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

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.

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One Response to “Marble Hill officials disagree over paving, copier during heated council meeting”

  1. AlexM Says:

    Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

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