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Monett Council is updated on storm damage, construction progress

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Downtown Monett
A variety of city projects were discussed at the monthly meeting of the Monett City Council last week.

City Administrator Dennis Pyle reported the wind storm on May 8 had done damage to roofs on a number of city buildings. Repairs on the museum building and the main public works buildings would require hiring an outside contractor. City crews could likely handle more minor damage on park shelters and two well houses.

The insurance adjuster estimated repairs at $85,185.90 or replacement at $125,825. If repairs were made, Pyle said the city could collect the depreciated value, which might be enough to cover costs.

Police Chief Tim Schweder reported the city had received a grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation for red light enforcement. The chief suspected the vehicular accident at Eisenhower and Highway 60 on June 18 was the result of not obeying a red light.

"The enforcement planned will be extensive, day or night, and may not be visible," Schweder said.

Space at the new Justice Center was put to the test during the investigation into the June 14 murder-suicide. Schweder said at the old police station, potential witnesses would have gathered in the parking lot and been talking to each other. With the new building, all the parties were questioned in separate rooms and never came into contact with each other.

"The building worked just the way we designed it," the chief said. Electric and water upgrades

Assistant Utilities Superintendent George Rausch reported city crews have been busy on a number of projects. To accommodate the latest office addition at the International Dehydrated Foods plant, electric crews moved an old 500 KVA transformer and set a new one on the grounds. To aid the 60,000-square-foot expansion on Miracle Recreation Equipment's County Road facility, crews put a new 1,500 KVA transformer in place and ran primary line to the building addition. A new transformer was set at the Jack Henry and Associates campus, replacing a faulty unity.

Water Department crews now have flow monitors in place on all 10 major drain fields feeding the waste treatment plant. Data should help find ways to reduce the amount of storm water runoff that gets into the sanitary sewer system, Rausch said.

Crews for Utility Services have finished working on all five major city standpipes for the year. Rausch said the eastern standpipe in the Industrial Park, where the most extensive maintenance was done, had been sandblasted, a new vent system and overflow screens installed. New top vents and lights compliant with the Federal Aviation Administration were also installed. The inside was sterilized and had new paint applied. Commercial cables were moved out of the way of the ladders.

All the large standpipes have been brought into compliance with standards set down by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). No work is planned on the 476,000-gallon standpipe at South Park, which largely remains in service to provide an extra water supply for firefighting needs. The big reservoir between Sixth and Seventh streets north of County Street still needs a new coating of paint but remains in very good condition, Rausch said.

New flood plain maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for Lawrence County were recently reviewed. Rausch submitted comments reporting the city maps, updated over the past 10 years, showed more details than the county map. The entire flood plain designation running across North Park and the United Methodist Church property, then south on Eisenhower, was missing from the county map, Rausch said.

The city has been asked to conduct its ninth round of water samples at residences testing for lead and copper contents in the water. Rausch said tests have been done to look for possible problems from lead and copper water lines that could leach heavy metal into the drinking water, particularly if the water sits overnight. Twenty samples will be requested from the same homes that have participated in past studies, Rausch said.

Subdivision work

Electric Department crews have advanced subdivision growth, Rausch said. New underground primary lines and some secondary lines have been added at the Ridgemont Meadows, Northport Estates and Bridgeport subdivisions. So far this year, Rausch's office has issued permits for 10 new homes, six in the last few months, a possible indicator of more life in the economic picture, Rausch said.

Several major building projects are in the design or construction stages. Rausch said he is aware of plans to add a new apartment complex on the end of Diane Lane, a business/office strip center on Wellington Avenue and a large commercial operation moving to Highway 60.

New construction

Recent work that has finished or is nearly completion includes a new daycare center on Front Street, the pet care store in the former Popingo store at Dairy and Hickory, expansion of the Southwest Area Career Center and Barry County Health Department facilities, and Mocha Jo's coffee shop on Broadway.

Among the major permits issued have been a $290,000 remodeling of the old Alltel office by Verizon Wireless in the Stonegate Plaza shopping center. Rausch said his office has issued $6.9 million in permits so far in 2009.

City bills paid for the month added up to $1,668,312.86. The largest payments were $940,837 to Empire District Electric for wholesale electricity and $282,959 to Wells Fargo as a payment on the Justice Center. Other large non-routine bills included $47,179 to Sprenkle and Associates for engineering work, $41,363 to CBIZ Insurance for second quarter liability coverage, $39,753 to UMB Bank for bond payments, $38,429 to Utility Services, and $19,728 to Snyder Construction for repairing the expansion joints on the Centennial Overpass.

Commissioner Jerry Dierker said the city sought bids to have the Centennial Overpass sealed, which has not been done in 10 years. Bids came in high, so the job is being re-examined in case city crews can do the work instead.

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