The City Council in Pierce City approved a new trash collection agreement with Stanphill Sanitation and corrected the altered the annexation ordinance for the right-of-way to Highway 97 at Monday's monthly meeting.
Jason and Dana Stanphill brought the city a new collection contract for approval. The old contract, based on pre-2003-tornado figures, had not factored in a reduction in customers. The new contract, based on 29 less customers, dropped the city's bill from $5,000 a month to $4,800.
Aldermen approved the change as well as working a five-bag limit into the rules for regular collections. Dana Stanphill said if customers have more, special arrangements could be made. The limit was in place mostly as a fairness factor, she added.
In addition, the Stanphills asked for an $11 deposit for trash service. City Clerk Julie Johnson said the current $90 utilities deposit was mostly for water and sewer service. An increase to $125 was approved to cover trash collection. The deposit was more of an issue with rental customers, since homeowners more reliably take care of bills, said Mayor Carol Hirsch.
The deposit will apply to future customers and not become retroactive, the mayor said. With authorization from aldermen, Johnson planned to draft an ordinance with the new rates for action at the November meeting.
When the annexation of right-of-way for Highway 97 south of the city limits was adopted last month, the ordinance called for extending city ownership to the south side of the intersection at Highway 60. Hirsch said the city only intended to annex land to the north side. The language put the city's annexation in conflict with the city of Monett's plan to annex the right-of-way on Highway 60 west past the airport, over the same intersection.
The language change had been a typographical error, according to a spokesperson from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). A new ordinance was sent for aldermen to adopt, extending annexation to the north side of the intersection only. Johnson said MoDOT had final approval over the ordinance and probably would not accept it if aldermen did not approve a change. The new ordinance was approved, with a vote opposed from Alderman David Jones, who discovered the language in the first place.
Hirsch reported the city had completed its application for a $10,000 grant for an engineering study to fix water system problems. Forrester Engineering provided assistance in completing the application in a conference phone call.
A spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources said it was not necessary for the city to have hired an engineer before doing the study, as one vendor had told Hirsch. It was impossible to hire a firm without knowing the scope of the work involved, the mayor said.
Plans for getting the city hall parking lot sealed have been delayed. One of the bidders pointed out asphalt was breaking up in several places, making repairs necessary before sealing would do any good.
Hirsch got in touch with the city hall architect, Barron Design Associates, which is sending down a representative next week. A number of problems have been found on the building, such as inadequately anchored soffets, parking lot drains, a storefront that is moving and facing coming off one of the doors. Hirsch hoped to have a plan of action ready to present to aldermen next month.
The latest high water incidents in the Roy Carver Building had caused no damage, the mayor said. The sub-surface drainage system installed under the lower floor, a system comparable to a sewage lift station with three pumps instead of the normal two, "worked as it was supposed to," said Hirsch.
"We did very well with our repair," the mayor said.
Water that got into the building came from a floor drain in the sprinkler room that should have had a backflow device in it. Hirsch said the supervisor from Branco Construction was planning to personally examine the issue. The other water that got in came under the front door, down the handicapped access ramp and was cleaned up with a shop vacuum.
Donations are being sought, the mayor reported, for funds to move the railroad caboose across Commercial Street to the west side of the city hall parking lot. Hirsch said once funds are secured, the city would seek bids for the job, having acquired the caboose from the Chamber of Commerce in September. It is possible, the mayor said, to move the caboose all at once. She hoped to have the railroad memorial in its new location by Christmas.
The youth organization that decorated the South Park for Christmas last year has expressed interest in putting up decorations in the empty lots on Commercial Street this year. Hirsch said she felt the addition would enhance downtown for the holidays.
City workers spent several days during the past month cleaning out a supply of rubber gloves that had been flushed into the sanitary sewer system and got hung up on the main lift station and at the wastewater treatment plant. Hirsch called around town to all businesses where gloves may have been used and appealed to the public not to repeat the incident.
The rubber glove incident cost the city bills to Bremer Electric to pull the lift station pump and an electrician to rewire the pump.
Police Chief Mike Abramovitz reported his officers made five arrests during September for assault, vandalism, sexual misconduct, driving while intoxicated and on a warrant from Barry County. Officers responded to 13 incidents during the month. Other cases involved theft, property damage, child custody and a traffic accident.
During the discussion about utility deposits, Johnson had said customers can at times accumulate more than a month's worth of water bills if manpower is not available to turn off all the overdue meters by the cut-off date. Hirsch said if necessary, she would call in all city staff and turn off 200 overdue meters at once to end any confusion about the city's intent to follow its policies.