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story.lead_photo.caption Backers of a proposed Missouri River port in or near Jefferson City are working to advance the project. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

The Jefferson City Council said Monday evening it would set aside funds to help pay for a grant match that would help the Heartland Port Authority of Central Missouri.

The council directed City Administrator Steve Crowell to set aside up to $7,000, which would go toward paying a portion of the local match required for a grant through the state Department of Agriculture's Missouri Agricultural and Small Business Development Authority.

The $183,700 grant requires a 10 percent local match of $18,370, Ward 2 Councilman Rick Mihalevich told the News Tribune.

If received, the Heartland Port Authority of Central Missouri Board plans to use the grant to help pay for some detailed planning and a professional business plan.

The Missouri Soybean Council agreed to pay $5,000 of the 10 percent match, said Mihalevich, who also chairs the Heartland Port Authority of Central Missouri Board. The Cole and Callaway county commissions and Jefferson City Council could split the remaining amount — about $4,457 each — Mihalevich added.

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Mihalevich believes the Cole County Commission will agree to provide funds for the match but is unsure about Callaway County Commission.

If the Callaway County Commission does not agree to the match, Mihalevich said, the Jefferson City Council and Cole County Commission would have to pay $6,685 each to complete that 10 percent match.

The possible $7,000 would come from internal savings within the current city budget, Crowell said.

The Port Authority Board hopes to submit the application at the end of this month and learn whether it received the grant by the end of June, Mihalevich said.

The Missouri Legislature failed to pass a bill that would have transferred 116 acres of state-owned land east of the Ike Skelton Training Facility in Jefferson City to the Heartland Port Authority this year. The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Travis Fitzwater, R-Holts Summit, passed the House but died on the Senate calendar.

Randy Allen, president of the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce, previously told the News Tribune he does not believe the bill's failure this year will affect the board's chances of getting grant funding.

State Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, and Fitzwater plan to introduce the bill again next year.

Street resurfacing contract approved

The City Council also approved a $909,116 construction contract with Jefferson Asphalt Company on Monday to complete the city's 2019 street resurfacing project. The 2019 project list contains nearly 15 street sections.

The 2019 and 2020 list does not include Georgetown Road, something Ward 4 Councilman Carlos Graham said worries him since "that street and that area is torn up." City staff discussed making improvements to that road and was surprised it was not on either list, he added.

"I am very concerned (about) this list, and I do not support this," he said. "I'm not saying Gettysburg needs it but over in the Georgetown area, there are some very serious concerns but I can't sit here and say, 'I agree with this' when I don't."

Graham voted in favor of the contract, though.

Matt Morasch, Jefferson City Public Works and Planning Department director, said Georgetown Road and other roads in that area are concrete. They have done some patchwork but would like to try a new patchwork product in that area later this year, he added.

While the city would like to overlay more streets, Morasch said, there are limited funds.

Also on Monday, the council approved renaming West Miller Street (Rear), from its intersection with Hart Street to its intersection with West Miller Street, to Courtney Way. The street name change will help eliminate confusion, said Sonny Sanders, Jefferson City Planning and Protective Services Department director.

The council also authorized an agreement between the city and Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission to provide operating assistance for the air traffic control tower at the Jefferson City Memorial Airport.

The Missouri Department of Transportation would reimburse the city up to 50 percent — or up to $50,000 — for locally incurred expenses from the air traffic control tower operations, the agreement states.