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The City of Marble Hill recently purchased this 2005 Chevy Trailblazer from Lutesville Motor Company in Marble Hill for $8,150. During the January 12, 2009  Board of Alderman meeting  Officer Dettmer of the Marble Hill Police Department approached the Board seeking approval to buy a 2005 Chevy Trailblazer to replace the 1997 MH#4 police car, stating that the City sometimes has to assist the County on calls and that given the fact of the terrain of the City the Police Department needs a four wheel drive vehicle during inclement weather.

Notes from January 12, 2009 Public Hearing & Board Meeting…

The City of Marble Hill, Jan 12, Board of Aldermen Meeting began at 6:00 pm with Mayor Masterson wishing the Aldermen, Staff and Citizens a happy and productive new year. A roll call confirmed that all aldermen were present and the Board approved the previous months minutes.

Next Jim Eftink, CPA gave a presentation to the Board. Perhaps Mayor Masteron’s wish for “happy” and “productive” New Year might be coming true. According to Eftink, the City of Marble Hill’s revenue, (through sales and fuel taxes) have been increasing during a time when many communities are seeing a decline in revenue.

Next Catherine Walters from Rural Development approached the Board stating that recently the City had applied for a grant for a new tornado siren, however she found that the City is in a very unusual position, because according to median household income of the residents, the City qualifies for the grant, however; Walters stated that, “The City is doing very well financially compared to other cities in the area” and therefore did not qualify for the grant.

Walters stated that the City could form a non for profit organization and would qualify for a loan to purchase the new siren at an interest rate of 4.5%.

At 6:29 pm the Board of Aldermen went into closed session to discuss legal matters. Unfortunately, that is all I can say about this given the fact that State law forbids me from disclosing the details of the meeting.

Regular session reconvened at 7:27 pm and the Marble Hill Fire Department made a presentation to the Board of Alderman about purchasing a new fire engine. Representing the fire department were Jim Bollinger, Calvin Troxle, Darrell Schell and Kenny Simmons.

The Fire Department is seeking to replace Engine #1 which is a 1989 model and has been in service for 20 years. The Fire Department has stated that the engine is underpowered and no longer meets the department’s needs.

Troxle stated that the Fire Department has found a 1995 fire engine located in Springfield , Va. That can be purchased for $79,900 and that they would like to finance the engine through People’s Bank for $87,000, the extra money being used to make some moderate upgrades to the new engine such as lettering, new headsets and additional fire hoses.

Troxle added that the new engine included a fully enclosed , belted cab which would be a safety feature for fire department members as well as a 20% increase in pumping capacity and a diesel generator.

The yearly payment on the old engine is $12,320 and will be paid off in July. The yearly payment on the new engine would be $19,918, however; the Fire Department plans to sell the old engine for $50,000, reapply that money to refinance the loan on the new engine which would bring the new payment down to an estimated $10,000 per year.

The Fire Department then sought the approval to travel to Springfield, Va, to look at the engine, and purchase it if it meets their approval. Pictures show that it is in excellent condition, but the members wanted to inspect it in person, asking only to be reimbursed for the fuel it takes them to travel there and back.

Darrell Shell stated that the Fire Department $1,500 per month from the County and the MHFD has an obligation to protect the County’s citizens. He also said he wanted to show the County that the department is being responsible with the money it receives from them.

Alderman Sear made a motion to approve the trip and purchase of the engine and Alderman Lacy seconded.

A vote was taken and the measure was unanimously approved.

Officer Dettmer of the Marble Hill Police Department approached the Board seeking approval to buy a 2005 Chevy Trailblazer to replace the 1997 MH#4 police car, stating that the City sometimes has to assist the County on calls and that given the fact of the terrain of the City the Police Department needs a four wheel drive vehicle during inclement weather.

In addition the MH #4 car would be used as a City Vehicle for the City Hall staff which currently uses their personal vehicles to run City errands.

Dettmer said that Lutesvill Ford is asking $9,900 for the vehicle, but he thinks that the dealership will work with the City and come down on the price considerably. Dettmer also emphasized the importance of buying locally, which given some though, I would have to agree with him, (perhaps that is one reason that the City of Marble Hill is doing better financially than other communities in the area?)

The Board gave their permission for Officer Dettmer to negotiate on the price for the dealer, but not before I raised what I feel is a very valid point stating that, “We have just given approval for the purchase of an $87,000 fire engine, and we are discussing approving the purchase of a four wheel drive vehicle for the Police Department , which I am not opposed to. However; there are still several areas in which City Maintenance projects are not getting completed in a timely manner, for instance at 709 Third Street there is a fire hydrant that has been leaking for six months. Then there’s the storm water project on Central Ave. The pipes are stacked next to the road, but the project still isn’t finished, things need to start being fixed around here in a timely manner”

I added that last year we approved a 7% raise for the maintenance department and if the public doesn’t start seeing some progress they’re not going to be so supportive of these purchases.

At this point a spirited debate began between myself and Alderman McCain, at which point I informed Alderman McCain that I was elected to represent citizens in Ward I and when a citizen has a complaint it is my job to bring it to City Hall.

McCain responded by stating, “Yes and it is also your job to make the citizens understand why the have to wait longer than they want to, in order to get problems fixed”.

I responded by stating, “They shouldn’t have to wait six months”.

A discussion soon ensued by the Board members and it was agreed that as soon as the weather warms up, the hydrant would be replaced on Third Street, and gave approval for overtime pay to make sure the job gets done.

Assistant Administrator Shrum again made a presentation to the Board stating that somehow the City did not renew their FCC license and that the maintenance workers are having trouble communicating because the frequency was assigned to the City of Scott City.

Shrum stated that in order to apply for a new FCC license, the City would be assigned a new “narrow band” frequency and unfortunately the City maintenance department’s hand held radios are too old to pick up the new narrow bands, so in addition to renewing the City’s FCC license , the City will have to purchase new radios.

Shrum then stated that he has received numerous complaints about barking dogs and the ordinance needs to be revisited {again}.

I stated that if the City worried half as much about our water and sewer lines as it does about barking dogs, maybe our water and sewer lines would be replaced by now.

Assistant Administrator Shrum discussed was the request that Mr. Kenney Brown made about cutting down three trees that borders his property and one of the City’s streets. The Board was informed that the trees are very large and if they were to ever fall on the streets, it would do major damage to the street as well as a water line that runs under it. Shrum said that Mr. Brown was concerned given last year’s ice storms and requested that the City pay half the costs of removing the trees. The Board agreed with the stipulation that the contractor had to be licensed and bonded.

Last on Shrum’s presentation was a request by the Bank of Missouri , located at the intersections of Hwy’s 34 & 51 for a street light. Shrum stated that Black River Electric Cooperative would install the light, but needed the Board’s approval to do so.

The Board agreed it would be a good idea because it would also help light the intersection that the bank is located next to.

Alderman Jimmy Sear made the motion to approve the measure which was seconded by Alderman Southwick and approved unanimously.

In new business, Mayor Masterson stated that he has contacted the County Commission about assistance with the City dog pound but didn’t think the County would be able to help out given their current financial situation.

Alderman Sear stated that he was concerned about the lack of police coverage in the City on Saturday’s stating that the City does not have any coverage on this day until 3:00pm. Alderman Southwick stated that during this time the County provided coverage. A discussion soon ensued between the Board members with a general consensus being that the lack of Saturday coverage was the result of reserve officers not fulfilling their obligations.

I then brought up a bill that was in my information packet regarding a resident who was charged $800 (in 2004) when his street was paved. I was informed that the citizens on that street were asked before the paving was approved and I stated that I had talked to the individual and he states that he was never informed of the project and that he was told he had to pay the bill, eventually making a verbal agreement to pay $25 per month. According to the citizen , Rick Jones ( who was Mayor) at the time of this dispute dismissed the bill, however Assistant City Administrator Shrum and City Clerk Carolyn Surface did not agree.I found out that no written signatures were obtained prior to the project and that permission was obtained verbally, a practice which I described as “wreckless”, however despite my objections, the Mayor and the other Board members did not want to revisit this issue, the consensus being that if a majority of the residents agreed to paving the street , all residents on that street were responsible for the paving. Assistant Administrator Shrum suggested putting a “tax lean” on the property if the resident who objected to paying the bill does not pay off the approximate $400.00 remaining on the bill.

I next presented the Board with a proposal to enter into a contract with the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri to take the City’s unwanted stray dogs to. While I emphasized that the validity of revisiting the problem of barking dogs is debatable, stray animals running at large presents a hazard to the community and puts a strain on City resources by having to take care of them.

I stated that I had talked to Cheryle Dillon of the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri and she had stated that the Humane Society would enter into a contract with the City of Marble Hill with the stipulation that we adopt, (as part of our dog ordinance) the following section from the City of Cape Girardeau Ord. No. 3523, art. 2,7-18-05 , Sec. 6-29 : Impoundment of animals running at large; fees; disposition if unclaimed by owner.

This reads:

“Any animal found within the city running at large, not tied or led by a line or leash, contrary to the provisions of this article, shall be taken up and impounded in a suitable place, as designated by the city. The animal shall be held for five (5) days and will be micro-chipped for identification prior to final release. The animal may be claimed at any time by the owner by paying the cost of micro-chipping and the cost of impounding and feeding the animal. If the owner, or some person for him, does not claim the animal within the five (5) days after it is impounded, ownership of the animal shall transfer to the impoundment facility and the animal may be placed for adoption or euthanized. If any animal is impounded more than once due to violations of this chapter, such animal will not be finally released from the second impoundment unless the animal has been spayed or neutered. If the owner cannot provide written confirmation by a licensed veterinarian that the animal has been previously spayed or neutered, the impoundment facility will have a licensed veterinarian conduct the sterilization procedure on the animal before relinquishing custody of the animal. The owner of the animal shall be required to pay the costs of the sterilization of the animal prior to the animal’s release.”

Mrs. Dillon also ads that:

“We do not charge for the microchip that is implanted the first time an animal comes in. When we tell the owner it is free it kind of takes some of the sting away. When they claim the animal they sign a Return to Owner form that states the next time the animal comes in it will be spay or neutered before being released to them.”

The Board members agreed that this was a good idea and that it would greatly reduce the time, money and resources associated with the current pound and the proposition would be sent to City Attorney Stephen Gray so that the ordinance could be amended to include these stipulations.

Alderman Sear then made a motion to adjourn the meeting which was seconded by Alderman McCain, bringing the meeting to a close at approximately 9:35 pm. Clint E. Lacy 

 

Ward I Alderman,

 

City of Marble Hill

 

City of Marble Hill

City of Marble Hill

 

 

 

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