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Pierce City gets $350K boost

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The City of Pierce City has been awarded a Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) grant, in the amount of approximately $350,000, to help pay for the wastewater improvement project improvements and upgrades.

Andy Novinger, of Anderson Engineering in Springfield, was at the public hearing on Nov. 12 to explain various studies conducted prior to the start of the project.

Novinger said the environmental study, conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the DNR and other agencies, revealed no risks to threats to the environment.

Novinger also discussed the user charge for city customers hooked into the system.

"User rates were already increased," Novinger said. "The city has already taken that step. They have minimized the cost as much as possible in order to remain in compliance with the DNR. The city can adjust rates as they go, if necessary."

Novinger said residents would also receive a notice of items that should not be put into the system, including plastics and cloth.

During the regular business meeting, aldermen discussed placing funds as collected into a tower maintenance account for cleaning, maintenance and repairs.

"We were [previously] stopped on the inspection and cleaning because we didn't have funds to do it," said Alderman Brian Jones.

The board approved depositing $200 per month into a dedicated account.

Aldermen also discussed employee health insurance costs and affordability.

The city's current carrier, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, currently covers full-time employees. Premiums for the coming year were raised a total of $118.13 per month. Aldermen John Archer, Dana Stanphill, Scott Wahl, Kenny Smith, Cory Sooter, Melissa Creed and Brandon Raley approved the city-paid increase. Alderman Brian Jones opposed.

Pierce City Fire Chief Andy Hogenmiller presented aldermen a memo of understanding issued by Barry-Lawrence County Ambulance District (BLCAD) concerning a waiver of liability.

The memo stated the fire department and its volunteers would assume all costs associated with providing patient care in the event of injury, negligence, action or inaction.

Hogenmiller also stated the department would be charged for replacing supplies, formerly provided by BLCAD, and that volunteers would now be required to pay for basic life support training previously provided by BLCAD.

"I really hate to make the call not to run medicals," said Mayor Allen Stockton.

"Lots of times, we have to wait for an hour for an ambulance to arrive," said Jones.

"Our firefighters don't want to sign this memo," Hogenmiller said. "I don't feel that we should have to pay for materials that they should be giving us to use on their patients."

"We're not signing this," Stockton said. "If we have to stop running medicals, that's what we'll have to do. We are not signing something to shift the liability right now."

Aldermen approved a resolution to Move to Amend 417, a Constitutional amendment in which the United States Supreme Court equated corporations with individual personhood and corporate money to freedom of speech in regards to political campaigns. The Amend 417 movement calls to abolish corporate personhood and re-establish that only people are entitled to inalienable constitutional rights, money is not free speech and regulating political contributions is not equivalent to limiting free speech.

Jim Burnett, a former Missouri State Highway Patrolman, is spearheading the local movement of Move to Amend 417.

Other municipalities joining the effort include Kansas City, Freistatt, with Purdy and Springfield pending approval.

Burnett indicated if enough cities and states across the nation voted to reject the 417 amendment, the Supreme Court would have to reverse its opinion.

The resolution passed with Wahl, Stanphill, Sooter, Creed and Smith voting their approval, with Archer and Jones opposed. Raley abstained.

Aldermen also approved an ordinance calling for a municipal election to be held April 3, 2013.

Officers to be elected include two-year terms for each of the city's four wards. Seats to be filled include: Kenny Smith, Ward I; Brian Jones, Ward II; Melissa Creed, Ward III; and Brandon Raley, Ward IV.

Candidates may file at City Hall in Pierce City between Dec. 15 and Jan. 15, 2013. Filing fee is $1.

In other business, aldermen:

* Approved the purchase of a locking cover for the generator located at the Pierce City Fire Department.

* Heard from Alan Frantz concerning preparations of supplies and equipment for winter weather.

* Approved the purchase of tired for the police car, backhoe and public works utility truck.

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