Pierce City aldermen voted to ask the Senior Citizens Center to pay its water bill in full and to use grant reimbursement to pay for a worn-out aerator motor for the wastewater plant at the regular August meeting. A special meeting was also scheduled for the annual tax levy hearing.
In response to a request from the Senior Citizens Center to have the city pay the center's water bill, Alderman Scott Wahl reported he had met with the center's board. The center's revenues come from outside bookings, he said, which have been as many as seven in the past month.
The center's expenses are for its cooks, Wahl said. There are also plans to resurface part of the parking lot. He saw little overhead in the operation.
Mayor Carol Hirsch said the city's original offer to absorb the center's water bill after the 2003 tornado was "a wonderful gesture." She added, "I don't think it was meant to run forever."
With city's sales tax revenue down 15 percent for the fiscal year and 9 percent for 2009, the mayor said she did not feel the city was in a position where it could give anything away. Others had also approached her about getting a discount as well. According to City Clerk Julie Johnson, the center's water bill was averaging around $34 a month, about $10 higher than the minimum usage.
Alderman Allen Stockton made the motion to charge the center for the full water bill, which passed 4-2. Aldermen Wahl and Cory Sooter voted against the motion. The center has been paying its water bill in full since aldermen reinstated the undiscounted rate earlier this year.
Phone suit settlement
A resolution was passed to accept a settlement offer from AT&T for unpaid business license taxes as spelled out in an ongoing class action lawsuit. The city is expected to receive $14,900 in the deal.
The most pressing financial matter on the city council plate called for fixing a motor on one of the two aerators at the wastewater treatment plant. Funds to replace the motor at $5,200, which was $400 less than the repair price, were not in the budget. Hirsch warned that if the other motor malfunctioned, the city would be out of compliance with its permit under the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
While trying to figure out where the money could be found, Clerk Johnson reported the city was still expecting reimbursement for setting up the recycling program. Alderman John Archer said the recycling grant should bring in $7,000. That being said, aldermen agreed to pay off the motor bill with the grant money.
In 20 years, the aerator motor had never been replaced, according to wastewater operator Charlie Ingram.
Property assessments did not arrive in time for the property tax levy to be scheduled for the monthly meeting. Aldermen agreed to meet for a few minutes at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 19 to approve the levy for the coming tax cycle.
Hirsch received authorization to sign off on Monett's request to annex right-of-way on Highway 60 to the airport. Monett had previously received no objections to Pierce City's request to annex the right-of-way on Highway 97. Pierce City's annexation request is awaiting approval from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).
The offer to give Pierce City railroad land south of the tracks has progressed to the authorizing officials as well, said the mayor. The railroad's request for a three-strand wire fence next to the railroad tracks could probably be met, Hirsch said, if the city is given no deadline to finish the job.
In reports on utilities, Hirsch reported another oddity was discovered about the water system. City workers had replaced the fire hydrant at Jefferson and Myrtle after a vehicle knocked it over. In the process, it was discovered the four-inch hydrant had been attached to a three-inch water main.
Hirsch commented that while it is not unusual to have mismatched water lines, no one had ever seen a three-inch main before. Standard sized mains run half-inch, one, two, and four inches. Repairs were made, and the main size was duly noted on city records.
Water operator Ingram reported replacing 80 feet of water main on the west end of Commercial Street. Previously the old leaky line had been abandoned, but Ingram discovered the line somehow crossed under Highway 37 to feed the Pennington Seed company. The line was replaced to restore service, though Ingram did not know where the connection is.
Police Chief Mike Abramovitz reported making arrests that resolved seven thefts of yard ornaments. Some of the stolen property was recovered in Sarcoxie. Officers worked 25 incidents during the month. Twelve incidents involved stealing. Three involved tampering and two related to burglary. Officers served one arrest warrant.
City firefighters answered four medical calls in July and set up one helicopter landing zone.