Archive for March, 2009

Reasons why I favor Contracting with the Humane Society

March 17, 2009

As many of you already know, for the past few months I have been advocating entering into a contract with the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri to take unwanted animals to.

The following is just one more reason why I think contracting with the Humane Society would be a good idea.

From KFVS 12.com

“Charleston, MO
Charleston police chief in dog house over problems at dog pound

Posted: March 16, 2009 05:55 PM CDT

Updated: March 16, 2009 09:16 PM CDT

By CJ Cassidy

CHARLESTON, MO (KFVS) – A local animal rescue group says their eye-opening investigation could put Charleston City leaders in the hot seat.

In the wake of that investigation, Charleston Police shut down the city pound.

Members of the SEMO Animal Rescue Group say they saw the most horrific conditions inside the city operated dog pound and they decided to do something about it.

Now the chief of police, who oversees the pound finds himself in the dog house, and folks Heartland News spoke with say his efforts to make amends come a little too late.

Here’s what members of the group say about conditions inside the pound:

“They were horrendous. They were soaking in their urine, two small dogs were in the cage together covered in feces.”

Alanna Downey heads the group, and says she posted the photographs she took online, raising cries of protests from animal lovers across the country.

“There were multiple slabs of meat in the large dogs cage. Raw meat. They had a bluish purple tint to some of them,” Downey said.

“We feed the dogs dog food. But we have been giving them raw meat on and off for years as a treat,” Police Chief Robert Hearnes said. 

For now the pound is empty, shut down pending an investigation by the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

Authorities there say the city did not have a license to operate the pound and that is a violation of state law.

Another Charleston resident says it’s about time someone’s stepping up to speak up for the animals.

He says he found his dog in a pit, one day after the animal went missing.

“He had been shot,” Jesse Alexander said. “You could see scratch marks where they throwed the dog in the hole and shot him.”

Chief Hearnes said earlier in the day the city buried the dogs they shot.  However he would not return calls to confirm if the junk pit Heartland News found is where the dogs are tossed into, but we did spot two partially burned dog carcasses inside.

Alanna Downey says that’s the kind of problem she hopes to change.

“The chief of police is being put in the spotlight and he’s got to account for what he’s done,” Downey said. “To say he didn’t know what was going on, I don’t believe that for a second. If he didn’t know, how is he running this city?”

The Humane Society of Missouri in St. Louis came in and placed the other dogs at the pound, at nearby shelters.  They say Chief Hearnes has been more than willing to work with them.

Authorities at the Missouri Department of Agriculture say once they wrap up their investigation it will be up to the Mississippi County prosecutor to decide whether to file charges against the city.

Under Missouri law, those who operate shelters, pounds, kennels must euthanize animals under guidelines governed by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

The law says they also have to provide their animals with proper shelter, food and healthcare, as well as pay an annual license fee and be subject to inspections at least once a year.

They must also hold the dogs for at least five days before deciding what to do with them.”

First of all, I want to stress that the City of Marble Hill is not shooting dogs. That being said, the days of having a simple “Dog Pound” are over, I think contracting with the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri, would mean better care for the animals, a better chance of adoption for the animals, and save the City alot of headaches in the future.

What are your thoughts?

Please leave a comment and let me know. -Alderman Lacy 

Notes from Monday night’s Board of Alderman Meeting

March 11, 2009

On Monday March 9th, 2009 the Marble Hill Board of Aldermen met at the Marble Hill City Hall. 

The meeting started at 6:00 pm the first order of business was the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the roll call, all members were present.

The first order of business was the approval of the minutes for February’s meeting.  Before the minutes were approved, Mayor Russell Mastersontook issue with the fact that the minutes showed Alderman Southwick as voting “yes” on the Fire Department staff report, when in fact he was absent for the meeting.

It was agreed that City Clerk Carolyn Surface would correct the minutes, and the minutes were unanamously approved.

Next the City expenditures were reviewed, it was at this point that I asked Assistant City administrator Gary Shrum to investigate why a truck pedal cost $226.85.

Mr. Shrum agreed to investigate the expenditure.  My personal thoughts are that, the City probably had to purchase an entire pedal assembly, but even so, it is my job to “keep them honest” so to speak.

Mrs. Underwood ( a concerned citizen) made a presentation concerning the posted 35 mph speed limit on Highway 34 west.

Mrs. Underwood stated that she had been , “driving on the road for 40 years and does not see the for the 35 mph speed limit”

She continued by stating, “My understanding is that the reduced speed limit was enacted by Elder Care ( a nursing home facility located on Highway 34 in the City’s west side) after a mail carrier accident but since then their mailbox has been moved onto their property”

Mrs. Underwood also stated that she is directly involved in two businesses in the area and has received numerous complaints from customers who think it (the 35 mph limit)  is not a necessary and consider the area a speed trap.

She stated that she had contacted MoDot and they had told her that the speed limit was “not out of reason but was not necessary either.

Mrs. Underwood continued by stating that MoDot had suggested that the City raise the speed limit, and if the City chose to do so, they (MoDot) would provide the new signs.

After her presentation Mrs. Underwood asked the Board to share  their opinions about her proposal.

I was first to speak and stated that ” I have heard numerous complaints about the speed limit and would be open to raising it.

Alderman Tim McCain (Ward I) responded by stating that he was on the Board when the speed limit was lowered and MoDot  conducted a study and suggested the 35 mph speed limit.

Assistant City Administrator Shrum(agreeing with McCain) stated:

“There were three reason for the speed limit reduction…

Elder-Care, School Buses, Trailer Trucks”

I responded (in what was to become a rather heated argument between Alderman McCain and myself) by stating that I thought the area of Highway 34 in question is perceived to be a speed trap ( which it is ) and that it gives our town a bad image, adding that it is not the way I wish to see our town raise revenue.

A very red-faced McCain countered by stating that revenue was not the reason the speed limit was lowered.

I countered by stating that late last year another citizen had visited City Hall also stated that she had contacted MoDoT and was told the speed limit was up to the Board to decide.

Mayor Masterson stated, “MoDoT will tell you that, but ultimately the final decision is up to MoDoT”

Alderman Sears then entered the debate by stating “his sister in law used to live across the street from Elder-Care and was employed there and she used to have to get residents of the facility out of the Highway”

Alderman McCain said “no matter what the speed limit is , people are going to break the law and we have to live with that”

I responded by stating that the whole population should not be punished for the crimes committed by a few law breakers.

Mrs. Underwood suggested raising the speed limit to 45 mph and I stated that this would be a good compromise for everyone.

Alderman Southwick agreed with this compromise as well.

Assistant Administrator Shrum offered to contact MoDoT in order to find out if the City did have the ability to change the speed limit. (Just for good measure, I have contacted MoDoT myself via email and am awaiting their response.)

Mrs. Elizebeth Wainright of the Missouri Department of Agriculture was on the agenda to address the Boardin regards to what the City has to do to get the dog pound in compliance with State and Federal law, but did not show up.

Mayor Masterson stated, ” At this point we don’t have a license and we can  not hold an animal over 8 hours without one, nor can we enter into an agreement with any shelter or rescue organization who does not have a license.”

The Mayor continued, “At this point we have two options…

1. Apply for a license

2.Enter into a contract with the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri”

Alderman McCain made a motion to apply for a license and was seconded by Alderman Sear. The motion carried unanimously.

I voted for this because no matter what route the City takes , it is required to have a license. I still favor a contract with the Humane Society.

Requi Salter of the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri stated that the Department of Agriculture would work with the city to help bring it into compliance in regards to the City pound.

The mayor stated that the City will conduct the pound per ordinance and that any collared dog will be retained for 5 days, after that if no one claims the animal it will be euthanized. ( Non collared dogs will be held for 10 days)

At 6:45 the Board adjourned for 15 minutes, during which time they met with the Fire Department who brought the new fire truck by for us to see.

It appears to be in excellent shape, and I feel they did a good job in their purchase.

The Board returned to the meeting at 7:05 pm and approved water rate adjustments for Jerry Pyle , who resides on South St, and Mathew Birk who resides on High St.

Assistant administrator Shrum stated that he had the paper work for the Board to sign for the creation of a non for profit organization. This is so that the City will be eligible for USDA loans at a rate of 4.5% and requested the Board’s support in his request to puchase a 4 wheel drive back hoe.

In new business Alderman Sear brought in OSHA forms  that City Employees are supposed to be utilizing to report accidents throughout the year.

Alderman Sear also asked about Dog Pound improvements, and the mayor suggested that the City implement  Alderman McCain’s improvement plan.

I stated that I would like to see the tennis courts and Pelligreno Park repaired.

Assistant administrator Shrum stated that the poles that hold the nets are bent due to people jumping on the cables that are attached to them. Shrum added that he “doesn’t know why people around here don’t take care of things, but as long as it’s not theirs, they will continue to break things” , Shrum did state he would look into getting some repairs done at the park.

Alderman McCain asked the Board’s permission to recruit volunteers to paint new signs at the City parks, and all agreed it was a good idea.

Alderman Southwick stated that all of his new business had to be conducted in executive session, and so at 7:42 pm the Board went into closed session.

The Board re-entered regular session at 8:37 pm Alderman Southwick made a motion to hire another maintenance employee (Dillon Yount, this decision was based on the interview process conducted last month) at a rate of $8.50 per hour.

The Board also terminated Reserve officers McCall and Icet.

In other business the Board signed the papers to create a Non Profit Organization (discussed earlier in this post) and City Clerk Carolyn Surface informed the Board that the City had received a plaque of appreciation from the Christmas in the Foothills organization for their support in their efforts and Christmas activities.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:43 pm.

Clint E. Lacy

Alderman, Ward I

UPDATE REGARDING MoDoT and the PROPOSED SPEED LIMIT CHANGE: 

I have received an email from MoDoT regarding the proposed speed limit increase on Highway 34 West in Marble Hill. It looks like they’re going to have to review some studies and accident reports. It also looks as if the Mayor was correct, they have to approve it. Below is the email I received today- Alderman Lacy…

Alderman Lacy,

Thank you for the information that you have provided.

MoDOT will be happy to look into the speed limit revision that you have addressed.  Please not that it will take some time to evaluate this as we conduct a speed study, review accident history etc. to determine the appropriate speed limit  to post.

I am unaware of any previous contact by Mrs. Underwood, though I am not saying that it did not happen.  I do question the statement  “Mrs. Underwood also stated that she contacted MoDOT and that MoDOT said that the City could change the speed limit if it wanted to.”  I’m not sure who would have told her that.  Also, it is a little more involved than just  posting whatever speed limit the City “wants to”.  Typically MoDOT conducts the speed limit evaluation then makes a recommendation to the city along with a request for the appropriate ordinance.  Upon receipt, MoDOT would then install the appropriate signing.  We retain the right to set the speed limits on State maintained routes within city limits, but seek to work closely with cities to ensure both the proper posting and enactment to facilitate enforcement with no legal problems.

I will have John Bechtold, Senior Traffic Studies Specialist responsible for that area, contact you with the results of his study.  I do know that MoDOT has reviewed speed limits in Marble Hill in the not-too-distant past, though am not certain if it pertained to this same are that you and Mrs. Underwood are concerned about.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me.

Thanks,

Steve
 

Steven D. Hoernig, P.E.
Traffic Operations Engineer
MoDOT – District 10 (Sikeston)
(573)-472-5384
(573)-472-5265 Fax.
steven.hoernig@modot.mo.gov

Board of Aldermen Meeting Tonight 6:00 pm

March 9, 2009

The City of Marble Hill, Board of Aldermen will meet tonight at the Marble Hill City Hall at 6:00 p.m.

The following is the agenda for the meeting:

AGENDA:

  1. Call to Order by Mayor Masterson
  2. Pledge of Allegiance / Roll Call
  3. Approval of minutes for  the Regular Board Meeting 02/09/09 , Special Board Meeting 02/27/09 , City , Park , Pool Expenditures.
  4. Presentations to the Board Myra K. Underwood-(Speed limits on Hwy 34 West) , Elizabeth Wainwright (USDA DEPT. of AGRICULTURE), Jeff Eftink CPA.
  5. Presentation to the Board, City Attorney Stephen Gray
  6. Staff Reports: City Collector Carla Watt, City Clerk Carolyn M. Surface, Fire Department Jim Bollinger, Police Department Dennis Willis, Admin. Assistant Gary Shrum.
  7. New Business Ordinances for City Clerk-Collector-Treasurer
  8. Mayor Report
  9. Adjournment

I picked my meeting packet up from City Hall today, included with the agenda are three proposed ordinances to give the City Clerk, City Treasurer and City Collector raises.

First of all, I feel fairly certain that this will not happen this evening. It is my understanding that raises are not decided upon until the City budget is discussed (which is either in June or July).

That being said, I will not be supporting a blanket raise for everyone when we do discuss the budget.  Let’s just say that I don’t believe that everyone is fullfilling their expectations.

Last year I was new to this office and naively thought that a generous raise would generate good results, this has not been the case.

Also included in the packet is a very thick booklet detailing the rules and regulations that a city must maintain according to the Deptartment of Agriculture.

Yes we will be discussing the City Dog Pound again, and regardless of the outcome, the pound is going to need alot of work, because in order to hold animals, the City must be licensed through the Department of Agricutltre.

For the record, I still support entering into a contract with the Humane Society. For several reasons. One of them being is that I have been monitoring the Humane Society and Bollinger County Stray Project what I see is that the Humane Society seems to be doing a much better job of getting unwanted pets adopted, the Bollinger County Stray project has seemingly been unable to find homes for the same 50 animals listed on their website for the past month and a half.

Given the fact that during the last meeting Mayor Masterson said that the City can not work with a shelter that is not licensed, I do not forsee the City working with the BCSP.

I went over the expenditure list, nothing really out of the ordinary was seen, although I think  $236.00 is a little pricey for a truck pedal for the maintenance department.

The total list of expenditures for last month totals : $35,791.59

According to the Collector’s report last month the City  collected: $43,888.92

If I am reading the report submitted by Jim Eftink, CPA, the City has $1,256,263.59 in its account.

The packet also includes to requests for the Board to approve water bill adjustments on High St. and Third St.

Police Chief Dennis Willis reports that he has been working on nuisance properties and junk vehicles this year, among them are properties on Union St., Central Ave. and Hwy 51 South.

The Chief states that he has received some complaints from the Sheriff  and that he is looking to find a way to have more coverage by patrol officers  at the least expense to the City.

Chief Willis reports that he and Mayor Masterson discussed the possibility of making a new schedule and for the month of March the City will have coverage from 6:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. , 2:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.- 3:00 a.m.

On  Saturday and Sunday the shifts will be from 2:00 pm – 11:00 p.m and 11:00p.m. – 3:00 a.m.

In addition the Chief adds that Reserve Officer McCall had told him in October that we would not be going overseas and would be available as a range officer, however; Officer Shaffter notified the Chief in February that McCall had been taken a job as a contractor in Iraq, therefore he recommends replacing McCall with a new reserve officer.

With the increase in burglaries, Chief Willis is asking the Board to look into hiring another officer.

Assistant Administrator Shrum states in his report that all of the out of service fire hydrants have been repaired except for two, those being one at the South end of Third St and one at the North end of Glen St. , these have to be excavated and replaced as they were installed in the 1940’s.

Mr. Shrum reports that the new fire engine seems to be in excellent shape and that the new roof on the maintenance shed has been completed.

In addition Mr. Shrum writes that:

“All of the grant applications have been submitted to SEMA and the State for the Community Develop Block Grant.” and that he has, “the price quotes in for the new aerators for the lagoon. Two unites will cost $13, 509.23 delivered.

Assistant administrator Shrum reports that interviews were conducted for the mainenance worker position and the succesful applicant was John Wesley Craft.

In closing Mr. Shrum states that it will soon be time to to hire seasonal help and proposes that Arvil Leadbetter be hired as the crew chief.

Shrum also plans to contact Mr. Ivey in order to get some warranty work done for the City Pool liner.

 

Notes from Feb. 27th Special Meeting

March 7, 2009

The City of Marble Hill Board of Aldermen, met in a special meeting on Friday, February 27, 2009 at the Marble Hill City Hall. 

The meeting started at 5:01 pm. During the meeting the Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to purchase a 1993 Pierce 1500 GPM fire engine to replace the Fire Department’s Engine #1 which is 20 years old. 

The City will spend 105,000.00 plus title fees (approximately $77.00) for the 1993 model. The purchase is to be made through a loan from Peoples Community Bank at an annual interest rate of 4.5%.  

The City will try and sell the old fire engine for $50,000 and the Board agreed that ads should be placed to try and sell the old fire engine locally Captain Calvin Troxle of the Marble Hill Fire Department stated there a couple of departments in the Southeast Missouri region interested in the truck If it is not sold locally to another fire department in Southeast Missouri, then the City will use an agent (who gets a 10% commission) to try and sell it. 

After given authorization to purchase the truck Captain Troxle stated that he would be leaving on Saturday to pick up the new fire engine and will return with it Sunday night.  Monday morning it will be taken to the lettering facility and will be ready for service on Monday night. 

Captain Troxle thanked the Board and in return the Board thanked Captain Troxle and wished him a safe trip. 

The Board also voted unanimously to grant an encroachment easement to Mr. James Johnson. This issue came about while Mr. Johnson was trying to sell his house and the abstracts revealed that his deck was partially built on the right of way for Mound St. 

In order to allow the sale of the home to the new owners the easement was granted with the following terms: 

“Now , Therefore, in consideration of the sum of Ten Dollars ($10) and other good and valuable considerations, the receipt and sufficiency of which are wherewith acknowledged by Grantor, Grantor does hereby grant , convey, release and remise unto Grantees a restricted easement for the purposes of the use of the deck by the Grantee, and the encroachment thereon on Grantor’s Property as said deck is presently located; with the stipulation that this deck cannot be extended in any manner further into the right of way of the city street; further , that it cannot be rebuilt, replaced, remodeled, enclosed, turned into a room or into any other structure; that once the existing deck has to be replaced, that the encroachment easement herein granted, and provided, however, that nothing herein shall be construed as granting any other rights, ownership, tenancy or otherwise in and to any portion of Grantor’s property and Grantee’s property and cannot be built on the easement property herein granted, and provided, however , that nothing herein shall be construed as granting any other rights, ownership, tenancy or otherwise in and to any portion of Grantor’s property and Grantee by his acceptance hereof acknowledge the right and title of Grantor in and to Grantor’s Property and that this Encroachment Easement is being granted solely for the purposes of granting Grantee the right to maintain the deck as now located and as the same may encroach upon and be located upon Grantor’s Property and will terminate upon terms set forth herein.” 

Talk about “legal ease”, that’s a lot of words just to say the deck can stay, but nothing else can be built on the right of way if the deck ever goes, but I guess that’s why I’m not a lawyer. 

The Mayor also addressed the recent issues with the City of Marble Hill dog pound and stated that this is an issue that needs to be resolved. Telling the Board that if the pound is to remain open, the City must obtain a Department of Agriculture license to do so, the Mayor also warned that the City can not cooperate with any rescue group that does not have a Department of Agriculture license. 

Alderman Tim McCain (Ward I) and Alderman James Sear (Ward II) then stated that they would like to see the Department of Agriculture requirements for running a pound, after which Alderman McCain presented a plan to give the City Pound a separate gate and fence to isolate it from the City sewer treatment facility. 

I then mentioned to fellow Board members that I would like them to consider the fact that if the City does not enter into a contract with the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri, they will no longer accept stray animals from the City of Marble Hill. 

At 5:42 p.m. the Board of Aldermen went into Closed Session to discuss Applications for Maintenance Crew positions (per the agenda) 

The Board of Aldermen returned to Regular Session at 6:25 p.m. and I made a motion that the City Administrator, the Mayor, the head of Maintenance and one Alderman be given authority to conduct job interviews, and hire an applicant at the rate of $8.50 per hour. 

The motion was seconded by Alderman Sear and unanimously agreed upon.  

The meeting was adjourned at 6:26 p.m. 

In closing I would like to publicly state (as I have in past meetings) that it is my belief the City of Marble Hill is not equipped to adequately take care of stray animals or operate as a shelter. This is still my position and I still favor entering into a contract with the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri. 

I feel that for $1,200 per year the City could save itself a lot of headaches and the animals would be better cared, and have a better chance of adoption, through the Humane Society. 

The next regular meeting will be Monday March 9th, 2009 at 6:00 pm at the Marble Hill City Hall.

February 9th, 2009 Board of Aldermen Meeting

March 7, 2009

Notes from Marble Hill Board of Aldermen meeting held February 9th, 2009: Apologies for not posting my meeting earlier this week, I turned them over to the Banner Press Newspaper so that they could utilize the departmental reports before publication of Wednesday’s edition.

For those of you who have read the article in the Banner Press this might come as “old news”, for those who haven’t, I hope you find it interesting and informative.

The meeting commenced at 6:00 pm with Ward II Alderman Jim Sear acting as Mayor pro-tem, due to the absence of Mayor Russell Masterson who was ill. Also attending were myself and Ward I Alderman Tim McCain. Ward II Alderman Joel Southwick was absent.

Also in attendance were Marylin Neville, Sharon Sear representing the Bollinger County Stray and Rescue Project, Melonie Coy who has worked with both the Bollinger County Stray and Rescue Project and the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri, Requi Salter, representing the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri, City Attorney Stephen Gray, Chief of Police Dennis Willis, Fire Chief Jim Bollinger Fire Department Captain Calvin Troxel, Paula Bridges representing the Bollinger County Recycling Project and Chuck Kernan of the City Maintenance Department.

The media was represented by The Banner Press and The North Stoddard Countian newspapers.

The Board approved the minutes for the January meeting and authorized the City expenditures.

Next Marilyn Neville of the Bollinger County Stray and Rescue project , addressed the Board regarding a proposal I had submitted during the January meeting, to enter into a contract with the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri (at a cost of $1,200 per year) to take the City’s stray and unwanted animals.

The following is the presentation that was given by Mrs. Neville to the Board:

 

City of Marble Hill Shelter / Pound Proposal

According to the past meeting of the City of Marble Hill and the Banner Press report, the City is considering changing the current system to manage the dogs found at large in the City limits

The dogs that would be affected by a change in policy include rural Bollinger County dogs as well as dogs from the City limits because rural dogs stray into city limits. Several rural dogs have been impounded since the pound re-opened.

The city is considering taking impounded dogs weekly to the Humane Society of SEMissouri, located in rural area of Cape Girardeau, Missouri for a fee of over $1200.00 annually.

I and others in the community believe this contract plan with the Humane Society is unfair to the dog owners and dogs for several reasons:

1) Unless the city purchases a digital camera to take quality photos of impounded dogs, the present system will not allow owners to know if impounded dogs are theirs, especially if taken to Cape Girardeau

a) This process takes time of city employee to take photos and of another to process in the computer.

b)Written descriptions are very inaccurate for age and breed type.

2) Few city or county residents can afford the gas and Cape Shelter fee.

a) The current system at the Cape shelter is: the dog is held for 5 days before it is placed for adoption or euthanized to make froom for other incoming dogs. IF the dog has a microchip or ID tag, which most BC dogs do not, the dog is held for 10 days and then put up for adoption or euthanized.

b) The current fees are: $30 which includes a microchip and $10 per day. for fee for board.

c) Current fees are $25 impound fee and many residents have a hard time paying that fee, plus the other requirements.

d) People can not get off work at noon or a convenient time to make the open time for the Cape Shelter.

3) Sending the dogs to Cape Girardeau does not give the paper time to list impounded dogs. This is how some people can find their lost pet.

a) Pound dogs are given priority to publish in the weekly paper as PET OF THE WEEK

4) Rules can be set by the city for volunteers to work with the dogs without city employees present by having the volunteers sign a waiver. No waiver has been offered as an alternative. This waiver can include that no person under a certain age be allowed on the pound grounds without a city employee present.

5) A dollar amount can not be determined by the Bollinger County stray Project volunteers as to the city’s real present costs nad the proposed cost savings by voting in the proposed ordinance to work through the Humane Society of SEMissouri.

a) cost to drive to Cape- man hours and gas, vehicle wear and tear.

6) The Humane Society of Missouri is not public friendly.

a) They have a history of having dogs in their care that are not matched to the owners, even if they have ID tags on their collars.

b) They complain of being short staffed and use this reason when they make mistake and this is likely a reasonable explanation.

c) They are not flexible. Ask me about this weekend…

d) They are not forthright about what happens to the dogs in their care.

Sharon Sear, wife of Alderman Jim Sear, who is involved in the Bollinger County Stray and Rescue group, asked me why the board was “kicking their teeth in” to which I responded that when the Board agreed to cooperate with the Bollinger County Stray and Rescue project, we were hopeful that the Bollinger County Board of Commissioners would cooperate with the City on setting up an animal shelter, but since that time Mayor Masterson has spoke to the Bollinger County Board of Commisioners, and that they were not interested in a joint City/ County dog pound.

This is what prompted me to contact the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri. I felt it would help the City and ensure the humane treatment of any stray / unwanted animals picked up in the City.

The only stipulation that the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri made was that we adopted the following language into our existing ordinance:

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 impounded 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 can not provide written confirmation by a licensed veterinarian that the animal has been previously spayed or neutered, the impoundment facility will have 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.

A written correspondence from Humane Society of Southeast Missouri executive director Cheryl Dillion to me states:

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.

Mrs. Neville stated that she currently provides dog food for the Marble Hill Dog Pound, but stated that these donations would stop if the City enters into a contract with the Humane Society.

Requi Salter who was at the meeting as a representative of the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri countered by stating that the City would benefit from entering into a contract with the Humane Society.

A vote was taken to establish whether or not the City should establish an ad hoc committee that would study the possibility of getting grants to help build an animal shelter for the surrounding area, with Alderman McCain and Alderman Sear voting for the measure, and myself voting “no”.

I then asked City Attorney Stephen Gray if Sear’s participation in the vote constituted a conflict of interest, given the fact that both Alderman Sear and his wife Sharon were involved in the project.

Alderman Sear then asked if I wanted him to rescind his vote. I replied by stating that I just wanted to make sure we were going about things in the right manner. Alderman Sear then asked again if I wanted him to rescind his vote, and I replied by stating that yes I would like him to.

Alderman Sear rescinded his vote, but the whole matter turned out to be one of principle as there were not enough members present to constitute a majority of the Board.

Mrs. Neville asked me if I could provide her with a copy of the information I had obtained from the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri, which I was happy to do for her as well as others who made the same request.

I also sent a copy of Mrs. Neville’s presentation to the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri so that all parties could be “in the loop” so to speak on this subject.

The measure was tabled for a later date (which I will post information about at the end of this article).

Chuck Kernan with the City Maintenance Department approached the Board and asked to be relieved of his duties as City Dog Catcher, a job that he has been conducting in addition to his maintenance duties.

In other news the Board of Alderman voted to participate in this year’s Show Me Green tax holiday which will run from April 19th-25th of this year and allows consumers to purchase “energy star” rated appliances tax free during these dates.

Marble Hill Fire Department members Chief Jim Bollinger and Captain Calvin Troxel made a presentation to the Board with news that the fire truck they had hoped to have purchased by now was badly misrepresented by the parties who wished to sell it, and was not in the condition that they were lead to believe that it had been.

As Banner Press editor Linda Redeffer reported in the Wednesday February 11, 2009 issue ( “Fire department still looking for new truck”)…

“Instead of buying a 1995 Pierce Lance apparatus, the fire department, showed the board members information about a 1993 Pierce Lance truck, two years older but has only a little over 19000 miles on it. This particular truck has been restored and is being offered for $105,000-about $20,000 more than the first truck.

With the money from the sale of a 1989 engine that no longer meets specifications, plus cash already budgeted and a loan, Bollinger said the department could afford the more expensive truck.

This truck truck will be on display at a conference fire fighter Darren Shell is going to. The aldermen, voted to let Shell take with him a letter from the city stating that if the truck is of good quality then the city will make an offer”

We were supposed to revisit the proposed utility vehicle ordinance again, but will take this issue up at the next regular Board of Aldermen meeting.

The Board also heard a presentation from Paula Bridges of the Bollinger County Recycling project.

Assistant City Administrator Gary Shrum reported that the paperwork for the Missouri Enterprise grant has been sent in. Missouri Enterprise is a non for profit organization that specializes in helping small communities bring new businesses and industry to their area.

Shrum also reported that U.S. Hydrant and Valve, a company that repairs faulty fire hydrants under pressure will be in Marble Hill next month. This company specializes in fixing fire hydrants, without having to dig out water lines or tear up the streets.

The Board also approved a request to purchase a postage metering device for $2,100, the device can mark and seal up to 95 letters per minute and will eliminate the need purchase and apply stamps. It was my position that anything to improve the efficiency of City Hall would be worth $2,100, whether by bypassing the post office or any other means.

The Board of Alderman also went into closed session to discuss several legal matters.

When the Board re-entered regular session,Chief Dennis Willis approached the Board of Alderman to address complaints that the recently purchased 2005 Chevy Trail Blazer was not being utilized on night patrols, an issue Willis was quick to discuss.

Chief Willis said that he had been approached by Alderman Southwick and Officer Shaffer about taking the Trail Blazer to Benton, Missouri to have lights and radios installed in it stating that he had been lead to believe that they were doing so with the Board’s blessing.

I stated that I had never been contacted about the matter, nor have I heard any complaints about the Chief and that the Trail Blazer was to be used for inclement weather conditions.

Assistant Administrator Shrum said that the shop in Benton that Southwick and Shaffer took the Trail Blazer to was not one that is usually used by the City.

Chief Willis said that at the time the snow and ice storm had hit, the Trail Blazer was in the shop at Benton.

The City did get the Trail Blazer back in time to patrol the snow and ice filled streets but Chief Willis stated that he damaged his personal truck getting to and from work during the inclement weather; therefore he had to utilize the Trail Blazer in his duties as well as get to and from work.

Willis sought direction from the Board as to who assigns which vehicles the officers will drive and the Board offered support for Chief Willis stating it was his department to run as he sees fit, with that the Chief offered his thanks and promised the matter would be taken care of.

The Board of Aldermen will hold a Special Meeting on Friday February 27th, 2009 at the Marble Hill City Hall, starting at 5:00 pm; it will discuss the hiring of a city maintenance employee, and revisit the proposed contract with the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri.

As always we appreciate public input and the public is welcome and encouraged to share their views regarding City matters. If you want to address the Board of Aldermen during our February 27th, Special Meeting, please drop by or call City Hall at: 573-238-3622 and have your name added to the agenda.