Financial issues continue to trouble the Verona City Council. In the face of reduced sales tax revenues, aldermen turned down a grant for a small-sized fire truck for lack of matching funds.
Sales tax income three months into the current fiscal year is down 15 percent, according to Clerk Julie Ruscha. A $7,000 certificate of deposit was cashed to help pay the $4,000 bill to Sullivan Publications for recently codifying the city ordinances. After the Sullivan bill was paid, the city's general fund remains $6,429 in the red for the year.
Fire Chief Glenn Callison brought before the council a proposal to buy wild land safety equipment and a portable dump truck. The equipment would be 60 percent lighter than the department's older equipment and would enable the city to help with wild fires in the county.
A grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation to cover half of the $6,000 cost had already been approved, Callison said. After deliberation and further review of available funds, aldermen voted unanimously to not pursue the grant. Alderman Debbie Snyder apologized to Callison for the decision, noting the city was not in a financial position to act at this time.
Aldermen did vote to spend $500 to retain membership in the Southwest Missouri Drug Task Force. Officer Adam Crouch from the task force addressed the council on benefits of being a member.
Street repairs also came up for consideration. Ray Green from Ace Pipe Cleaning reported on what his firm has found in videotaping all the sewer lines in the city. Greek said the city's system was by far the best he had seen in 25 years.
Less than 20 spots with major infiltration or breakage had been found in Verona's system with 900 feet left to video. Three locations would have to be dug up to make repairs. The worst problems were around the school and on Brown and First streets.
Aldermen talked to Greek about getting help cleaning out culverts. Ace had vacuum equipment that could work in tandem with fire trucks to resolve most of the clogs, keeping costs down, Greek said.
Mayor Roy Snyder received authorization to seek bids for cleaning ditches around the problem areas. Aldermen were eager to move forward in some way on the street problem and expected to hear the conclusion of Ace's investigation next month. Greek estimated it would cost around $1,400 to fix the six feet of sewer mains by injecting a lining into the leaking pipes.
Alderman Lloyd Airrington discussed the need to buy asphalt for making street repairs. The $2,700 budget for repairs and maintenance for the year was expected to be enough for patchwork.
Police Chief Joe Powell said officers made 33 calls during May, issuing 88 citations and numerous warnings.
Ruscha said the increase in municipal court workload caused by the higher volume of tickets prompted her to talk with representatives from the Office of State Courts Administrator during a recent conference. The state's Justice Information System (JIS) software is available, an approach becoming more popular with many cities.
The state would provide free installation and training for the JIS system, Ruscha said. Cost for using the system and for future upgrades would be covered by the permanent addition of a $7 court administrative fee to court costs. Aldermen agreed to view a demonstration of the system at a future meeting.
Callison reported firefighters had responded to three medical emergencies during May and two severe weather watches.
Monthly bills totaling $34,293.56 were paid.