Plans were made for municipal streets and drainage improvements in Verona at the February meeting of the Verona City Council.
Mayor Roy Snyder reported that JoAnn Dent, from the Missouri Department of Economic Development in Jefferson City, was in Verona recently to discuss the possibility of applying for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for municipal streets and drainage improvements. It was noted that the cost of contracting with someone to write the grant and a preliminary engineers report would fall on the city and should be procured quickly to meet the grant deadline.
It was decided to enter into a professional services contact with Missouri State University and the Southwest Council of Governments to write a CDBG at a cost of $1,000.
Snyder explained that to proceed with the grant application it was necessary to include a preliminary engineering report from a licensed engineer who specializes in streets and drainage. The council voted to proceed with hiring an engineer to submit a preliminary engineering report.
In other business, the aldermen approved a taser policy contingent on final approval by Don Trotter, city attorney.
The council voted to approve a mileage rate for city employees of 55 cents per mile in accordance with the standard mileage rate set by the Internal Revenue Service. The old rate was 50 1/2 cents per mile.
Search for a police officer will continue. Police Chief Joe Powell said he had interviewed four applicants and had chosen one to recommend to the council, but then learned that applicant had taken another job.
It was reported that Bell and Associates Financial Services in Monett put the city's health care coverage for city employees out for bid and provided four options through Anthem.
Staying with the current coverage would mean a 25.68 percent premium increase. City Clerk Julie Ruscha noted the city is in a large pool of small groups and the claims on all of those in the large pool affect Verona's rates. Ruscha pointed out one of the options would have a slight decrease in coverage but would only be an 11.38 premium increase. The council voted to renew the insurance with the 11.38 premium increase.
Barbara Samuels discussed water run off around her house. She said because of flooding, the bottom of her garage had rotted. Even though she has dug a ditch around the house to help prevent flooding, the ditch overflows and nearly comes into her breezeway. She added that the front and back yard is muddy most of the time. She also expressed concern about a concrete water tank on Ella Street that has a fence around it. No action was taken by the council.
The council voted to approve Ruscha's attendance at training conferences by the Missouri City Clerks and Finance Officers Association, Missouri Association for Court Administration and Government Finance Officers.
Dawnata Hopkins, from The CPA Group in Monett presented the 2007-08 audit and said the firm has issued a "clean opinion" on the city's finances. In closed session, Hopkins reviewed items noted during the course of the audit.
The police chief gave a report that included 20 citations in the past month.
In a prepared report from Ron Greenwood, sewer department supervisor, it was noted all operations are normal. Greenwood did note the flow meter is sometimes acting strangely and he would discuss it in more detail at the monthly March meeting of the council.
Alderman Lloyd Airrington stated that additional street signs have been purchased and city employee Mike Kissinger has been placing them around town.
Ruscha reported that the house that burned at 266 North First St. has still not been cleaned up. She said a neighbor who operates a state licensed day care has expressed concern over the debris that blows in that yard and was concerned the state licensing agency may not renew her license if the debris continues to blow into the day care center yard. Fire Chief Bob Ruggles has expressed concern over the asbestos and would be looking into how to dispose of it and the possibility of a controlled burn exercise on the property.
In other closed session matters, the council voted to offer a three-year annually renewable contract by majority vote to the police chief, and to hire Kathy Urschel, former city clerk, to work 10 hours a month as needed on the discretion of Ruscha.
The next regular meeting of the council will be 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26.