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Monett Council makes financial commitments

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Monett City Council passed a resolution to improve North Park lighting and authorized a contract hiring a consultant for the city golf course at the October monthly meeting.

City Administrator Dennis Pyle said the city is continuing to make improvements on six ballfields at North Park. Since grant applications want to see a commitment of funds by the city, Pyle said it was time to make a decision.

Presently, the city is working in conjunction with the Monett R-1 School District and the Monett Youth Baseball and Softball League to replace lights on the fields. The proposal called for a $100,000 commitment from the city, another $40,000 from the school and $50,000 from the youth league, which would commit to fundraising projects to cover its portion. The city's donation is contingent upon the other parties meeting their share of the obligation.

Another $75,000 would be needed to complete the lighting. Pyle said the city was applying for funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which offers up to $75,000 in grants, and Major League Baseball's Baseball Tomorrow program, which has grants up to $39,000. Approval of both grants could reduce the city's or the youth league's cost, or both, said Pyle.

Council members approved the pledged amount.

A contract for the services of certified golf course superintendent and consultant Mike Vogt was approved. Pyle said the Windmill Ridge municipal course had turf losses for the past two summers. To remedy the problem, the city sought someone with experience addressing similar situations. The Twin Hills course in Joplin recommended Vogt after receiving his help.

Under the contract, Vogt would make eight monthly visits to the Monett course through August 2012. Total cost would be around $10,000, Pyle said.

Pawnbrokers ordinance

A new ordinance was introduced that would assist a pawnbroker in recovering money given for property that turns out to be stolen. Police Chief Tim Schweder said the ordinance was comparable to the state statute, but state prosecutors were reluctant to file charges in cases involving small amounts. The proposal would allow the city prosecutor to intervene in the recovery process and charge the offender with a fine between $100 and $500.

Public discussion of the proposal was scheduled for Nov. 21.

Council members authorized moving funds into the Utility Department's restricted reserve following the completion of the annual audit. The maximum amount of $289,950 was moved for use in replacing equipment under emergency conditions, such as after an ice storm.

Utilities Superintendent Pete Rauch said nothing has been spent out of the reserve since it was started. The latest deposit brings the total to $1,176,461 out of a maximum total of $5 million.

A change order was approved for the contract with Southard Construction, which has built the water main line between wells #15 and #21. Council members authorized Southard to build the chlorine detention line for well #21 on site by the Jack Henry and Associates campus for $35,000.

Rauch said no bids were sought in the process. Southard's price was based on the footage cost for the earlier job, which was bid. Rauch considered the latest cost to be "very reasonable."

Bills for the month totaling $2,098,701.27 were paid. The largest bills included: $1,271,444.23 to Empire District Electric for wholesale electricity; $193,000 to International Truck and Repair for the new trash truck; and $48,000 to Southard Construction.

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