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Thursday, May 5, 2016

City finalizes settlements with phone companies

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monett City Hall.
The Monett City Council concluded its settlements with cell phone companies at its August monthly meeting by approving deals with T-Mobile and Cricket Communications.

According to City Administrator Dennis Pyle, neither firm is a major carrier in the Monett area. T-Mobile's settlement for unpaid franchise taxes was $2,291.33, plus $7,500 in legal fees as part of the class action suit against all cell phone companies active in the area.

Cricket Communications had no back taxes to pay. The company agreed to reimburse the city for $1,800 in legal fees, thus opening the door for the firm to enter the Monett market without any past issues.

Pyle said deals have been reached with all the major cell phone providers. Settlements total more than $720,000, he added.

Airport contracts

In the absence of Mayor Jim Orr, City Commissioners Mike Brownsberger and Jerry Dierker approved revising the block grant agreements with the Missouri Department of Transportation. Revisions over the airport matched deals already agreed upon with the engineering firm of Bucher, Willis and Ratliff (BWR).

Studies on heights and hazards and a determination on the wetlands status of an airport expansion will be added to the expenses in the contract. The city will pay 5 percent of the cost. The rest is paid by federal aviation funds.

The rental contract for the hangar used by EFCO Corporation has lapsed, Pyle reported. The jet used by the window manufacturer has been moved to Pella, Iowa, since the Pella Corporation bought EFCO.

Council members agreed to reinstate the lease at the old rate of $300 a year for 10 years with an inflation adjustment. Pyle said EFCO will have an option to extend the lease one more time for another 10 years.

New contracts

Rental space for office use will be available to the Local Emergency Planning District (LEPD) at the Monett Justice Center under a deal approved by council members. The LEPD has rented space at the Monett Community Center at Maple and County Road since Oct. 1, 2004.

Pyle said relocating the LEPD will have a strategic advantage for Bonnie Witt-Schulte, the city's emergency management director. In the case of an emergency, Witt-Schulte will be able to remain at her post as dispatching supervisor at the Justice Center, instead of running across town to coordinate a response with County Emergency Management Director David Compton.

"It made sense to have all the operation in the same building," Pyle said.

The basement of the Justice Center, has adequate space for Compton's operation without displacing any other activities, Pyle continued. Cost of the lease would remain unchanged at $300 per month. The Barry County Commission had also approved the change.

Council members agreed to demolish a house at 314 Pearl. The Building Board had asked the family owning the house to make repairs or tear down the fire-damaged structure in 30 days. No action was taken, Pyle said.

Vaughn Construction was the lowest of three bidders for the job at $2,900. Other bidders were Olen Morris and Hillhouse Construction. Pyle said the city will pay for demolition and have a lien filed on the property's tax bill to pay costs when the lot is sold.

CBIZ Insurance Services, with a regional office in Lenexa, Kan., was the successful bidder to be the city's broker for property and casualty insurance. Pyle said he and Clerk Janie Knight reviewed six proposals from bidders. Both recommended keeping the city's business with CBIZ, which has access to several carriers.

Ordinance action

A new ordinance amendment was introduced to broaden the city's authority to protect animals.

"We have a lot of regulations on animal care, but none on abuse," said Commissioner Brownsberger. "We're trying to correct that."

Animal Control Officer Alicia Graves encountered a situation where someone had beaten an animal. Prosecutor Amy Boxx did not find such a scenario covered under the existing city law. The proposed new language prohibits "teasing, beating, tormenting, cruelly treating or otherwise abusing any animal."

Second reading and public discussion was scheduled for the Sept. 20 monthly meeting.

No public input was offered on second reading of the revised ordinance of emergency management and civil defense. Witt-Schulte said revisions better define her duties as emergency management director. The revision updates the definition of an emergency to also include a natural disaster. Passage was scheduled for Sept. 20.

The ordinance relating to stormwater management was given final approval. Pyle said the change altered the mandate for all commercial development to present a stormwater management plan to a more restricted policy. Only developments with at least 500 cubic feet of stormwater detention volume, or roughly 8,000 square feet of development at minimum, will be required to present a plan.

Property controls

Nadine Bowman, an owner of property on Seventh Street, told council members the old neighborhoods in town were being "trashed out." Bowman cited cars with license plates outdated by several years parked in yards and across sidewalks, as well as old buildings cut into apartments not being kept up by landlords.

Bowman was particularly concerned that firemen did not have the authority to examine old residential buildings for fire code violations, excessive occupancy or a lack of smoke detectors. She encouraged council members to establish higher fines to get the attention of property owners.

"I assure you we will look at these," Brownsberger said.

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