” Smiley said. “If we could have that wall — a wall that is provable to be workable and maintainable — we would no longer be calling for assistance from state and federal agencies. However, to reach that place, we need the state to provide us the money.”
The company originally submitted a proposal in 2008 and continues to honor that proposal and pricing, according to Smiley.
“They believe in what we are trying to do,” Smiley said. ‘What we are trying to do’ in Clarksville is to try and hold onto the community’s artisans, many of whom, have left the city and headed to other communities such as Ste. Genevieve or Hermann.
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