Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

Notes from June 12, 2009 Board Meeting

June 14, 2009

First of all, I would like to apologize to any citizens and / or interested parties who might be reading this for its late posting.  I was out of town this week and tried to post this last Saturday night. That is when my computer monitor bit the dust.  As you can see, I am up and running now.

 I have scanned three of the ordinances that the Board of Aldermen passed last Friday.  To view them in their actual size, just click on the pictures above. 

The first ordinance is for the increase in trash pick up fees.  I did not want to vote for this, but I was informed that the trash service was put up for bid this year and the only company to bid on it was our current provider CWI the only choice I had was to either vote for the increase or to let the contract expire and have our City without trash service.  Unfortunately this means that current residential rates will increase from $10.60 per month to $12.60 cents per month. 

Commercial service will increase to $23.00 per month. Commercial dumpster prices will increase 10% across the board. 

I was able to postpone the Water/Sewer rate increase however if you click on the picture you will see that the City of Marble Hill wants to raise  the current water rates from $12.60 per month to $15.00 per month for 0-2500 gallons used and will increase from .25 cents to .37 cents for every additional 100 gallons used. 

On August 16,2008 I posted here on the Alderman Lacy Blog that the City of Marble Hill was planning on doubling the water rates stating:

 “Whereareas the Board of Aldermen of the City of Marble Hill, Missouri, have received a rate study for water and wastewater to determine what needs to be charged to the City of Marble Hill’s customers in order for the respective departments to maintain a steady balance in the accounts. Over the years the water and wastewater ledgers  have been decreasing and the City of Marble Hill needs to make certain that these accounts have the proper funding in place to operate, maintain and make improvements to the systems” 

According to the study conducted by Smith and Company Engineers of Cape Girardeau Missouri , which recommends that the base water fee of 2500 gallons be raised from $9.18 to $16.75. 

Smith and Company also recommends that the base waste water fee of 2500 gallons be raised from $9.09 to $18.50.”

 If the City gets their $15.00 per 2500 gallons rate that they are seeking they will be just $1.75 short of their goal set last year. What do you think this means for you , the residents next year at this time?  I predict it will go up another $1.75 per 2500 gallons. 

Incidentally, if you clicked on the picture of the proposed water/sewer rate  increase you will see that the City of Marble Hill, did , infact, double your sewer rates last year and what is the result? 

They now have their $18.50 monthly sewer fee and they now want to increase it to $19.75 cents. 

Where does this stop? When do we the Citizens stop paying increased water and sewer rates? 

The Wednesday June 17, 2009 edition of the Banner Press newspaper covered the Water / Sewage fee increase debate on page 2 “Water, sewer and trash rates to go up” quoted me as saying: 

“You know I will be against a water increase” 

The Banner Press continued by covering the debate as follows:

“Lacy said as he has said before, that he wants the city to explore the possibility of applying for grants to pay for water and sewer repairs and maintenance. McCain reminded him that before grants are considered, the city would have to prove that it is  billing its customers adequately. Lacy countered that last year the city raised rates but did not apply for any grant money”

Assistant administrator Shrum , and again I am quoting the Banner Press, stated:

“Since the last raise we replaced $27,000 worth of airator motors we have to have – counting electric lines, motors and cables—and spent $5000.00 on a control panel pump…the city  has spent on problems with the well after lightening struck the pump-which should be covered by insurance. He said the city spent nearly $15,000 on a situation at Glenn St, and has set aside money to bring back the elevated tower into service. All that takes money.”

Yes it does take money, but I still contend that the City has not applied for grants to replace the most deteriorated water and sewer lines.  At the June 12, 2009 meeting we (the Board) authorized the purchase of a  4 wheel drive back hoe from Eddie Cook for the amount of $26,000.00.  Why? Because the old one is worn out.

Why is the old one worn out? Because of the constant wear and tear of having to fix dilapidated water and sewer lines. 

I would like to add however; that the Bank of Missouri, gave the City an excellent rate of interest on the loan for the forklift (4% APR) which is even better than what the USDA offered which was (4.5% APR). 

In addition, and this is something that the Banner Press missed , according to my notes taken during the Friday June 12, 2009 meeting, Assistant administrator Shrum stated that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources  is concerned about “Inflow and Infiltration” of the City’s sewer system. City Clerk Carla Watt informed me during the meeting that several years ago the DNR conducted smoke tests on the City’s sewer system in the Lutesville side ( old Lutesville is Ward I) and that during this test so much smoke came from the sewers that the DNR stopped the test.

Folks, this problem is only going to get worst unless we start replacing lines, starting with the worst , first. It is my concern that the poor and the elderly can not afford any more increase of water and sewage rates therefore all resources to help get government funding and help keep rates low must be exhausted before further discussion of raising rates take place. 

On February 4, 2009 I received an email from U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s office stating:

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Today, U.S. Senators Claire McCaskill and Kit Bond from Missouri and Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall from New Mexico filed an amendment to the economic recovery package that will make it easier for states to administer the funds allocated to the State Revolving Funds (SRF).  The amendment would provide the states with the flexibility to choose to provide grants to municipalities for their water, waste water or drinking water projects.  ” 

I forwarded this email to the Mayor who in turn forwarded it to Assistant Administrator Shrum. To my knowledge it was not acted upon.

I received another letter from Sen. McCaskill’s office on June 5th, 2009 stating that a free grant-writing seminar was going to take place at Southeast Missouri State University on June 27, 2009. Assistant administrator Shrum agreed to attend. 

There is going to be a Public Hearing on Wednesday, July 1’st about the annexation of the Blevin property (at their request), I do not know if the water and sewer rates will be discussed then, I would guess probably not, but I would encourage everyone to go to City Hall and look at the agenda (which will be taped on the dry erase board across from the collector’s office). 

If  it is not discussed on Wednesday July 1’st then it will most assuredly be discussed at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting on Monday, July 13, 2009 @ 6:00 pm at City Hall , I would encourage you to notify your friends and neighbors about this important issue please ask them to attend the meeting. 

In other news I did vote to increase the fee for special uses of the City Parks from $10.00 to $20.00, the parks are getting in pretty poor shape and I thought we needed the funding.  That being said, I am expecting results from the City in the restoration of the parks.

On that note, I talked to Assistant administrator Shrum today and he informed me that he too was out of town and that the maintenance department did not fill the pool while he was gone. Apparently there was a miscommunication .  Mr. Shrum said that he will start filling the pool tomorrow; hopefully it will be ready to go by next week. 

The City also renewed liquor licenses for Amerimart, Ross’s BP, the Bollinger County Eagles and Hillbilly’s.  Pool table licenses were issued for the Bollinger County Eagles and Hillbilly’s. 

I do have a bit of good news, as of July 12, 2009 the Board of Aldermen approved their resolution (previously approved by voice vote during the April meeting ) in writing  to prohibit the profiling of citizens by the  police  on the basis of known political affiliation.   So feel free to exercise your God Given right to Free Speech! 

As promised, I finally was able to arrange a meeting with a MoDoT official on the speed limit on Highway 34 West and he informed the Board that traffic accidents remained low and that drivers have slowed down in that area, though they are most often driving 45 mph instead of the marked 35 mph.  I also found out that the 35 mph speed zone had only been extended by  3/10 of a mile, this, combined with the fact that MoDoT does not like to have several speed zones in one area , prompted the Board not to act on changing it again. 

I did take the opportunity to express to the MoDoT official that the City of Marble Hill needs help with the intersection of  Hwy’s 34 West and 51 South, and to state that the City needs highway 34 repaved through town, making it a point to note that the citizens of Marble Hill pay state taxes too. 

In new business, Ward II Alderman James Sear noted concerns from a local citizen in regards to the scheduling conflict between the Bollinger County Soccer League and the  Bollinger County Fair.  It was the suggestion of Mayor Masterson to let the two parties work out the problem themselves. 

Alderman Sear expressed concern about the need for Haz-Mat fire proof cabinets in the City Maintenance shed to protect flammable liquids. 

Alderman Sear stated that citizens were wondering about dust control for the ball park, a service previously provided by MoDoT but has since been contracted out. Alderman Sear stated that he would try to find out who MoDoT is now using to resolve the issue.

 I then read a letter from a concerned citizen regarding the condition of the ball fields and the bathrooms on the fields.  Assistant administrator Shrum  stated that the Optimist Club takes care of the ball fields and is planning on bringing in additional dirt and has also  purchased a DR Grader that will help in properly leveling the field. 

Last but not least I brought up my proposal for an “Adopt a Block” program. I had originally thought about an “Adopt a Street” program, but when I mentioned it to Mayor Masterson he liked it so much he said, “Why don’t we call it “Adopt a Block”.

“Adopt a Block” sounded better so that’s what I went with. The jest of the idea is to model a program similar to what MoDoT does with its “Adopt a Highway” program. 

A group of citizens, a church , a business or an organization could adopt a street or a whole block to help clean up the town, in return the City would provide a sign with the citizen’s , church, business or organizations’ name on it.  This would provide some free advertising in return for their volunteerism.  

I still have to run it by the City Attorney to make sure it meets his approval but the Board members seemed to like the idea.  Let’s hope we can make it work. 

Alderman Clint E. Lacy

Ward I, Marble Hill

 

Notes from April 13, Board of Aldermen Meeting

April 15, 2009

Notes from City of Marble Hill Board of Aldermen Meeting April 13, 2009 

The City of Marble Hill Board of Aldermen met in regular session at the Marble Hill City Hall and the meeting convened at 6:00 p.m.

In attendance were Mayor Russell Masterson, Alderman James Sear, Alderman Clint Lacy, Alderman Tim McCain, Assistant City Administrator Gary Shrum, Public Works Director Chuck Kernan and City Attorney Stephen Gray. 

Citizens attending were Sandy Horton and Mr. and Mrs. Mitch Miller. 

The meeting began with the reciting of the Pledge and was followed by the roll call. The Board then approved the minutes from the March, 2009 meeting, the City expenditures and the canvass of votes from the April 7, 2009 municipal election. 

Afterwards Alderman Tim McCain (Ward I) and Alderman James Sear (Ward II) took the Oath of Office to serve another two years in the City Council. 

Presentations to the Board were made by Sandy Horton and Mr. Mitch Miller. 

Mrs. Horton (who was representing Mr. Norman Slinkard) discussed the City’s policy on water deposits and how they apply to the relationship between renters and landlords. Mrs. Horton suggested raising the water deposits so that landlords would not have to settle the bill if their renters move without paying their last month’s water bill stating that Mr. Slinkard had to pay for his former renter’s water bill using his water deposit. 

Mr. Shrum stated that it seems Mr. Slinkard paid the deposit for his renter and suggested requiring future renters to pay a security deposit. 

I stated that it was my understanding that the issue between Mr. Slinkard and the City had been resolved to which Mayor Masterson responded by saying that the call he received from me was that the City was about to cut Mr. Slinkard’s water off. 

“That’s not the case”, Mayor Masterson stated, “That is not going to happen. The rental property is another story”.

I stated that in my conversation with Mr. Slinkard, I did not get the idea that Mr. Slinkard had paid the renter’s security deposit and asked why he would have to pay a former renter’s water bill with his security deposit. 

Assistant Administrator Gary Shrum stated that he would look into the matter. 

Mrs. Horton also addressed the Board regarding a dangerous hill on Englehart Ln and asked if any improvements could be made to make it safer. 

It was the general consensus of the Board that the City could not afford to widen the entire length of Englehart.  Possible solutions included making Englehart Ln. a one-way street, or widening the street in front of Mr. Mike Lincoln’s home in order to reduce the risk of accidents.  Assistant Administrator Gary Shrum said that he would talk to Mr. Lincoln to see if perhaps an agreement could be made to widen the street in front of his home. 

Mitch Miller addressed the Board next and wanted to know how many dog licenses / tags had been issued recently, and the Mayor said his best estimate would be two. I checked the collectors report and stated that I thought this was an accurate number. 

In new business the Mayor stated that: 

“The Board had covered a lot of things this past year and that the General public for the most part does not how much we {the Board} does.” 

Mayor Masterson then made it clear that the City intends to strictly enforce nuisance laws this year (such as the cutting of tall weeds and grass and the removal of junk from properties) He also wants to pursue the idea of contracting out the service of mowing weeds and grass and generally cleaning up condemned properties. 

Attorney Gray indicated that Chief Willis could issue citations and file charges against violators and that solid waste disposal fees can be levied against property owners ( via a lien against the property). 

Attorney Gray continued by stating: 

“If the property is condemned through the courts, contractors will be hired to do so (which costs thousands of dollars), we try to encourage property owners to take care of any trash disposal and or demolition of buildings themselves”. 

Mayor Masterson then assigned the following aldermen to supervise the City’s various departments. They are as follows: 

Alderman Lacy:

      –     Police

Alderman McCain

–     Fire and Rescue

–     Humane (animal control)

Alderman Sear:

–     Streets

–     Parks

Alderman Southwick:

–    Water / Sewer 

Mayor Masterson said that the USDA had been out to conduct a pre-check of the City dog pound and they found that the improvements made thus far looked good and that the City of Marble Hill’s dog pound looks better than many larger towns. 

The Mayor stated that there are still a few items to complete but that the City would soon have its Department of Agriculture license. He also stated that he had been in contact with Mrs. Marylin Neville of the Bollinger County Rescue Project and that she will soon have her Department of Agriculture license as well. Once that happens the City will be able adopt the animals out to the Bollinger County Stray Project. 

(This is a good thing because upon looking at the Collector’s Report, the City had to euthanize three animals last month) 

In other new business Ward I Alderman Sear asked Assistant Administrator Shrum if the owners of Flood buyout properties were going to have to pay for the demolition of the properties that are being purchased. 

Assistant Administrator Shrum stated that, “No this is not the case. The demolition costs are added into the appraisal of the property” 

I had several items for discussion under “new business”. They were as follows: 

– What is the progress on the storm drain on Central Avenue?

I was told that the project is completed and that the City is waiting for the dirt to settle before it can be graded and seeded. The Mayor stated that the new storm drain is diverting alot of water that used to run onto resident’s properties. 

Alley @ 104 Lutes St. (Behind the residence of Nick Nanny) is in rough condition. Is there any way the City can grade it, possibly add more gravel and clear gravel off of surrounding neighbors properties?

I was told by Public Works director Chuck Kernan that a work order has been written to fix the problem.

 

The tennis courts located in Pelligreno Park have fallen into disrepair, are we taking steps to fix them?

I was told by Assistant Administrative  Gary Shrum that the new nets have been ordered and that a brace needs to be made to fix and stabalize one of the poles that holds the nets. 

– The entrance to Third St. at the corner of Third and Englehart ( that the City paved last year) is suffering from erosion and I fear that it will soon start to affect the new pavement that we put there last fall. Is there anything we can do to fix this problem?

Assitant Administrator Shrum said he will look at the problem and see what can be done. 

– A citizen who lives on Opossum Creek Road asked if the culverts for the drainage ditches can be cleaned out because water is not draining like it should.

Public Works director Chuck Kernan and Assitant Administrator Shrum said that they would try and get the culverts cleaned out. 

Have we heard from the Missouri Department of Transportation on the possibility of changing the speed limit on Highway 34 West?

Assistant Administrator Shrum said that the City had not heard from them. ( I will follow up on this) 

Has officer Mullehey recieved his pay increase following his probationary period after being hired by the City?

Yes. 

Last but not least, I addressed the Board about my concern over the recent Missouri Information Awareness Center. The report specified that the State Highway Patrol was to pay special interest to motorist that supported political “third parties” (such as the Constitution Party or the Libertarian Party) the report also singled out supporters of U.S. Congressman Ron Paul (a Republican candidate for President in 2008) also included in this report was a section entitled “political paraphernalia” which included U.S. flags, U.S. Civil Flags and U.S. Historical Flags. 

I informed the Board that Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder recently condemned the report and called for an investigation regarding it, as well as putting Missouri Department of Public Safety Director John Britt on Administrative Leave. 

Continuing to address the Board on this issue I stated that the Missouri Highway Patrol has stopped distributing the report and that the Missouri Legislature had amended the budget to insure that any similar reports are not funded by the State of Missouri. 

I submitted a model ordinance that I had found on the Missouri Municipal League website which I slightly modified to prohibit the act of “political profiling” in the City of Marble Hill. 

I stated to my fellow aldermen that this is important to pass because the recent MIAC report singled out “radical Christians, those that opposed abortion as well as those that opposed illegal-immigration. 

I reminded my fellow Board members that we had all taken an Oath of Office to uphold the Constitution of the State of Missouri and the Constitution of the United States of America and told them I would very much appreciate their support regarding this resolution and that we all hold different political beliefs and have different political ideals, but part of upholding the Constitution was to uphold the First Amendment. 

City Attorney Stephen Gray stated that the majority of the model ordinance regarding traffic stops and frisking is already contained in the City’s police manuals and suggested that I could make a motion for the City to issue a Resolution that contained the language I had included in the model ordinance which prohibited “political profiling” which stated: 

At this point I made a motion to pass a resolution which was to state: 

“Enforcement decisions will not be based solely on known political affiliations, political beliefs or political symbols (such stickers); unless the officer is seeking an individual with one or more of those identified attributes.” 

The motion was seconded by Alderman James Sear and unanimously approved. 

I then informed my fellow Aldermen that I greatly appreciated their support in this matter. 

I want to emphasize that despite our differences it really makes me proud that they offered their support to this measure. I again want to thank them, for upholding their Constitutional Oaths and the Constitutional rights of the Citizens of Marble Hill. 

Update: I talked to City Attorney Stephen Gray today and he informed me that he had made some minor changes to the resolution and that we could vote on these changes during our next meeting.  I also talked to Mayor Russell Masterson today (04/14/2009) and he assured me that the Resolution did pass last night and that we would only be voting on the slight changes in wording by City Attorney Gray during our next meeting. 

At 8:08 p.m. the Board of Aldermen went in executive session to discuss personnel issues.

At 8:50 p.m. the Board reconvened into Regular Session. 

Upon reconvening the Board voted on and passed unanimously: 

Ordinance: 09-06 which set the rate of pay for the City Treasurer at $10.00 per hour.

Ordinance: 09-07 which set the rate of pay for the City Collector at $ 9.25 per hour.

Ordinance: 09-08 which set the rate of pay for the City Clerk at:       $11.00 per hour 

The meeting also resulted in a small “shake up” at City Hall, as the Board opted not to reappoint Carolyn Surface as City Clerk. 

The Board voted unanimously to reappoint Mellissa Armstrong as City Treasurer however there were no nominations made for the position of City Collector. This means that the City will be advertising and taking applications for this position.

The Board nominated and unanimously approved former City Collector Carla Watt to become the new City Clerk. 

In other news the Board voted to return the City’s old ordinance regarding barking dogs which means that it will be enforced from 10: 00 pm – 6:00 am. Residents will get one warning about barking dogs. 

The Board also voted to extend the amount of time that dogs are held in the City Pound from 5 business days to 10 business days. 

The Board approved a zoning  back variance in for Gary Lincoln to set a carport on his property at 202 Phelps St.

The City will also be accepting bids for industrial and residential trash pick up this year, the City’s current provider for these services is Waste Management. The advertisement will read: 

City of Marble Hill

Is accepting bids from responsible contractors for trash services for the City’s commercial and residential customers.

Interested bidders should contact City Hall

For bid specifications.

All bids shall be submitted by

May 1,2009 at 4:00 pm

Bids to be considered at the May 11,2009

Board of Aldermen Meeting.

The City reserves the right to accept or reject all bids.

Contact City Hall at: 573-238-3622 

No doubt I will probably look back through my packet and notes and find that I missed something. In the event that I have, I will publish additional information on this blog. 

Clint E. Lacy

Alderman, Ward I

City of Marble Hill, Missouri.

Some thoughts about Tuesday’s Election

April 8, 2009

Things did not go as I had hoped. Josh Andrews was defeated in his attempt to unseat Marble Hill Ward I alderman Tim McCain.

First of all, I want to state that I am very proud of Josh and was honored to campaign by his side a few weeks ago.

I needn’t have to say that I obviously thought that Josh was the better qualified candidate on many levels.

In his candidate profile which was published online and in print by the Southeast Missourian newspaper Josh mentions that he is employed by the BNSF railroad as well as the National Guard.

Perhaps he was too modest to admit that he spent a year in Iraq where he not only performed the duties of a chaplain, but some very dangerous engineering work as well.

Back home he splits his time between his duties on the railroad and one weekend a month for the National Guard.  With little time left for his family, Josh was willing to serve his community to an even larger extent to help bring attention to water problems in his neighborhood and give back to his community.

Above all, Josh was truthful in his candidate profile, which is more than I can say for the incumbent , Tim McCain who stated in his candidate profile (also published by the Southeast Missourian) that:

“When anyone has come to me with a problem, I have tried to handle it or make sure I put them in touch with who could take care of it. Then I always follow up to make sure it was addressed. Some issues take longer to deal with than others, but I never give up working on a solution. ”

This is not the same Alderman McCain that I have come to know over the past year in my duties as an alderman.  In fact when I brought Mr. Andrew’s complaints about a leaking fire hydrant in his neighborhood for the fourth time I stated, “As an alderman it is my job to bring the citizens complaints to City Hall” to which Alderman McCain responded by saying, “Yes, but it is also you job as an alderman to make the citizens understand why it is taking so long to resolve their problems”.

As it turns out the issue of the leaking fire hydrant, which I was led to believe would be a major undertaking, was resolved in about 30 minutes, ironically a couple of weeks after Josh filed to run as an alderman.

Josh Andrews, trainman, veteran guardsman husband and family man has set an example of what can be accomplished when someone decides to take an active role in their community.

Thank You, Josh, for your service both home and abroad.

Clint E. Lacy

Alderman, Ward I

City of Marble Hill

Marble Hill Ward I alderman Clint Lacy endorses Challenger

April 6, 2009

From today’s Southeast Missourian newspaper:

It is my honor to endorse the candidacy of Josh Andrews for Ward I alderman, City of Marble Hill.

Josh is an honest, principled man who will stand with and for the people of Marble Hill. His candidacy has already made a positive impact for the citizens in his neighborhood.

One of the reasons Josh decided to run for office was the fact that a fire hydrant had been leaking near his home for over 7 months. I had taken his complaints to City Hall for the past 6 months and was led to believe that it would be a major undertaking to fix it.

Ironically it was fixed this week , the total time of the repair was approximately 30 minutes.

Last year I ran my campaign on a platform of making improvements to the City and being a true representative of the citizens.

I enjoyed limited success in these endeavors, partly because I am outnumbered 3 to 1 on the Board of Aldermen.

The election of Josh Andrews to Ward I Alderman this Tuesday will bring much needed help and a greater representation for the citizens of Marble Hill.