At the beginning of the meeting, aldermen Rex Coffey and Ken Real were sworn in for a full term after their re-election on April 6. Both have served for three years and ran unopposed. Clerk Debbie Redshaw administered the oath of office.
Council members listened to Tyson Markham, a representative from the investment banking firm of McLiney and Company, who offered his services in promoting the $2.5 million bond issue for the June 8 special election.
With the city seeking funding through the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Development program, McLiney's services for handling funds may not be needed. However, Markham offered promotional services for a flat fee of $5,000 to write letters and create a brochure outlining the proposition.
"If you can help us at all, $5,000 is probably money well spent," said Alderman Steve Roden.
Aldermen agreed there was no risk hiring Markham on a contingency basis, obligating the city to no further cost if voters rejected the bond. Timing also played a factor, as the special election was rapidly approaching. Aldermen agreed to hire McLiney for the limited service.
The date for the second public meeting on the proposition was set for Thursday, May 27. Markham, who said he was successful in promoting two bond issues that passed in the April 6 election, will attend the public meeting.
Mayor Ron Dutra updated the council on discussions with engineer Glen Davidson from Allgeier, Martin and Associates about an agreement for engineering the sewer upgrade. Dutra urged aldermen to sign an engineering agreement with Allgeier, Martin outlining the construction phase of the sewer project and the city's commitment to proceed.
"If we sign it now, we'll have something to show Bruce [Hively at Rural Development]," Dutra said. "They won't do anything till the bond issue passes. We won't be out any money 'til then."
Alderman Wayne Rupp said the city would need a plan even if the upcoming election failed. Roden added it could be at least a year before the city could move ahead if voters do not support the initiative. Signing the engineering agreement received unanimous support.
Several personnel matters were considered. Aldermen named Public Works Superintendent Teddy McIntire to continue as the city's representative to the Southwest Missouri Solid Waste Management District. David Gatewood was selected as the alternate.
The council hired Logan Terry to continue his mowing duties and run the mosquito sprayer as needed this summer. Terry will be paid minimum wage.
McIntire received authorization to hire a local teen for odd jobs to give him experience for more work at an older age when the teen can be covered by city insurance.
Police Chief Jackie Lowe reported that Police Officer Russ Nichols has been hired full time. At Lowe's recommendation, aldermen agreed to buy a custom-made lightweight bulletproof vest for Nichols, who works nights and weekends. Cost was estimated at $650 to $750.
Nichols has worked for the Barry County Sheriff's Department for about seven years, lives in Purdy and would be willing to sign a commitment to stay with the department for an extended period, the chief added.
Aldermen agreed to buy one barrel of mosquito insecticide for fogging the town. Cost runs $48.50 per gallon, putting a barrel at around $2,500. McIntire said the city had one barrel left over and has used two or three each year. A barrel supplies enough insecticide to refill the city's fogger four or five times, and the fogger carries enough for one complete sweep of the town, McIntire added.
Lowe said he now has three radios for four officers. He has ordered batteries to try to get one of the older radios working again. Grant money is being sought to get new radios.
McIntire reported one of the aerators for the sewer system's lagoon had failed but should be repaired and back in place later this week. Nineteen irrigation heads distributing effluent from the lagoon had been fixed as well.
Police made 10 traffic stops in March, issuing six summons to municipal court. Lowe told aldermen how officers followed up on a citizen's complaint about underage drinking on Washington Street. Investigating officers found teens using marijuana. Two subjects were arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, and the case was turned over to juvenile authorities.
A citizen's complaint about possible drug activity led to another arrest on Washington Street after a Cassville police canine confirmed suspicions about a vehicle. Marijuana and drug paraphernalia were recovered.