Ground was broken by the Village of Freistatt as the small community become the first small town in the area to use a state law that allows city tickets to be heard in county court and the fines go back to the city. Attorney Bill Petrus briefed the Freistatt trustees on the process at the May board meeting.
Following the lead of Don Trotter, the previous village attorney who found the ordinance allowing city cases to go to county court, Marshal Kevin Davis issued two tickets for nuisance violations. Petrus took them to court on May 12 and found some problems.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the village's police department had become inactive, according to the United State Justice Department information. Petrus speculated the marshal may have to file an annual report with the state to prove its existence.
Davis's law enforcement certification credentials would have to be filed with the state to get the department reinstated, Petrus said. Clerk Deborah Schoen said the department had its originating agency identifier (ORI) number retired once before. Restoring it had been a time-consuming process.
The court had some difficulty with the new cases anyway, Petrus said, having filed the State of Missouri as the plaintiff instead of the Village of Freistatt. They had also been lumped in with traffic cases, the typical type of city case coming to the county.
Petrus expected to have the bumps worked out by the time the cases came up for rehearing on June 23. Both matters, involving dogs at large, may work out without the court. It was noted one of the ticketed parties had gotten rid of the dog and the other had built a fence.
Trustees urged Petrus to proceed. They noted traffic problems continue with great regularity and need enforcement action by Davis, in addition to nuisance enforcement.
Petrus asked to have a fine schedule developed that he could file with the court's violations bureau with a copy of related ordinances. He recommended $30 for the first offense and a higher amount for repeat offenses. Trustees agreed to have second offense cases go before the judge.
Trustees signed the agreement with the Lawrence County Youth Fair to use the access road to the wastewater lagoon as access to the Lions Club's Ernte Fest grounds. The deal included a request for photos to be taken before use each year so that the road could be returned to its original condition at the end of each year.
David Middleton, Youth Fair representative, said the Lions Club had asked for $1 million insurance on the property. The fair would add the village's road to the properties covered, he said.
The settlement agreement with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) over the sewage bypass calls for a notice to customers about preventative steps. Schoen described the information all sewer customers will receive about grease disposal.
Mayor Mike Ortwein said he and trustees will hand deliver all the brochures.
Water operator Alan Obermann said he has the parts to install the new sample stations DNR wants for tracking water quality. He plans to continue the water meter replacement effort. Around 10 meters that are hard to read are on his list for attention.
Ortwein said DNR dropped several items in its three-month report and has now decided to put the items back in.
Trustees had talked about adding speed bumps to city streets. Ortwein reported Blevins Asphalt would not allow speed bumps for maintenance.
Concern was voiced over a resident dumping trash in a cistern. Ortwein said he would speak to Davis about ticketing the offender.
The trustees will next meet on June 9.