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Monett Council approves land annexation

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Monett City Council approved the annexation of 20 acres of agricultural land into the city limits during the December council meeting on Tuesday.

Sam and Becky Green asked council members to annex a rectangular lot on the north side of Farm Road 2230, in Lawrenece County, between Highway H and Farm Road 1090.

The Greens asked for agricultural zoning. Zoning inspector Wade Ennes said he saw no problems with the request. Council members approved the request, making the Greens' land the northern most piece of the city.

Ron Pruitt was tapped by the council to serve on the Building Board until April 1, 2015. Pruitt, who works at Meeks Lumber, agreed to serve when asked by assistant building inspector Jeff Brattin. The Building Board still has one vacancy, said Clerk Janie Knight.

Ordinance action

Several ordinances received final approval on third reading.

The revision to the standing ordinance limiting property owners to one unregistered vehicle was passed. Property owners will be required to bring vehicles up to working condition within 60 days. A second ordinance authorizing the city to tow vehicles in violation and charge towing and storage fees to the owner was also given final passage without comment.

An ordinance on failure to repay pawnbrokers for stolen merchandise passed on final reading. Police Chief Tim Schweder said the wording matched the state statute but allows the city attorney to take action in municipal court on items of small value that would not likely warrant attention in the state court.

Council members received quotes on increasing the city's umbrella insurance. The cost would boost the premium by around $18,000 for the first additional $1 million and $8,000 more for another $1 million in coverage. The matter was tabled for additional study.

Administrative action

Mayor Jim Orr said a memorandum of understanding had been signed with the Missouri Office of Employment Security. The plan to move the Missouri Career Center to the Monett Community Center at Maple and County Road has been revived. The office is tentatively scheduled to move to its new location by July 1, 2012.

"We're pleased to be able to keep them in Monett," said Orr. "We have a facility they can use. It will be a pretty nice place inside. The bay area will be the test area, and employees will be in the front part."

The proposal to use the Monett facility now has to receive ratification from the department's executive committee. Orr expected to hear a final word by Jan. 17, 2012. Letters of support for keeping the office in Monett were being sought from major Monett industries.

Bills were paid totaling $983,461.01. City Administrator Dennis Pyle said the monthly bill for wholesale electricity from Empire District Electric ran only $75,988.16 because of the $887,600 credit worked out with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for interim rates paid while Monett's wholesale contract was under negotiation. Pyle said credits went to customers in bills mailed this month.

Other major bills paid in December included: $263,000 to Wells Fargo Brokerage Services as the annual payment on the lease purchase for the Justice Center; $81,000 to UMB Bank on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) bonds used to fund the current water system expansion; and $29,000 to Allgeier, Martin and Associates for engineering on the water distribution system.

Personnel reports

In staff news, 10 employees participated in a smoking cessation program during the past month.

Jarrod Jarvis resigned from the police department, effective Dec. 12. He started with the city in March 2003. Heather Winchell was hired as a part-time reserve communications officer. She started on Dec. 19.

Chief Schweder updated council members on an arrest made in the recent string of graffiti incidents. He planned to write letters to the victims, inviting assistance in the clean-up from the youth from the First Freewill Baptist Church in Monett, who have focused on the problem.

Sanitation Superintendent Russ Balmas reported vandals had taken a vehicle onto the soccer practice field on Eisenhower and done significant damage. With the assistance of citizens who alerted officers, the perpetrators were apprehended, Schweder said.

Balmas said his crews collected 49 dump truck loads of leaves during the fall leaf collection. Extra rows were set in the compost yard to handle the supply.

Street department crews ran the brush route for the end of the year and were busy working on renovations at the Community Center and building new cart paths at the golf course.

Ennes reported one house permit was issued for a 1,200-square-foot home on Circle Drive. Work on home additions and remodels made up other recent requests for permits.

Fire Chief Tom Jones said his crews began making preparations for the winter. Municipal Court Clerk Mechele Tharp said this week's session would be the last for the year, a very busy 12-month period. John Strong, chairman of the Crime Stoppers, said a fundraising letter had been mailed in hopes of raising reward money to encourage tipsters.

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