Notes from Monday night’s Board of Alderman Meeting

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

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8 Responses to “Notes from Monday night’s Board of Alderman Meeting”

  1. Mary Says:

    “Assistant Administrator Shrum offered to contact MoDoT in order to find out if the City did have the ability to change the speed limit.”

    Clint, does that mean that the city didn’t contact MoDot before they changed the speed limit from 55 mph to 35 mph? If so … and if the city doesn’t have the right to change it … wouldn’t that mean that all the speeding tickets issued might be invalid?

    I used to drive to Elder Care several times a week, and finally realized that the 55 mph sign was gone … if I recall correctly, it wasn’t replaced with the slower limit. That was a sort of ‘clue’ to me that it might make a good speed trap for those of us who subconsciously thought the limit was still 55 mph.

    I really miss your SE Missourian blog, Clint, and wish you’d reconsider putting it on their site … It was a good thing for keeping us informed.

    • aldermanlacy Says:

      It is my understanding that a study was conducted and it was recommended that the speed limit be changed a couple of years ago. Unfortunately the tickets written in this speed zone are valid. I have contacted MoDoT and they are looking into case studies to see if it is feasible to raise the speed limit, based on accident records, etc. I hope we get the green light because I wouldn’t mind seeing it changed.

      As far as my SE Missourian blog goes, I don’t think Mr. Rust wants anything of substance on the front page, that being the case, I’m not wasting my time with someone who asks me to blog on one hand and plays censorship games with the other.

      All of the City info that I publish will be found right here, and I’ll post links on speak out when any new material is published.

      Thanks so much for your support, it means alot.

      Clint

  2. Rena Says:

    I have lived here for more than 30 years and have never heard of the highway being considered a “speed trap.” I have never noticed the Marble Hill police sitting out there all the time trying to catch speeders. Would be interesting in knowing exact how many tickets are issued on that stretch of highway as opposed to the rest of the city. Are those figure available? How many tickets are issued for speeding between 35 and 45? My guess is few.

    Wish they would fix the tennis courts. We went over to play last year and the gate was locked. Unlike Mr. Shrum states– the parks do belong to the people who live in the city. Maybe when the new signs are painted they can include a message that says the parks belong to all lets take care of them.

    Not sure we needed 2 new city workers but with 2 new ones surely they can keep the city cleaner and do all the odds and ends jobs that need doing in this city. Maybe an investment in a time clock is needed and/or a supervisor that can keep them working or someone checking to see that work orders are completed. If I see an improvement in the way the city looks I will not think it is a waste of money.

    What is Icet?

    • aldermanlacy Says:

      Ma’am,

      The speed limit was lowered two years ago to 35 mph, (this happened before I was a board member) The Missouri Department of Transportation conducted a study of the area ( if I’m not mistaken at the request of the Board) and lowered the speed limit.

      I know during my time as a Board member I have seen several tickets written in this area, and many residents perceive it as a speed trap. I’d like to see a gradually reduced speed limit as you come into town. It’s a little drastic going from 55 to 35 mph.

      I am trying to get the tennis courts fixed, but it seems like everything moves at a snails pace around here. I was able to get the mayor to approve a new storm water drain on Central Ave. last June and it is still not finished.

      I think you are right, a time clock would be a VERY good investment

      The maintenance department does have a supervisor, (two if you count Mr. Shrum), I can’t say I’m happy with the way the City is being ran, but I am outnumbered on the Board 3 to 1.

      “Icet” is reserve officer Icet who’s job was terminated for not fulfilling his obligation to work for the City an agreed amount of hours on weekends every month.

      Thanks again for writing and please share this blog link with others.

      P.S.

      I need another good , honest Alderman who will work with me to get things done in the City. The election is on April the 7th, Josh Andrews has filed against Alderman McCain, he is a good family man, who is deciding to try and enter public service because his fire hydrant that is leaking is still not fixed (it was first reported leaking in July), he is also an Iraq War veteran (serving as a chaplain in the Missouri national guard during his last tour), he wants to see the City cleaned up and held accountable to their obligations to the public as much as I do.

  3. Rena Says:

    I have shared this blog already and will continue to do so. I consider Mr. Shrum as the supervisor of all the city workers and hold him responsible for all things in the city. If that is not in his job description it should be put in it as soon as possible. I do not know Joe Andrews but I will certainly learn more about him before the election.

    Maybe with another city worker, the snail pace will pick up a little. If not I’m sure there are many unemployed people out there that need a job.

  4. alderman lacy Says:

    Rena,

    The Mayor has talked to Mr. Shrum and Mr. Kernan about their job descriptions already.

    As far as the sanil’s pace goes, I hope your right, as I have said, the project on Central Ave. has been going on since June of last year.

    The candidate running against Tim McCain in Ward I is Josh Andrews. There should be a detailed report on the candidates in the coming weeks in the Banner Press.

  5. Mary Says:

    Just a question: Why does Marble Hill have an even number of council members? If one does a little research, it would be obvious that an an odd number is preferable. Some towns have a council member for each ward or district, plus at least one ‘at-large’ member. This helps eliminate those times when there is a ‘tie’ vote–plus the at-large council person represents the entire town, rather than just one district within it.

    Another question: Do the town’s public works employees begin each day with work orders … with priorities given to the most important tasks? Like … leaking fire hydrants which are wasting our water?

    Josh Andrews sounds like a great potential council member!

  6. aldermanlacy Says:

    Mary,

    In the event of a tie, the Mayor is allowed to vote in order to break it. It is my understanding that the public works employees are issued work orders, from the desk of Mr. Shrum.

    I think Josh Andrew’s would make an excellent council member, he wants to see things fixed around town and he is an honest man, he’d be a good representative for Ward I.

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