Macon wants to hold onto MoDOT district office
Fri, 20 May 2011 20:58:24 GMT —
UPDATED: June 8 at 3:45 p.m.
Following a meeting that lasted several hours the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission decided to move forward with the plan to reorganize the Missouri Department of Transportation.
UPDATED: June 8 at 10:50 a.m.
City, county and state officials will present their final cases to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission in Jefferson City Wednesday starting at 9 a.m.
The commission will vote on whether or not to close the MoDOT District 2 Headquarters in Macon.
Our sister station KTVO out of Kirksville is following this story as well. They spoke with Allan Muncy, Macon City Administrator and he said, "I just hope they use their wisdom and listen to us and work with us on some modification of it if they're going to pass it, at least help us modify the plan where its less painful to rural Missouri, not only in Macon but in Willow Springs and the Joplin area also"
We'll continue to follow this story as it develops, so check this story later and be sure to watch KHQA's News at Five, KHQA's Evening News at 6 p.m. and KHQA's Late News at 10 p.m. for more details.
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UPDATED: June 7 at 9 a.m.
The Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission has a scheduled meeting in Jefferson City, Mo. on Wednesday.
The meeting will finalize decisions about MODOT executive director Kevin Keith's new five year plan. The plan would save the state agency about half a billion dollars.
But to save that money, there would be a reduction in staff of about 12 hundred people.
MODOT says it would need to close three district offices including the one in Macon. MODOT would also close 135 facilities like maintenance sheds and sell more than 700 pieces of equipment.
KHQA will be following the Wednesday meeting and will bring you updates as they become available.
MoDOT plans to cut a half-billion dollars over the next five years.
Twelve hundred employees would lose their jobs ... three district offices would close, and so would more than a hundred maintenance sheds.
Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission wants to keep a district office in Hannibal and close the one in Macon. But that is not sitting well with Macon residents who turned out last night to fight to keep jobs in its city.
With 80 jobs on the line for the city of Macon, residents came out in full force to try to reverse the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission plans to shut down the Macon District Office.
Residents met on Thursday night for the second time in 10 days. The odds appear to be stacked against the city of Maples, but residents are making it clear. They aren't going down without a fight.
Around 275 people packed the Macon Expo Center for round two discussions on how to save the Macon District Office.
Residents have poured in support by writing letters, making phone calls, even creating Facebook groups.
Local resident Barbara Primm told our sister station KTVO's Chris Curtis that the Missouri Transportation Commission might have a flaw and she's onto it.
"There might be a little chink in the armor. When I first heard of this presented a couple of weeks ago I didn't know if there was a chance of modification, but I do feel now that there might be some room for some modification on the plan," Primm said.
With 80 or so jobs at stake, Macon residents have made it clear that want the office to stay in Macon due to the central location of the office. However, it has come down to a choice and it is a choice Macon might not be happy with.
"He said tonight they chose Springfield over Joplin because it TMs centralized. We're centralized so it should carry a lot of weight," said City Administrator Allen Muncy.
"The advantage Macon has is that it's centrally located and if we thought that was the decision point we would put the office in Macon. It could have worked here just as easy as Hannibal. It came down a choice we had to make," said MoDOT Director Kevin Keith.
The facilities remain a hot topic. As of now, Hannibal is getting the nod over Macon. With the Macon facility creeping up in age, those in favor of keeping the office in Macon have said that should not be a game changer.
"This district office has functioned since the 1920's. Its provided good service. They have done over 4 million dollars on updates on the building, so there's no reason why it wouldn't be affective here," Muncy said.
"I have a 30-year-old facility on 100 acres in Hannibal that will serve our needs for 100 years. I have an 80-year-old district office in Macon, that I can close." Keith said.
However, there is hope at the end of the tunnel. MoDOT has made it clear they would like to keep the Macon operation facility open. The state of the art facility would employee up to 75 people.
Yet, residents such as Barbara Primm are still hunting for the best prize of all. The district office to remain in Macon.
"Macon has a history of getting it done. We are a can-do community," Primm said.
As MODOT and the rest of the state deal with the reorganization plan, Missouri governor Jay Nixon says he will be briefed before the commission meets. He says the state agency will still provide good service to taxpayers. "As that just means leaning up and merging some of these offices. I'll get briefed on this before the commission actually votes on this. But I think and I know it's caused some frustration for folks out there. Their concern is that they won't have a MODOT shed as close as they did once before. But we're committed to providing the same level of snow removal, the same level of care that's necessary out there."
MoDOT is supposed to announce its final reorganization plans on June 8 in Jefferson City and we will continue to bring you details.
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Briefings in North Central Missouri
Monday, May 23 - 9:00 a.m.Howard County Commission Meeting, County Courthouse in Fayette(includes legislative and city elected officials and RPC)
Tuesday, May 24 - 9:00 a.m.Grundy County Commission Meeting, County Courthouse in Trenton(includes legislative and city elected officials and RPC)
Thursday, May 26 - 9:15 a.m.Saline County Commission Meeting, County Courthouse in Marshall(includes legislative and city elected officials and RPC)
Thursday, May 26 - 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (formal presentation to begin at 5:30 p.m.)Adair County Pubic Briefing, ATSU University in Kirksville (Mehegan Classroom)
Wednesday, June 1 - 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (formal presentation to begin at 5:30 p.m.)Randolph County Pubic Briefing, High School Gymnasium in Moberly