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Council issues contract to close railroad crossing

Monday, November 2, 2009

A contract for work on closing the Central Avenue railroad crossing and naming a new member of the 911 Advisory Board were among the business matters addressed at the regular monthly meeting of the Monett City Council on Oct. 20.

Anchor Fencing of Springfield received the contract for fencing off the now closed crossing over the railroad tracks at Central Avenue. Anchor's $13,954 proposal, the only one received by the city, includes fencing, guard rails and signage, plus a double-swing gate for access behind the Main Street Feeds property.

City Administrator Dennis Pyle said the relatively uncomplicated job would likely take no more than two weeks to complete. Once done, funding for the Eisenhower Bridge construction would be released by both the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad and the Missouri Department of Transportation's safety fund.

Utilities Superintendent Pete Rauch expressed concern about trains speeding up now that the crossings on the west side of town are closed. A loss of cargo in a derailment near Kelly Creek or Clear Creek, both classified as losing streams, would put any spillage into the ground water, he said.

Commissioner Jerry Dierker said the question had come up during talks about the Eisenhower Bridge. Railroad officials responded that trains drove at the speed appropriate for how the tracks had been inspected. Trains would not speed up or slow down, despite what city officials wanted, Dierker said.

Former mayor Jon Suit was appointed to serve on the city's 911 Advisory Board, at the recommendation of chairman Jack Schulz. Mayor Jim Orr said the city needed a resident from Barry County to serve. Suit also serves as vice president for the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate, secretary for the Kiwanis Club, adjutant and Boys State chairman for American Legion Post #91 and board member for the Monett Senior Citizens Center.

A new recreation agreement was approved with the Monett Area YMCA. The new deal, beginning on April 1, 2010, will put use of the historic armory building on Euclid on an annual arrangement, making it easier for the YMCA to exit when its new building is finished. Pyle felt the YMCA was likely to keep using the city's old recreation center for at least three more years.

Under provisions of the agreement, the YMCA will keep paying the city $500 a month in rent and half of the electric and water bill. The only real change was that beginning in April, the YMCA will pay all of the natural gas bill. The city has a separate agreement with the YMCA over management of the municipal swimming pool that runs through 2013. Under that arrangement. the city pays $35,000 annually to keep the facility open.

Council members gave final approval to new sections of the city code changing burial and cemetery lot charges. Orr said the changes brought the city more in line with what others charge, though city rates remain lower than most.

A new ordinance was introduced by title concerning the location of woodburning furnaces. Building inspector George Rausch said the city has had a number of calls over time about the use of a woodburning furnace on a public street. Rather than prosecute as a nuisance, the ordinance would allow use of the furnace to continue but not on the front or side yards.

Rausch said he has been looking at another aspect of the matter and may propose a different ordinance instead, which would be introduced at the Nov. 20 monthly meeting.

Bills for the month totaled $1,489,031.56. Empire District Electric received $1,066,828.26 from the total, including $241,930.26 for its fuel adjustment surcharge. Utility Services received $39,000 for its work on the well and standpipe at North Park.

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