The Monett City Council took action to annex the right-of-way for Highway 60 of the city limits, passed a new chain in command resolution and introduced a new purchasing procedure at its regular July meeting.
The proposal to annex the right-of-way for Highway 60 from the city limits to the airport had been proposed in 2001. Despite steps taken in that direction, the action became unnecessary when the Missouri General Assembly passed special legislation allowing the airport to be annexed without a land link to the city, said Utilities Superintendent Pete Rauch.
Mayor Jim Orr said the latest effort would enable the city to acquire easements to lay water lines to the airport. Hooking the airport, which has no water tower, to city water would provide fire protection and open future development. Letters explaining the city's intent have been sent to property owners along the highway.
A public hearing to discuss the annexation proposal is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20. The mayor said the rare evening session was called in response to criticism about city council meetings regularly being held at 9:30 a.m.
Chain of command
An organizational chart for the city, detailing a chain of command for city employees and officers such as the city attorney and municipal judge, was adopted. City Administrator Dennis Pyle said the city has never had a formal organizational chart and establishing one made good sense.
Utilities Superintendent Pete Rauch, who has supervised a wide range of city services over the years, told The Times he and Pyle worked together to look at ways the city could operate smoothly.
In looking for an alignment of responsibilities, the new chart places the police department, administration, the airport, fire department, public works, golf, safety and the mechanic under the city administrator. At which time George Rausch retires as assistant utilities superintendent and building inspector, the building inspector will go under the city administrator's umbrella and the assistant utilities superintendent position will be eliminated.
Rauch will be supervisor over the utility billings clerk and collections clerk, the utilities department, hazardous materials and the city hall custodian. Under the old city code, Rauch was supposed to report to the mayor but has been under the supervision of Commissioner Jerry Dierker. Under the new chart, Rauch will be responsible to the city council as a whole.
"I think [the new chart] will be great," Rauch told The Times, "a real positive step. Before it was very easy for the boundaries to be confused."
Mayor Orr said that the introduction of a city administrator to the city's hierarchy showed that changes were in order. The new chart was developed over two months and reviewed with council members in a work session.
New purchasing procedure
A new ordinance was introduced changing the city's purchasing procedure. The proposal alters limits for purchases, in part because of how expensive utilities equipment has become, and changed priorities for who signs for materials. The old system could take a week and a half to secure an authorization and offered limited efficiency.
Purchases under $500 can be made by a department head. Purchases over $500 and up to $5,000 can be approved with signatures by the city administrator or the general manager of utilities, without an additional signature. The current process required a city commissioner to sign off on the purchase.
From $5,000 up to $25,000 the city administrator and the mayor will have to sign off, or for utility matters, the mayor and the utilities general manager. Purchases of $25,000 and above require action by the full city council, which is the current policy.
If the mayor declares an emergency in writing, the city administrator and general manager of utilities can authorize a purchase up to $25,000. Pyle explained that weather-related emergencies, such as an ice storm, require quick replacement of expensive equipment.
Public comment on the ordinance will be heard in a special session called for 9 a.m. on Aug. 6.