The Monett City Council attempted to address a conflict in property standards between two parts of the city code during the September regular council meeting.
City Administrator Dennis Pyle reported that the city code allows each property to have one unregistered vehicle. The International Property Maintenance Code in the Building Code, on the other hand, calls for no unregistered and unlicensed vehicles. Mayor Jim Orr had agreed to bring the matter up for discussion at a public meeting.
"I think we have far too many inoperable cars in Monett," said Police Chief Tim Schweder. "It's an appearance problem."
"Monett's getting junkier in town," agreed Commissioner Jerry Dierker.
Under the code, it appears unregistered vehicles can be kept without a time limit. Council members agreed setting a limit of 60 or 90 days was reasonable. Utilities Superintendent Pete Rauch recalled a car that had been parked for so long on Wishart Street that a tree had grown between the bumper and the car.
Orr questioned whether anyone even disassembled autos at home in the repair process any longer. Pyle suggested people lacking the money to make repairs was a more likely explanation of unlicensed vehicles currently. He said the nuisance ordinance stating no vehicle should be in a state of disassembly or disrepair would apply in more flagrant cases.
Council members agreed to ask City Attorney Amy Boxx to draft a revised property ordinance restricting unliscensed vehicles to an as-yet unspecified amount of time. The proposal will be discussed further at a council work session.
A request to accept an annexation request from the United Pentacostal Church on Ninth Street was approved. The petition was for half of a lot in the Ridgeview Forest Estates, a private subdivision outside the city. A public hearing was held on the request on Sept. 1. At the present time the approximately four acres of property is vacant and contains no buildings.
Rauch confirmed the church will be able to build on the site and have access to both water and sewer mains with sufficiently long service lines. Dierker said he felt it was in the city's best interests to complete the annexation.
Council members gave final approval to an ordinance extending garage sales from two days to three.
City property liability insurance is due for renewal on Oct. 1. Pyle said One Beacon, the city's carrier, proposed a premium of $182,422, representing a 4.4 percent increase. The city's insurance broker reported none of the other carriers made a competitive offer. Travelers Insurance made an offer that included a 3 percent deductible for replacing buildings, which Pyle said would represent a sizable cost for a structure like city hall insured at more than $1 million.
Council members agreed to sign with Beacon One for a third year. The cost fell within the $215,000 budget, Pyle said. The insurance broker said One Beacon's representative would like to come to a council work session and suggest additional features, such as umbrella coverage and rental cost in the case of lost buildings, something that came to light especially following the tornado in Joplin.
According to Pyle, there appears to be a general increase in insurance premiums nationwide.
Bills for the month totaling $2,228,984.66 were paid. Rauch said the city had record utility sales of $2.5 million and set a new peak record of electricity use of 49.739 megawatts.
Major bills included: $1,555,646.03 to Empire District Electric for wholesale electricity; $45,000 to Joe Machen Ford, of Columbia, for two new police cars on the state contract; $38,000 to Coastal Energy for chip and seal oil; and $31,000 to Hutchens Construction for cold mix and base rock.