Big Turn Out for Last Night’s Public Hearings!

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

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