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Monett Council approves deal for entrance to YMCA

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Monett City Council approved a deal with the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission for the entrance to the new Monett Area YMCA at a special meeting last week.

Under the agreement, a new entrance will be established between the YMCA building and the gravel driveway at the edge of the golf course. Access for the gravel entrance is conveyed back to the state. The new entrance will be shared by both the YMCA and the new golf course club house.

Under the agreement, the city will put a gate over the driveway to the old Kleiboeker/Jones house at the north end of the YMCA building. City emergency crews will have a key to the gate. The old driveway is too close to the main entrance for regular traffic, but will be available if needed.

According to an engineer with Sprenkle and Associates, the city will retain the option to negotiate future use of the old gravel entrance to the south. Since the driveway did not lead anywhere, it has no function once the new driveway opens.

Council members held a public hearing on the $295,000 settlement with Jason and Jennifer Inman over the trespassing on their property to build a storm water drainage channel in the Valley View subdivision in 2004. The deal included court fees and payment to the mediator, bringing the total to $300,288.50.

No public comment was offered during the second reading. With no other information to consider, council members moved to a third reading and gave final approval to the agreement.

Verona dispatching

A memo of understanding was introduced with the City of Verona over dispatching the town's 911 calls. Presently calls made in Verona go to the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department.

City Administrator Dennis Pyle said Monett's charge to Verona would be $175 a month. No additional dispatchers would be needed to pick up the calls.

Public comment on the agreement was scheduled for the regular monthly meeting on Aug. 20. Pyle said dispatching supervisor Bonnie Witt-Schulte would be able to answer any questions at that time.

Council members approved a recommendation by the Building Board to demolish the house at 400 15th St. The owner, who had been given the option of tearing down the damaged building himself, stopped work on the project several months ago, Pyle said, prompting the recommendation.

Demolition was authorized. Cost will be placed on the property as a tax lien.

The resolution honoring Dale Burke for his years of service to the city, which was read in municipal court on July 31, was entered into the meeting minutes.

Electric charge suspended

Utilities Superintendent Pete Rauch updated the council on negotiations over the city's protest of a fee increase by Empire District Electric. According to Stephen Pearson, attorney for the Spiegel and McDiermid law firm which represents the city, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted the city's request.

Empire's proposed 60 percent increase in transmission fees would be suspended until Jan. 1, 2013. The increase would then go into effect but would be subject to a refund, depending on the hearing before FERC.

Rauch said the issue is whether Empire should be reimbursed as rapidly as proposed for its investment to increase power production.

An update was also provided by Rauch on the city's water situation. The chronically muddy #12 well at North Park had begun clouding up on Aug. 1 and had to be turned to waste on Aug. 2. Any inert dirt in the water was diluted by the full tank of water in the adjacent standpipe.

The addition of water from the new #21 well on the Jack Henry and Associates campus reduced the need for #12. The new well is generating 150 gallons a minute more than the troubled well.

"I'd still urge people to conserve water," Rauch said. "We're not out of the woods yet. We still have the potential for several months of hot, dry weather."

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