Archive for August, 2008

What the ??? !!!

August 30, 2008

I never really paid attention to the spelling at Kelly’s Korner Kupboard, a salvage grocery store in Marble Hill until this morning.

Kelly’s moved to a new location in town a couple of months ago, but the building that used to house the store, still carries its name.

I was returning from Cape Girardeau this afternoon and noticed that “certain letters” of the store name had been high-lighted. I’m guessing it took place sometime late last night or early this morning.

I called City Hall and asked the employee that answered who owned the property and then asked if they had driven past it today.

“Yes” the employee answered and then asked, “why?”

I stated that there might be a problem and asked, “You didn’t notice that the “K’s” had been highlighted in white?”

The employee stated that they would contact the police A.S.A.P.

I’m guessing they must have contacted the property owner A.S.A.P. as well, for within an hour of contacting City Hall, the “K’s” had been painted over to match the other letters.

In fact, apparently when I snapped this picture, workers were already preparing to “un do” the vandalism, (note the ladder by the store awning).

What amazes me is that no one else noticed the work of last night’s artist (s?).  At least I can say that this is one problem the city worked quickly to resolve!

Clint E. Lacy

Alderman Ward I

Marble Hill, Missouri

Proposed beer, wine ordinance stirs debate in Marble Hill

August 29, 2008

From the Southeast Missourian Newspaper:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

 

MARBLE HILL, Mo. — An ordinance allowing Marble Hill to sell beer and wine at the Harvest Festival became a hot-button issue with city officials and the public last week during two special hearings.

According to Donnia Mayfield, the Bollinger County Chamber of Commerce president, the proposed ordinance would allow the festival beer and wine tasting provided by Thousand Oaks Winery in Patton, Mo., and at future special city events. The provision also included several safety measures, including a roped-off section for drinking separated from the festival. Police were to be monitoring the area, as well.

But because a majority of the city council was not present to vote during Aug. 18’s special meeting, the issue did not come to a head until a special session called by Mayor Russell Masterson for Friday. During what has been described as a heated debate, the ordinance failed to pass with only Ward 1 Alderman Clint Lacy voting yes”

You can read the whole story by CLICKING HERE by the way, the debate did not end at City Hall, there are many comments in this article, including some by me that contain details the paper did not include.

Clint E. Lacy

Alderman Ward I

Marble Hill, Missouri

The Definition of Hypocrisy…

August 24, 2008

We had a special meeting last Friday night at 5:00 pm at City Hall, since the last meeting two bills had to be tabled because a majority of the City Council was not present to agree on them .

The meeting began with the discussion of property taxes. Again the mayor reiterated that the state sets the tax rate, and added that if we do not approve the tax rate (based on a city’s tax revenue) , the assessor could not determine city property taxes…

So… just like in the last meeting, and as promised, I voted “no”…again.  My reasoning is if we can not adequately maintain our fair little city through mismanagement, why tax the property owners?

Now, before delving into the second issue which would be to vote on an ordinance that would allow the city to issue a “caterer’s permit”, so that beer and wine could be sold at events.

The provision came with protective measures, such as a roped off area in which drinkers would be contained , and police protection. The event would also be located at a different park than the location of the Fall Festival events.

What is funny about this measure is that when it was first proposed, everyone of the city council members supported it.

Alderman Sears, who originally made the motion to take a vote on it, withdrew his support last meeting stating that he had constituents that did not want it to pass.

As the second portion of the meeting started, Mayor Masterson made it clear that the individual board members would state their position and then the public would have a chance to give us their input.

Alderman Sears was first , stating that he wouldn’t mind visiting the issue at a later date and stating that he would support issuing a permit for “one whine tasting” at a future date.

I was called upon next and began by stating that I do consume adult beverages from time to time, and would feel like a hypocrite if I voted against the measure. I also stated that security measures were in place and that a whine tasting would generate revenue in the City and would also support the Thousand Oaks Winery in Patton, thereby helping county revenue as well.

It was my belief that a “wine tasting” event would bring more people to our town during Fall Festival, and that those people would then patronize our local businesses.

I added that if the experiment did not work as planned we could always rescend the ordinance at a later date.

Joel Southwhick was next to speak and admitted that he too drinks alcoholic beverages on occasion but then stated that he felt he must do what is best for the city and would oppose it.

Last but not least was Tim McCain who stated he was absent the last meeting, and that was why we were having to revisit the issue, he too opposed the issue.

The mayor then called on Fred Ritter, Pastor of the First Baptist Church. Mr. Ritter was adamant about his opposition to allowing alcohol to be sold at the Fall Festival, stating that we have two taverns in town for those who like to drink.

Members of several area churches also spoke in opposition, along with members of the Marble Hill Optimist Club.

One gentleman, stated that his son had been injured by a drunk driver and now had blurred vision as a result, he said the night that it happened the Marble Hill Police had gotten the Liscence Plate number, but could not locate the driver.

I asked if he ever traveled Hwy. 34 or Hwy. 25 and he answered by stating, “yes”.

I responded by stating that any accident like the one suffered by his son could happen anywhere, the debate got pretty heated between us, ending with me telling him I didn’t appreciate him degrading our police officers, and he telling me he didn’t come to the meeting to argue with me. (It should be noted that after the meeting I apologized to this gentleman for the heated discussion)

One woman, of whom I do not know her affiliation, stated that her daughter had been involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver on Hwy 67. She then asked me if I had children and I stated “yes”.

She responded by stating, “Well I hope you never have to go through what I had to go through”, in a tone that suggested that maybe deep down inside of her, she did wish harm on my children.

Several other citizens voiced opposition including the Optimist Club, which is ironic, given the fact that they allow people to drink beer in between events at their horse shows.

Chester Hays, Democratic candidate for County Assessor raised his hand to speak, was called upon, promtply turned red faced and began screaming that he was a resident, a tax payer and that he was against the selling of alcohol at parks paid for by the taxpayers. (It is my belief that Chester wasn’t really that concerned with drinking, but was merely using the opportunity to troll for votes)

Last but not least was a lady, who stated that, “She hoped that the two council members who drink alcohol weren’t the cause of an accident someday”.

This was too much for me to handle, I sharply responded by stating, “Look lady” at which time the mayor shut me down and a vote was called.

Alderman Sears: “No”

Alderman Lacy: “Yes”

Alderman McCain “No”

Alderman Southwick “No”

This meeting was the very definition of hypocrisy. An optimist club that allows drinking at their horse shows, yet does not want a “wine tasting” event, or a beer wagon during Fall Festival, and a group of church members who sit under a pastor that supports a woman’s right to have an abortion, come unglued about a “wine tasting”.

Let’s not forget that the crowd was so cruel that the President of the Bollinger County Chamber of Commerce left mid-way through the meeting, and the people were laughing about it afterwards.

Now I know why there are no new businesses coming into town.

Sorry folks, but when I ran for office I stated that I was a Jeffersonian. I truly believe that our country’s laws were rooted in Christianity, but I also know that America is a Constitutional Republic, not a theocracy and I do not “flip flop” on issues.

Clint Lacy

Alderman Ward I

Marble Hill

Payback?

August 21, 2008

Who hasn’t forgotten to drop a utility bill off at one time or another in their lifetime?

The monthly waterbill was due to be paid by the 19th of the month and I hate to say it, but I forgot to drop mine off.  No problem, just drop it off in the morning right? It shouldn’t be a problem, or so we thought.

My wife and I asked a relative of ours if they would mind running by City Hall and paying the water bill for us in the morning.

I started my day off at 5:00 am, my wife started hers off at 5:30 am.  Money was left with our relative to go to City Hall and pay the bill, but when she got there at approximately 9:30 am the City Collector stated that an additional $20.00 was due  because my water had been cut off.

It is interesting that shortly upon leaving to pay the bill, the water was running, and after paying the $20.00 “reconnect” fee the water was still on at the house.

The relative told my wife this, my wife called City Hall and the Collector said, no problem just have her come back and get her $20.00, but when she did so, she was informed that the water had been “cut off”. Apparently Assitant City Administrator Shrum verified that it had been cut off, and a separate party that I contacted talked to the maintenance workers in charge of doing so, and they verified this.

I have no proof whether or not it indeed , had been cut off, so I just have to take their word for it, that being said, if it had been, it was definitely one of the biggest “cut off / reconnects” in City History.

The $20.00 really isn’t the point, I just wonder if my name being at the top of the cut off list, even before the bill could be paid, shortly after City Hall was opened, had anything to do with the front page of today’s “Banner Press” newspaper…

City Hall packed

City Hall "packed"

From today’s Banner Press Newspaper August 20, 2008…

“City Sounds Off on Water , Sewage rates”:

“City of Marble Hill public hearings were packed full Monday evening as residents filed into the small City Hall conference room to be heard on proposed raised water and weage rates. After a lengthy discussion between city officials and residents, the city council went into closed session to discuss water rates and decided to table the issue for a vote during the September meeting.

The raising of water and sewage rates was proposed by a study conducted by Smith and Company Engineers of Cap Girardeau, Mo. The results of the study recommended that the base water fee per 2500 gallons be raised  from $9.18 to $16.75.

Smith and Company also recommended that the base wastewater fee per 2500 gallons be raised from $9.18 to $18.50.

‘In the last four months we have found things that have been left for years’- Mayor Russel Masterson said…’Some of our sewer lines were put in by whomever built the house in whatever fashion they wanted to put them in and now in and now we have to fix them ‘ he said

‘ It’s been that way for years and now we’re being called on to deal with it’ , the mayor said.

Alderman Lacy rallied city residents to attend Monday night public hearings and let their voices be heard. Lacy said he’s not convinced the city has exhausted all efforts to fix the water problems either without raising rates or with the smallest inconvenience possible to residents.

” I believe our residents deserve better than what they are receiving “, he said.

Lacy said he’s researched grant money that is available for small cities such as Marble Hill. However, he said he’s not getting assistance from city employees that he needs in order to apply for grants.

“I have asked for help in filling out grants and cost estimates for grants and quite frankly I am not getting much help, ” Lacy said.

The story is pretty lengthy , but I think you can get the “jist” of it, so to speak. There is one other part of this story I would like to quote…

“As the city’s grant writer , city administrative assistant Gary Shrum couldn’t remember the last time he applied for a grant that would  assist in the repair, maintenance or replacement of city water or sewage lines…

‘ I think we applied in 2002, but I can’t be sure ,’ Shrum said.

Maybe it was the fact that I wrote an article urging everyone who is worried about their water and sewage rates to come to the public hearing and make their voices heard.

Or maybe it was something I said.

Another thought crosses my mind, how come my water is cut off, the very day that the report about the public hearings is on the front page of the paper?

Why is it that my neighbor has been waiting two months to have his culvert cleaned out?

When I ask why the city hasn’t cleaned out the culvert I am told it is because the city is “behind” on executing its work orders.

Yet there is no problem rushing to my home and cutting off my water before 9:00 a.m. and rushing back to “reconnect” it before 11:00 am?

Maybe it is all one big coincidence (and it could very well be), but what is on my mind is this; Are there any other residents of Marble Hill that are having problems dealing with City Hall?

If so please leave a comment on this post , or email me at: mobushwhacker@yahoo.com

Once again, many thanks to the citizens who cared enough to take a stand and make their voices heard, and to Candice Davis, Editor of the Banner Press, for reporting this event.

Clint E. Lacy

Alderman Ward I

Marble Hill, Missouri

Big Turn Out for Last Night’s Public Hearings!

August 20, 2008

Last night was a very good night. The public got involved in a very big way, City Hall was full and we ran out of chairs for folks. That’s what it is all about.

The first hearing was regarding property tax and personal property tax rates. Mayor Masterson started by stating that the State of Missouri, sets our city property and personal property tax rates, based on the city’s revenue and that the County Assessor, determines what your property taxes will be.

I asked the Mayor, “If the State sets our property tax rates, how come we are having a vote on it?”

I guess it was just one of those formality, bureaucratic things, but as the vote was being taken, I began to wonder “what would happen if I voted no on this?”, so I did.

My reasoning was that if we had to vote on it, I sure wasn’t going to willingly increase our property taxes.

A unique situation arose, as Alderman McCain was absent, and seeing how Aldermen Sears and Southwick voted “Yes”, the bill did not pass. According to our City Attorney, Stephen Gray (who consulted the City Ordinance book), in order for an ordinance to pass, it has to receive a “yes” vote from a majority of the City Council members, not a majority of the members present.

The measure will be brought up again at the September meeting, where it will most likely receive enough votes, (but not from me). I intend to vote “no” again, to put the burden of proof on the state, and to exercise my belief in self-government.

During the water and sewer rate pubic hearing, it was standing room only in our little City Hall, and I am very proud that so many citizens turned out to voice their opinions. There were some very heated discussions between citizens and the City, as well as some very heated discussions between myself and my fellow civil servants. I believe that the presence of so many citizens will no doubt have an effect on what the water and sewer rates will be. (A vote on the water and sewer rates will be taken at our September meeting).

The City Council voted to vacate a portion of Mound St. at the request of surrounding property owners.

The City Council also voted to require City Clerk Carolyn Surface to work 40 hours per week.

The City Council also voted to set business hours at City Hall as being from 9:00am to 5:00pm

A measure to allow “utility vehicles and golf carts” to drive on City Streets was tabled, as City Attorney Stephen Gray stated that a State Law that would have allowed this type of vehicles on the road, did not come to a vote in the last legislative session. This means, that we will have to wait until the legislature reconvenes in January.  We certainly do not want to sell citizens permits to drive utility vehicles on our streets, only to have the State Patrol write them tickets for doing so.

An ordinance that would have allowed sales of beer and wine at events held in our city met the same fate as the state required property tax bill. As Alderman McCain was absent, a majority of the City Council was not present.

Alderman Sears stated that some of his constituents asked him not to vote for this ordinance, as they did not want the drinking of alcohol within our city during events.

I and Mr. Southwick voted for this ordinance, I doing so, because I don’t think it would hurt anything.

Sorry for this brief post, but there should be newspaper coverage of Monday night’s public hearings tomorrow, and I will post them in their entirety.

Once again, thanks to all of the citizens who came down to City Hall Monday night, believe me, your voices did make a difference, and as I said at the meeting, you, the citizens hold the power over your government.

Clint Lacy

Ward I Alderman

Lacy Cares for Marble Hill

August 18, 2008

From the Sunday August 17th, 2008 Southeast Missourian Newspaper…

“Lacy cares for Marble Hill

Sunday, August 17, 2008

 

To the editor:

In response to the story “Marble Hill officials disagree over paving, copier during heated council meeting”: Unlike others, Alderman Clint Lacy is going to do what’s right for the city.

The people of Marble Hill made a wise choice when they elected him. Mr. Lacy will continue to ask the hard questions and no doubt ruffle a few feathers. However, as long as he is on the board of aldermen you can rest assured Marble Hill has one person who is looking out for Marble Hill. I know him well.

PAUL GARRISON, Lake Ozark, Mo. “

Admittedly, Paul is a good friend, and I thank him for the confidence, never the less, he is correct, I do care about Marble Hill and I am doing everything within my power to make things better.

Grants, loan to improve Scott County water system…

August 16, 2008

From the Southeast Missourian newspaper’s August 16, 2008 edition…

Saturday, August 16, 2008 

Grants, loan to improve Scott Co. water system

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will make available two grants and a loan to Scott County Water Supply District No. 4, according to a news release from U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson’s office. The grants allot $1,673,970 for use in water and environmental programs. The grant money will be in addition to a $2,258 loan from the USDA. “This funding will help connect people in Scott County to a clean, reliable source of water as we expand and improve the infrastructure in the water supply district,” Emerson said in a prepared statement. The project involves 145 miles of water lines, a well and storage tank being added to the District’s system. The new system will serve 718 households and two public schools. “Anything that’s going to benefit the project is a good thing,” said Scott County Commissioner Dennis E. Ziegenhorn.”

You might be wondering what this has to do with Marble Hill? Nothing, except for the fact that it proves that there is money out there to improve water and sewer systems in Marble Hill, and as I predicted, if we don’t apply for it, someone else will.

Scott County just got a very large chunk of it, but according to Assistant Administrator Shrum, a study to estimate the cost of such a project in our town would cost $10,000.

That could have been our million dollar water and sewer improvement project.

A Notice to the Citizens of Marble Hill, Missouri

August 16, 2008

The following article appeared in the Banner Press Newspaper’s Wed. August 13th, 2008…

“To the Citizens of Marble Hill, Missouri:

 
On Monday August 18th, a public hearing will be held at City Hall regarding tax rates and water rates.
 
The notices I received state (in part)that:
 
“A Public Hearing will be held on Monday, August 18,2008 at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall Marble Hill, Missouri. At this time, citizens may be heard on property tax rates proposed to be set  by the City of Marble Hill
 
and
 
“Whereareas the Board of Aldermen of the City of Marble Hill, Missouri , have received a rate study for water and wastewater to determine what needs to be charged to the City of Marble Hill’s customers in order for the respective departments to maintain a steady balance in the accounts. Over the years the water and wastewater legers have been decreasing and the City of Marble Hill needs to make certain that these accounts have the proper funding in place to operate, maintain and make improvements to the systems”
 
According to the study conducted by Smith and Company Engineers of Cape Girardeau Missouri , which recommends that the base water fee of 2500 gallons be raised from $9.18 to $16.75.
 
Smith and Company also recommends that the base waste water fee of 2500 gallons be raised from $9.09 to $18.50.
 
In short Smith and Company recommends that the City of Marble Hill, nearly double your water and sewer fees.
 
It was recommended that the Board of Aldermen lower its minimum rate structure to “minimize the impact to lower income citizens on a fixed income”.
 
” a Public Hearing is set for the purpose of receiving any comments concerning the increased rates for water and wastewater. Said Public Hearing is to be held at City Hall at 302 Union Street on Monday, August 18,2008 at 6:30 pm”
 
There are two schools of thought that these issues can be approached by. Regarding property tax rates:
 
Choice “A”: The City is losing income and we needs to increase our tax base by raising property taxes.
 
Choice “B”: Raising the City’s property taxes will drive more potential and existing home owners and businesses away from Marble Hill, by keeping the rates low, our area will be more attractive to future residents and businesses.
 
Regarding Water and Sewer rates:
 
Choice “A”  Raising Water and Sewer rates will help the city to better maintain a “steady” balance on its accounts and help the city maintain an aging infrastructure.
 
Choice “B”  The city’s Water and Sewer systems have been neglected for years, and if previous City Councils had not neglected them, our infrastructure would not be in the shape that it is today. The city should first aggressively pursue all grants and resources available to replace our aging water and sewer systems, before doubling water and sewer rates.
 
As an alderman, I can not tell you to attend these meetings, or for that matter tell you what you should say to the council, what I can do is give you my opinion on the situation.
 
I believe our property tax rates should remain as they are. Compared to other communities, our property taxes are low, in short, they are the only thing we have going for us, in terms of attracting new business and residents.
 
I believe that our citizens deserve better than what they have been receiving. I believe we should do everything within our power to try and capture some of the grant money that is floating around out there, if we don’t, another city will.  I feel we should not ask our residents to willingly pay double their existing water and sewer rates and get nothing in return for it.
 
I have asked for help in filling out grants and cost estimates for grants, and quite frankly I am not getting much help in this regard. I am appealing to the public, if anyone in the surrounding community is knowledgeable enough to help me calculate the estimated cost to replace our water and sewer infrastructure please contact me at:
573-238-2266 or at my cell phone # which is: 573-450-0276 , you can also reach me by email at: clintlacy2@yahoo.com
 
When I ran for office it was on a simple platform of open government and Jeffersonian principles, remember you the citizens elect your city government , which means , that you the citizens hold the power.
 
If these issues are important to you then please attend the meetings on August 18th, 2008 starting at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall and make sure that your voices are heard.
 
Sincerely,
Clint E. Lacy
Ward I alderman
City of Marble Hill, Missouri”
I will put this as plainly as I possibly can… if you do not want your property taxes to increase and if you do not want your water and sewer rates to DOUBLE, then make every effort to be at City Hall on Monday August 18th, 2008 at 6:00 pm.
The only way we can fix our town, is to have our citizens come to the meetings and make their voices heard.

Marble Hill officials disagree over paving, copier during heated council meeting

August 16, 2008

From the August 14th, 2008 issue of the Southeast Missourian newspaper…

Thursday, August 14, 2008

 

Marble Hill aldermen, Mayor Russell Masterson and Gary Shrum, the city’s administrative assistant, participated in a heated council meeting Monday evening.

Ward I Alderman Clint Lacy asked questions regarding city expenditures and proposed city street repairs. Lacy said a copy machine at the city pool is listed as costing the city $1,500 per month to lease. He said he was told city departments shared the cost of the copier, but did not see on the city budget or expenditure lists where other departments were contributing to the lease costs.

Shrum brought before the aldermen a list of city streets to be repaved, but Lacy said Shrum’s list did not represent the list Lacy made months earlier and brought to Shrum.

“I came up with a list of streets that needed to be paved and a lot of them aren’t on the list,” Lacy said. The two disagreed on the need to repave a portion of Railway Street. Lacy said other residential streets are in worse condition, but Shrum said Railway Street needs the repair first because of a higher volume of traffic.

“I put down the worst streets we have in town,” Shrum said.

Shrum said the list may not look like a lot of improvements, but a few years ago funds went a lot further toward paving streets.

“I think in the end, the council should decide what streets need to be paved,” Lacy said.

When the mayor called the issue to a vote, the board voted to approve a modified version of Shrum’s list, with one vote, Lacy’s, opposed.

In regard to sewer line problems in Marble Hill, Lacy said he found state reserve funds that have been allocated for repairs and upgrades within the state of Missouri. He said he needs an estimate on how much it will cost to replace water and city lines throughout the town, before he can apply for the state assistance.

Shrum said a study to estimate the cost of replacing new lines would cost tens of thousands of dollars. But Lacy insisted the city is in dire need of repairs to the water, sewer lines and streets.

“Our streets are falling apart, our water lines are falling apart, and I don’t think we can just sit here any longer,” Lacy said.

Resident complaints

Marble Hill resident and property owner Clifton Trentham brought copies of an easement agreement he and his late wife, Irene, made with the City of Marble Hill in 1976. Trentham said sewer lines are destroying parts of his rental property across from Country Mart and next to the USDA offices in Marble Hill. He said according to the easement agreement, the city agreed to maintain them when they were put in decades ago.

“I know what’s wrong with the line, but I’ve had to fight with the city every time it stopped up,” he said.

“I hear that all the time,” Masterson said. “I want to stop that ‘fight with the city’ wording and get some agreement with the city and residents.” Masterson promised Trentham that he and Shrum would visit the property within a week of the Monday meeting to view the damage and assess what the city can do to correct it.

“We’ll look and make a determination of what it will take to fix it, if it’s our place to fix it, and we’ll let you know what can happen as soon as we can,” Masterson said.

Trentham said he was made a similar promise at the July city council meeting and was discouraged that perhaps nothing would be done about the problem.

“For the past five months we’ve been putting out fires, but we’re going to take care of it,” Masterson said.

The mayor told Trentham he isn’t the only resident with complaints of sewer problems, and that a grand scale fix for the city is not going to be available anytime soon.

Also discussed at the meeting was the issue of dog licensing and enforcing leash laws within city limits.

“We have a problem with dogs and cats in Marble Hill,” Masterson said. “We have a nuisance ordinance and I would like to see people obey the law and license their dogs.”

New Ordinances

City Attorney Stephen Gray brought before the council and ordinance

proposing the city manager be allowed to issue temporary permits to caterers

and other persons holding licenses to sell intoxicating liquor by the drink

at retail for consumption during special events held in city parks.

“The word ‘alcohol’ bothers me because it sounds like it approves anything,”

Masterson said about the proposed ordinance.

Gray suggested limiting the allowance to beer and wine because wine is

becoming a growing industry in rural areas in Missouri, he said.

After discussion, the ordinance was tabled for a vote at the special meeting

scheduled for Monday, Aug. 18.

Special hearings

Special hearings are scheduled for 6:00, 6:15 and 6:30 p.m., Monday Aug. 18,

at City Hall where citizens may be heard on property tax rates proposed to

be set and also concerning proposed increased rates for water and

wastewater. For more information on these special hearings, contact City

Hall at 238-3517.


Related Links

 

It is unfortunate that I could not get the rest of my fellow council members to take back control of our streets from Assistant City Administrator Shrum.  The “volume of traffic” should not matter in regards to what streets should be paved. One taxpayer is no more important (or unimportant) than another, therefore the condition of the streets should be the only deciding factor. The worst streets should be paved first, no matter their location, the town can not be fixed through favoritism, or cowardice for that matter.