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.

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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

 

Board of Aldermen Meeting Rescheduled for Friday, 6:00 PM

June 10, 2009

The Board of Aldermen for the City of Marble Hill, Missouri will meet at City Hall, at 6:00 pm.  To view the agenda and see a list of who will be speaking please click on this link:

https://aldermanlacy.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/board-of-aldermen-meeting-june-8th2009/

In addition the Board will hear presentations from J.D. Goodwin (local business owner) and Stephanie Watkins of the Bollinger County Soccer League.

If you want to have your name added to the agenda there is still time, just call City Hall at: 573-238-3622

Thank You,

Alderman Lacy

Ward I

Board of Aldermen Meeting to be rescheduled

June 9, 2009

The City of Marble Hill, Board of Aldermen Meeting was cancelled Monday due to the fact that a quorum was not present. The meeting will have to be rescheduled due to the fact that two aldermen were not present for the meeting.

It is at this time I would like to state that I understand there will be times when an alderman will not be able to make all the meetings. I myself have not been able to make all of them due to scheduling conflicts with work. That being said, a great many people were inconvenienced tonight because two of the aldermen did not call City Hall ahead of time.

Mr. Eddie Cook brought his back hoe to City Hall so that the Board of Aldermen could inspect it, before deciding whether or not to purchase the piece of equipment.

Mr. J.D. Goodwin , came to the meeting to discuss making trash rates more affordable for local businesses.

A representative from the Missouri Department of Transportation came to our City Hall to discuss speed limit studies on Highway 34 West.

Stephanie Watkins of the Bollinger County Soccer League also attended the meeting along with Paula Bridges of the Bollinger County Recycling Project and Linda Redeffer of the Banner Press newspaper.

Hopefully these people who took time out of their busy schedule to visit us at City Hall will be able to return when the meeting is rescheduled.

Alderman Clint E. Lacy

Ward I.

Board of Aldermen Meeting June 8th,2009

June 5, 2009

june_09_meeting

As you can see there is a lot on this month’s agenda. Of particular interest to residents are the City’s trash and sewer rates.  Personally I do not think we need an increase of any kind.

Mr. John Bechtold of the Missouri Department of Transportation will be addressing the Board about the speed limits on Hwy 34 West.

Paula Bridges of the Bollinger County Recycling will also address the Board.

I have also heard from some area businesses that would like to see the commercial trash rates match the residential. I will be bringing this up in the meeting.

I will also be addressing the condition of the baseball fields due to the following letter I received from a resident:

“I am writing in regard to the city baseball park.  My children
have had 15 practices down at the park and have only been able to use the field 3 times.  We have had 5 home games cancelled because the field was too wet to play on.  I realize you can not control the weather, but I have been on other towns fields after a gully washer has come through and the fields were able to be used with dust flying soon into play. 

I feel that the field is not of importance to the city.  We are the largest town in the division we play, yet we have the worst facilities – the field is always wet behind 1st and 2nd base, the bathrooms seldom have lights, toilet paper,  or soap and paper towels.  The women’s bathroom door will shut but if it does you will get locked in and have to bang for help.

However most of the time you don’t shut it because you have to leave the door open and find someone to guard for you in order to see.  Each time a game gets cancelled the city looses revenue.  I live out of town.  

I use my town trips wisely.  I usually will buy gas, groceries and eat at one of the local restaurants.  The upkeep of the field and playground area reflects upon the name of our city.  Surely the city can see that we need to take pride in our parks (not just the horse programs).  

 Every time a game is cancelled the kids are disappointed in their town.  If we want our children to stay in Marble Hill, then we need to show them while they are young that they matter.  Please help so that the baseball field can be used.   It is no good to the community if the kids can’t practice and proudly host a home game.  Do we pay taxes to upkeep the city parks? 

Is there record of where that money is being spent?”           

Yes there is a record a general tis found in the CPA report monthly.
You can contact our CPA Jeff Eftink for a detailed account.

Mr. Eftink business number is: 573-238-3334

Budget talks will begin very soon, if you have a street that needs paving, or a suggested project for the City there is still time to get your name on the agenda, just call 573-238-3622.

You can always email me at: clintlacy2@yahoo.com  or call me at: 573-450-0276

Alderman Clint E. Lacy

Ward I , City of Marble Hill.

 

Special Meeting Monday June 1’st

May 31, 2009

The Mayor has called a Special Meeting for Monday June 1’st, 5:15 pm @ The  of Marble Hill City Hall.

The subject will be the hiring of a new collector. Ms. Davis has decided she does not want the job and has given her notice.

MoDoT to address Board at June 8th, meeting…

May 28, 2009

For those of you that want to see the speed limit changed on Highway 34 West in Marble Hill, please attend the next Board of Aldermen meeting which will be held on Monday June 8th, 2009 at the Marble Hill City Hall. The meeting starts at 6:00 pm and I have invited John Bechtold to address the Board of Aldermen and any citizens who might want to ask questions or provide input concerning the 35 mph speed limit.

I have been in contact with Mr. Bechtold and he informed me that he is in the process of completing a study on this section of highway and has some speed limit suggestions based on those studies.

Alderman Clint E. Lacy

Ward I

Update on Chief Willis

May 28, 2009

I talked to Mayor Masterson today and he informed me that Chief Dennis Willis had received severel “stints” for his heart while in the hospital and will be discharged soon.  Officer Shaffer will remain “acting” Chief of Police until Chief Willis can return.  Again I wish Chief Willis a speedy recovery and in the meantime , I remain confident of Officer Shaffer’s ability to fill in as activing Chief of Police in the mean time.

Alderman Lacy

Ward I

Chief Willis taken to Hospital, Shaffer named acting Chief

May 27, 2009

I was informed today that Chief of Police Dennis Willis was taken to the hospital for chest pains.  I have not received any updates as of yet, but would like to wish Chief Willis a speedy recovery.

Mayor Masterson has named Officer Shaffer as acting Chief of Police until Chief Willis can return to duty.

Public Hearing, Special Meeting Today…

May 21, 2009
During the special meeting today the Board will vote to whether or not to purchase this 1995 Ford F-150 for the City Maintenance Dept.

During the special meeting today the Board will vote to whether or not to purchase this 1995 Ford F-150 for the City Maintenance Dept.

The Marble Hill Board of Aldermen will hold a Public Hearing today at 4:45 pm at the Marble Hill City Hall (located at 302 Union St.). The City is seeking input on whether or not to annex the Bleven property.

At 5:00 pm the Board of Aldermen will vote on whether or not to purchase a 1995 Ford F-150 from Lutesville Motor Company for the City Maintenance Department .  The vehicle is 4wd, has a 300 “straight six” cylinder engine and is good condition.

Lutesville Motor Company has agreed to sell the vehicle to the City at a cost of $4000.00.