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Pierce City street superintendent gearing up for winter weather

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The City of Pierce City is gearing up for what might be a severe winter with low temperatures accompanied by ice and snow, according to Alan Frantz, superintendent of the Pierce City streets and water departments.

Frantz told aldermen at their Jan. 14 meeting that the motor to propel sand and de-icing chemical onto city streets was in danger of going out and a replacement was needed. Aldermen authorized replacing the motor.

Frantz also reported some roads in the city were so narrow that he had to back the utility truck into those areas in order to service the areas.

"There are not enough lights on the truck to back it safely," Frantz said. "We also need more lights on the front for better visibility."

That request was approved.

Frantz, looking ahead, requested aldermen to consider having the city's lawnmower checked and repaired for spring. Aldermen authorized an inspection and estimate of repairs needed to better determine their course of action.

Mayor Allen Stockton told aldermen the main lift station on Pine Street had "bit the dust again."

"We're still waiting for everything to get released from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR)," Stockton said. "We thought we would have let bids [for the treatment plant and lift station improvements] already. When we get done, we'll be in compliance with the DNR."

In the meantime, a pump truck has been contracted to haul several loads from the lift station to the treatment plant.

"I told Jeff [Riekhof, of Clearwater Environmental, LLC in Springfield] that I wouldn't have anyone go down into the wet well," Stockton said. "The city doesn't have the equipment and our people don't have the training to do that."

Stockton also reported an anomaly in water distribution that results in rusty water being pumped to consumers on the north side of town only on Saturday mornings.

"I don't know if someone is messing with a fire plug or what," Stockton said. "It doesn't make sense that it only happens on Saturday mornings."

Mike Abramovitz, Pierce City Police Chief, reported radio problems with the repeater station.

"It's been repaired, but it's on the verge," Abramovitz said. "We should get a new transistor board."

Cost of the replacement board is $355.

"We'll basically have an entire new system with it," Abramovitz said.

Aldermen also adjusted the number of sick days available to full time employees from 12 days per year to two days per month.

"We'll give them up to eight weeks," Stockton said. "They can cash out any unused days after accumulating 320 hours."

The change will go into effect on April 1, in conjunction with the city's fiscal year.

Aldermen briefly discussed the proposed formation of the Pierce City Fire District, which would combine both city and rural fire departments into one entity.

Alderman Brian Jones told council members they would have to decide whether to sell, donate or keep the equipment the city currently owns if voters approve the formation of the fire district.

"Basically, if this is approved, the city is out of the firefighting business," Stockton said. "We will have to figure out what to do with the equipment and trucks. There will be no city tax, so the council will have no control over the district."

Currently, neither the city tax nor rural memberships provide enough income for firefighters to keep equipment and gear up to date.

"We have some bunker gear over 13 years old," Stockton said. "That's way out of compliance. We can't afford new radios, gear or [self-contained breathing apparatus]."

The district will have an elected board to oversee finances and operations.

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