Missouri Republicans have long been the party of less government, less bureaucracy, less…..hassle from the state.

                    Bruce Wallace

Now is the opportunity for Republicans to ride onto the scene like the cavalry coming to the rescue of the oppressed settlers in their covered wagons, beseiged by wild Indians.

It is not a scene from an old Hollywood western movie, but a very real dilemma for Ashland’s Mayor Gene Rhorer.

The City of Ashland has taken all of the necessary steps – and re-traced some of those steps – in order to get a state loan and a building permit from the Department of Natural Resources for a mechanized sewer plant. This process is going into its third year.

Don’t think for a minute that the City of Ashland has somehow bungled this. That’s not even close to being true as the engineering work, cost study analysis, etc. has been done by Allstate Consultants, a very professional engineering firm who has done all the math, so to speak. Allstate has done similar projects in other Missouri communities and has done so successfully.

As Mayor Rhorer noted in today’s page one story, part of the problem might be that he has worked with three different DNR project engineers. It also could be that cuts at various levels of state government could be causing the delays.

Regardless, a municipality should be able to get plans written and approved for a sewer plant in the span of two years. Recently, Rhorer said, DNR asked the city for its new timeline for construction. Rhorer responded, “If they would give me an idea as to when we might get the loan and the construction permit, I’d be happy to provide another timeline.”

This is precisely the scenario Gov. Eric Greitens was talking about when he ran for election:

“When government over-regulates, over taxes, over spends, overreaches—it hurts our businesses, damages our hospitals, injures our middle class, and holds back those struggling to make it into the middle class,” Greitens said on his campaign web site. “We must eliminate burdensome regulations that are destroying jobs right here at home.”

Sounds as though this sewer logjam was tailor-made for Gov. Greitens, along with Sen. Caleb Rowden and newly-elected Sara Walsh. This is an opportunity for them to cut through the red tape and enable the City of Ashland to get their permit very soon, in order to keep their commitments to developers.

Will the governor personally see to it that the City of Ashland and DNR get the permitting process rolling so we can build the sewer plant the state has mandated?

Or will the city be forced, due to timing, to seek private financing – at a higher cost – to build the sewer plant?

The buck stops with you, Gov. Greitens. The buck stops with you, Sen. Rowden and Rep. Walsh.

Let’s see how the Republican leadership can save the wagon train. Otherwise, ‘ya’ll’ are just all hat and no cattle and the Indians are burning the covered wagons.

Bruce Wallace