Purdy aldermen opted to send a bill from the Pierce City Police Department back, denying financial liability for a Purdy resident's transportation costs to a mental health facility in El Dorado Springs.
The individual, a resident of Purdy, reportedly traveled to Pierce City to seek help at Clark Community Mental Health Center. Officials there requested the patient be transported to El Dorado Springs for evaluation and observation. Because a Pierce City officer transported the individual, the department billed the City of Purdy for costs associated with the transfer.
"I would think the person being transported would be responsible for those costs," said Alderman Steve Roden. "I can't see where the city is responsible for an individual. The patient self-committed, so he should be responsible for those costs."
Aldermen further instructed Lowe that if he or any other officer was the only one on duty, they were not to leave the city limits for similar future requests.
Aldermen directed City Clerk Debbie Redshaw to return the invoice with the explanation that the patient should be responsible for his own costs, not the City of Purdy.
In other business, aldermen received the report of a good audit from Patti Weber with the CPA Group of Monett. Weber reviewed the annual report with aldermen, highlighting major points, including total revenues of $559,655, which exceeded total expenditures of $535,301.
"The city still achieved an increase in net assets," Weber said. "People pulled back and didn't spend this year."
In his report to aldermen, Public Works Supervisor Ted McIntire said crews had been busy locating service lines and repairing water line leaks. Water efficiency was down to 67 percent, which McIntire attributed to a four-inch water line break, which has subsequently been repaired.
Police Chief Jackie Lowe offered highlights from the department's monthly activities in his report.
Investigation continues into a case where three men approached a city resident claiming to be performing a warranty check on her roof.
According to Lowe, the men involved in that scam are part of a larger group that has been identified by law enforcement officials in both Greene and Jasper counties as well. Lowe said part of the group tries to target area residents by claiming to conduct warranty work on the roofs of homes, while the other group offers discount deals to seal driveways of individuals with "leftover" product from another job.
"It's the same scam, and they're targeting elderly residents in several southwest Missouri counties, including Barry, Lawrence, McDonald, Greene and Jasper counties," Lowe said. "Two of the suspects have been arrested and charged with felony stealing. Law enforcement officials are still looking for others identified in these crimes."
Lowe told aldermen that the department was still receiving complaints of dogs running at large.
One resident reported that someone had stolen the chain used to keep the animal secured and that he no longer wanted the animal and requested the city take possession of it. The individual was counseled on his responsibilities as a pet owner and advised another violation of the leash ordinance would result in a summons.
Lowe reported to aldermen that the camera in the patrol cruiser was now working and would start recording whenever the patrol vehicle's emergency warning lights were activated.
Aldermen directed Lowe to contact Empire District Electric Company concerning installation of street lights on some darkened intersections inside the city limits. Two intersections deemed dangerous by aldermen included Ninth and Monroe Streets and Ninth and Washington Streets.
Aldermen discussed hiring a city attorney. The council reviewed the excellent qualifications of both applicants, Darlene Parrigon, of Pierce City, and Amy Boxx, of Monett. Aldermen ultimately opted to hire Parrigon, as her hourly rate was slightly less than that of Boxx, citing good stewardship of the city's finances as the prevailing reason.
Alderman Wayne Rupp proposed hiring a grant writer to seek financial opportunities to benefit the city. He told aldermen that Gary Wass, Spanish teacher, had successfully written a grant for the school's recycling center. Rupp suggested the city seek Wass' services in obtaining a grant to fund new playground equipment for the park.
Aldermen are also compiling a list of streets most needing improvements in the spring. Topping the project list is the parking lot at the Community Center.
The next regular meeting of the Purdy City Council will be at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 10 at City Hall.