Freistatt village board members received proposals at their February monthly meeting on ways to handle speeding in town without the Sheriff's Department, and a new idea for a crosswalk at the post office.
Clerk Deborah Schoen reported on the meeting held with the county commissioners about hiring off-duty sheriff's deputies to patrol for speeders in town. The commissioners were adamant they could not continue the practice unless the village purchased worker's compensation insurance for the officers.
In the last reports received, Deputy Ed Evatt had spent 2.25 hours in December and again in January in Freistatt, with no record of any tickets issued. Trustees still could not justify spending $2,000 a year on insurance for such little service.
Schoen said she had pressed the village's case, noting there were public safety issues involved with 18-wheel trucks rolling past a school, which none of the other unincorporated towns in the county has. She suggested officers come through town at 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. occasionally, showing motorists a presence. Sheriff Brad DeLay said officers have patrolled in Freistatt, but Schoen said no one had seen them, other than those driving through town on the way to Monett.
Since direct discussion apparently had no effect, Schoen suggested parents write to the sheriff and county commission, expressing their concerns. Marshal Kevin Davis further suggested the village look for an inexpensive police car that another agency, like the Sheriff's Department, was retiring. If the village had a car, the sheer presence of it by the road could deter speeders.
Davis knew certified officers who would be willing to watch traffic occasionally. It was noted the town of Bella Vista sets a mannequin in a car to deter speeders. Attorney Don Trotter added he is looking into insurance, and thought coverage for eight hours a month was available without worker's comp insurance. He would contact the Missouri Municipal League for their recommendation.
Chester George, a resident at the senior citizen housing, approached the board about establishing a crosswalk over Highway H at the post office. George noted there were four residents at the apartments in electric wheelchairs who are at risk trying to cross the road .
George had contacted the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), and been told a crosswalk was possible. It would require a curb cut on the corner by the post office, put in at village expense, and a cement ramp. A flashing light would be needed, for which there was no cost estimate. A MoDOT engineer would have to design the crossing, and would meet with village residents to determine local needs.
Seeing this as another way traffic could be slowed near the school, as well as providing a public service, board members were enthusiastic about the idea. They commended George for his efforts. Trustee Bryan Painter volunteered to be the board's liaison with MoDOT on the project.
As for other utility issues, Schoen reported contact with Missouri Rural Water Association circuit rider Billy Everett, whom the village has been trying to get to town for a number of months. Everett took water statistics, calculated only 81 percent of the water pumped in town was reaching meters, and figured the village could well have a major line leak. Everett agreed to schedule a visit once he finished tornado-related work in the state's Bootheel.
In assorted reports filed with the board, Mayor Roy Obermann followed up on concerns expressed in January about limbs brushing the roof of the community building. Kleiboeker's Tree Service dealt with the limbs, at no charge, and used its bucket truck to help check out concerns on the storm siren.
Clerk Schoen reported she had begun sorting through old records to dispose of those no longer needed. She found bank statements back to 1983. In an old deposit book, she found three checks to the village that had never been cashed. She planned to inventory everything due to be shredded. Nothing deemed to be historic would be destroyed, she added.
The village's annual report to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development program had been completed and filed, as required for the loan. There was also a federal census report due by March 1. For the January billing period, Schoen took in $200 in deposits from customers and $115 in late fees.
Water operator Charlie Ingram had read the meters in town in January, establishing a base from which sewer averages could be calculated. Ingram noted there were three meters he could not find, and one he could not read, which made him wonder how the customer submitted numbers monthly for a bill.
No irrigation had been done during January at the wastewater lagoon. The freeboard depth remained low at less than three-quarters of a foot. Village wells pumped 372,200 gallons of water in January.
The board's next regular meeting will be at 7 p.m. on March 12 at the Freistatt Community Building.