Archive for July, 2009

For Immediate Release:

July 15, 2009

Cherry-picking facts compromises paper’s objectivity” 

I would like to take the time to address the recent Banner Press article, “Marble Hill raises water, sewer rates”, published Wednesday July 15, 2009. 

In it Banner Press editor Linda Redeffer states: 

“The rates have not been doubled as Lacy predicted earlier”.  For starters, I would like to say I was wrong about the sewer rates having already been doubled. I was basing the figure off of the information given to me during the last regular Board of Aldermen meeting.  The information that I received can be read on my Alderman Lacy Blog found at the following web address:  

https://aldermanlacy.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/trash_water_sewer.jpg  

(Just click on the picture to enlarge the photo once it has finished loading). 

The second issue I would like to address is that the Banner Press quoted Mayor Masterson as saying that the city has applied for grant money before. Yet the Banner Press conveniently forgets to mention that when I pressed the Mayor and Assistant Administrator Shrum as to when the last time the City applied for grants for our water and sewer systems, Mr. Shrum said he believed it was three years ago. 

Assistant Administrator Shrum states that residents will only see a $4.83 increase per month in their minimum water and sewer bill. 

 I’m guessing a typical family of four uses about 3000 gallons per month.  Before the rates were raised last year a typical family of four, was paying approximately $31.07 for water, sewer and trash.

After last year’s rate increase a typical family of four was paying approximately $39.47 for trash service + 3000 gallons of water and sewer system use. 

According to my estimates a typical family of four can now look forward to paying $47.20 for water, sewer and trash service. 

Keep in mind that the City of Marble Hill paid for Smith and Company of Cape Girardeau last year to do a study of the City’s water and sewer systems. Smith and Company recommended that the City charge $16.75 for water (up to 2500 gallons) and $18.50 for sewer (up to 2500 gallons) 

I predict that next year the City will propose increasing your water rates by $1.75(per 2500 gallons) and increase the sewer rates by $2.50 cents (per 2500 gallons). Guess what happens if my prediction comes to pass?  The City will be charging exactly what Smith and Company recommended last year, which means that for a family of four, water and sewer rates will close to have doubled. 

I find it a little ironic that the City finds no problem paying for a study to raise your rates, but refuses to pay for a study to estimate the cost of replacing some of the City’s worst water and sewer lines. 

How do you cook a frog?  You turn the heat up a little at a time so the frog doesn’t notice; at least that’s how the old saying goes.  

I may not have been able to postpone these increased rates at this difficult time, for that I apologize.  However; it is my job to try and keep you informed about what is transpiring in your city government so you will notice what is transpiring there. 

By leaving out important information from last night’s meeting, Banner Press editor Linda Redeffer has compromised the paper’s objectivity and {inadvertently?} misinformed Marble Hill’s citizens.

Alderman Clint E. Lacy

Ward I, Marble Hill, Missouri

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Notes from Monday July 13, 2009 Board Meeting

July 15, 2009

The Marble Hill Missourti Board of Aldermen met on Monday July 13, 2009 at the Marble Hill City Hall.  The meeting started at 6:00 pm with several area residents attending.

The Board approved the previous months meeting minutes, as well as authorized the payment of bills.

The big topic was water and sewer rate increases and Mayor Masterson began by asking who in the room was opposed to water and sewer rate increases, at which time nearly everyone in the room raised their hands. The mayor then asked, “Who in the room turned their faucet on today and had water come out of it?  Who in the room flushed their toilet today and saw water go down it?”

The mayor made several references to the city’s “dilapitated” water and sewer system (an apparent reference to my Guest Article which appeared in last week’s Banner Press newspaper) and asked, “When you have a leak in one of your pipes at home do you replace all of the plumbing or do you fix the leak?  You fix the leak which is what the City is out their doing.”

I interupted the mayor and asked,”If the sewer rates doubled last year why did we need to increase them again this year?” at which time he informed me that I did not have the floor. (I later found out that the information provided in the previous month’s meeting was incorrect).

The mayor stated : “The State of Missouri is sick of hearing from us, we have tried to get grants” and stressed the importance of increasing the water and sewer rates emphasizing that no one wanted to do it, but it had to be done and noting that the last time they were increased (previous to last year) was almost 20 years ago when he was an alderman on the City Council.

I was soon given the floor and stated that given the condition of the economy I did not think that we needed to raise the water and sewer rates. In addition I stated that times were hard for a lot of residents. 

There was some debate between Assistant Administrator Shrum and I, which ended when I stated, “I’ve said my peace, I think now is the wrong time to be raising water and sewer rates”

One resident stated that she wouldn’t mind if the rates went up if she knew the water was going to be safe but added she is on a limited income.

When the vote was taken there was a tie with Aldermen McCain and Sear voting for the increased rates and Alderman Southwhick and I voting against it. The mayor cast the deciding vote, breaking the tie and passing the measure.

The new water and sewer rates for the City of Marble Hill are:

Water: $15.00 per 2500 gallons (.35 cents for each additional hundred gallons)

Sewer: $16.00 per 2500 gallons (.37 cents for each additional hundred gallons)

Residents will see a new Basic Minimum Bill before taxes of: $43.60 which will include trash.

This being completed the mayor asked for a motion to go into executive session, but before one could be made Stephanie Watkins of the Bollinger County Soccer League indicated that she should be on the agenda. City Clerk Carla Watt stated that she did not see her listed, but Watkins stated that during the last regular Board meeting Watt stated that she would add her name to the agenda.

There has been a dispute between the organizers of the Fall Festival and the Soccer League and during last month’s meeting Mrs. Watkins was told that she and the Chamber of Commerce should work the problem out and that the City was not going to get involved.

During Monday’s meeting Ms. Watkins stated that she thought that the Soccer League and the Chamber had came to an agreement and presented this agreement to the Park Board, who in return asked her to bring the agreement to the next Board of Aldermen meeting.  As discussion began a clearly frustrated Mayor Masterson stated that we were not going to discuss the matter because we had already stated that we were not going to get involved in the dispute.

(Maybe it’s just me, but it seems if she went back and worked out the problems with the Chamber of Commerce, and the soccer field is on City property, aren’t we as a governing body already involved?)

The Board went into executive session to discuss personnel matters. When it returned to regular session a motion was made , seconded and  agreed to unanimously to set the pay rate for our police officers as follows:

Patrolman: $11.50

Corporal:   $ 12.50

Sergeant:   $13.50

A motion was also made and seconded to give the City Maintenance personnel a 3% raise and was unanimously agreed to.

A motion was made and seconded to give Assistant Administrator Gary Shrum a salary increase of $2000.00 per year. (It was also understood that Assistant Administrator Shrum would not longer be using his personal vehicle and would not be receiving mileage compensation. Mr. Shrum will be using the City’s old police car as a City vehicle).  The measure passed with Aldermen McCain, Sear and Southwick voting in favor and myself opposed.

It is at this point that I would like to note that my decision was not personal.  The simple fact is that Mr. Shrum was making $37,000 per year, which is more than most people within the City (or county for that matter) make.  I could not justify increasing his salary to $39,000 per year, after the Board had just raised the citizens rates on water and sewage.

In other business I was informed that the City’s baseball field will be repaired and that it is being made possible through FEMA since it was damaged by flooding. Although the soccer field received some damage, FEMA did not feel it was enough to warrant reimbursement.

I did ask the mayor if volunteers could be recruited , would it be ok to utilize them to repair the soccer field and I was informed that yes, volunteers could be utilized to repair the field.

In new business Alderman Sear read the notes from the recent Park Board meeting.  I informed the Board that Public Works director Chuck Kernan recently paid me a visit about a curb that has fallen into disrepair by the City’s library on Plutarch St.  The mayor stated that the City would fix the curb.

Alderman McCain, reported streets that had missing stop signs that needed to be replaced.

A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting at 8:20 with all voting in favor.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns you can post them in the comments section of this article, or email them to:

clintlacy2@yahoo.com   leave a message for me at City Hall: 573-238-3622 or call me on my phone at: 573-450-0276

Thank You,

Clint E. Lacy

Ward I Alderman, Marble Hill.