A bridge that replaced one destroyed. (File photo)

The Missouri attorney general says taxpayers were not properly notified last July when two members of the Upton Township board decided to destroy a $22,500 bridge and replace it.

The finding is contained in a letter received by the township board and the Texas County prosecutor.

After concerns about the weight limit, two board members, Virginia Austin and Robert Gladden, decided to demolition it and replace it with a gravel and tin horn bridge. Under the decision, the township provided the tin horns after an agreement was reached with Clarence “Rocky” Dailing for the work.

“Based on our review of the board’s meeting notices and agendas, as well as the Houston Herald’s meeting notice, we conclude that the meeting of July 12, 2012, was held without adequate public notice,” wrote Patricia C. Churchill, chief counsel, governmental affairs decision. “Though board members Gladden and Austin state that they were unaware of the change in meeting date, Mr. Levi Stallcup informed both board members Gladden and Austin that the public notice in the newspaper stated the meeting was scheduled for July 16, 2012. Section 610.020.2, RSMo., requires that the notice be given at least 24 hours prior to the commencement of any meeting unless for good cause such notice is impossible or impractical. In this case, 24 hours notice was neither impossible or impractical. Failure to post adequate notice denied citizens the opportunity to attend the board meeting, which ultimately led to the demolition of a bridge that had been recently constructed at a cost of approximately $22,500 paid for by Upton Township.”

The attorney general’s office proposes in its Feb. 25 letter for the board to receive Sunshine Law training presented by its office or a presenter approved by it and to provide copies of the July 12 meeting minutes at no cost to the public.”

Failure to post adequate notice denied citizens the opportunity to attend the board meeting, which ultimately led to the demolition of a bridge that had been recently constructed at a cost of approximately $22,500 paid for by Upton Township.”

PDF: Attorney general’s letter

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