The Rock Port Board of Aldermen met Wednesday, March 17, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. with Mayor Chris Chamberlain presiding. Board members present were Ron Deatz, Lisa Farmer, Lavon Paukert, and Todd Stevens. Also present were Utility Office Manager Terri McGuire, Chief of Police Shannon Sherwood, Superintendent Trevor Hale, and City Clerk Emily Schulte. Visitors were City Attorney Emily Bauman, Pam Hendersen, Erika Daugherty, Amy Thomas, and Joshua Hayes.
The meeting agenda and the minutes of the February 17, 2021, meeting were approved.
Pam Henderson was in attendance to present information on behalf of the Atchison County Health Department Board of Directors. The board thanked Hendersen for the information and her time.
The city financial statements, accounts payables, tax report, delinquent tax list, and all board and departmental reports were approved.
Also approved were the utility financial statements, accounts payable, purchased power and water statements, take or pay water use report, water loss reports, Utility Clerk report and City Superintendent report.
Erika Daugherty was in attendance on behalf of her employer, Fair Oaks. The community housing which consists of 54 units has decided to begin having their residents pay their individual electrical bills instead of continuing to include this utility within the rent. This project required the city to purchase the required meters and Fair Oaks will be preparing their units as necessary for the installs.
Daugherty then noted she would like to see the $300.00 utility deposits reduced for these customers since they will only have electrical service and they are all small one-bedroom units. She then noted the Deposits Required ordinance which states the utility has the discretion to recalculate a deposit based off two months of usage. It was relayed that the units are only rented to elderly individuals which are typically on a fixed income.
Office Manager McGuire stated the lengthy process this will continue to be. All residents are required to return their completed applications with their deposits prior to service being put in their names. An account for each unit was created by office staff to prepare for the receipt of the applications. It was then inquired if residents could obtain deposit assistance from Ministerial Alliance, Salvation Army, or Community Services. Daugherty stated that she is also involved with distributing funds on behalf of Ministerial Alliance, however their assistance has a threshold. McGuire stated more information would be presented on her deposit findings within her department report.
Mayor Chamberlain revisited sending out an email earlier this month regarding a proclamation request upon the passing of Ted Harmon, which the board approved by email. Chamberlain stated the family was appreciative of the proclamation. The aldermen approved the proclamation of behalf of Ted Harmon.
Flag Flying Days
A list of days for flying the Main Street American flags needs to be established. Superintendent Hale made the following recommendations: January 1, New Year’s Day; third Monday of February, Presidents Day; third Saturday of May, Armed Forces Day; last Monday of May, Memorial Day; June 14, Flag Day; July 4, Independence Day; first Monday in September, Labor Day; September 11, Patriot Day; November 11, Veterans Day; and December 7, Pearl Harbor Day. The aldermen voted to approve Superintendent Hale’s flag day recommendations.
A request on behalf of Cedar Bluff Lodge to have the establishment named a local landmark by the City of Rock Port was presented. Clerk Schulte stated she wasn’t sure if this has been done previously by the city and will continue to research the subject. Schulte inquired if Attorney Bauman had experienced meeting this type of request in any other municipality, which Bauman did not. Bauman stated the city might look into a proclamation for this inquiry. It was tabled for more research to be done.
Street Project List
Superintendent Hale presented his street repair ranking worksheet. The streets were ranked by condition, traffic flow, and cost effectiveness. The streets were then narrowed by the top five ranked streets. Hale’s department typically accomplishes three to four of these streets a year, depending on weather. If conditions don’t allow for as many projects to be completed as planned, some funds should be utilized for asphalt work.
Alderman Stevens asked that Superintendent Hale revise the 2021 list to include Skyline Drive within the rankings to determine where it would reside on the list. The board was also reminded the city put in new gutters and asphalt on Skyline Drive approximately five years ago.
The aldermen approved Superintendent Hale’s 2021 City Street Project List recommendations as presented. The list includes the following: Calhoun Street/Nebraska Street to Kansas Street; Clay Street/Main Street to alley; William Street/Main Street to Market; Opp Street/Main Street to alley; Hillside Drive (section 1)
Sewer List Station
During recent inspections, needed repairs were noted for the sewer lift station at the football field. Allied Systems, Inc. quoted $15,000 for a new panel, installation, and pump repair. After research by Superintendent Hale and Field Supervisor Pritt, a panel was found elsewhere that the city can install. If Allied Systems is contracted out for solely rebuilding of the pumps, the city would see a cost savings of $5,005 from the original quote. The aldermen voted to approve $9,508 for the purchase of pumps and their rebuild by Allied Systems, Inc. and $2,600 for a panel.
MoPEP Winter Storm Recap
The 2021 Winter Storm Recap from Missouri Public Utility Alliance was presented. The information showed the higher than average costs associated with this winter; however, they were able to utilize previous funding to allow for membership credits. This meant we didn’t see a rate increase this year.
A Proposal for Recodification Services was presented by General Code. Clerk Schulte was contacted by an account manager stating the city should consider a recodification, as one hadn’t been performed since May 15, 1990. Schulte requested City Attorney Bauman’s input on this proposed project, and she suggested the city consider it at some point in the near future. Their people would go through the ordinances one by one looking for errors and outdated statues. This project was quoted at $10,995, but Schulte stated since this wasn’t a budgeted expense for the 2021 calendar year, it could likely be considered for 2022.
The aldermen voted to table General Code’s Proposal for Recodification Services until October 2021, in order for this to be reviewed for inclusion in the 2022 city budget.
City Attorney and Prosecutor Bauman reported she and Clerk Schulte met with Municipal Judge Baird, Judge Herron, and Circuit Clerk Hall earlier in the afternoon regarding the transfer of the municipal court. Bauman and Schulte have done quite a bit of work to begin the transfer process but there is still more to be done to assure a smooth transfer. Bauman is cognizant of the case and work load this transition will have on the county court. All parties agreed on a transfer date for August. Bauman planned to send official notification to Presiding Judge Prokes in the morning which will officially begin the process according to OSCA. They are hopeful a good line of communication between the city and county moving forward will provide for a seamless transfer.
Rock Port Telephone Proxy Request
The aldermen approved Mayor Chamberlain signing the Rock Port Telephone Annual Meeting of the Shareholders proxy request.
Park Management Agreement
Alderman Stevens, Park Board Liaison, stated an edited draft of the Park Management Agreement will be taken to the next Park Board meeting for review. Following this, it will be brought back for the Board of Aldermen’s consideration.
Skyline Drive Update
There is not much of an update in regard to MoDOT and Skyline Drive. Superintendent Hale reported no response from MoDOT since the last email sent on behalf of the city.
Chief of Police
Chief Sherwood has applied for a grant to replace old radar equipment. A separate grant is also being pursued which awards funding for overtime worked by police officers. The city would pay the officers and would then be reimbursed. Sherwood then stated he was contacted to be deputized as a U.S. Marshall, which he plans to pursue. Any overtime Sherwood would work for the city following being deputized would be reimbursed to the city.
City Clerk Emily Schulte
It was requested that the city acknowledge National Day of Prayer on May 6, as has been done in years past. A proclamation will be on the April agenda.
Roger Livengood & Associates on Main Street reported having sewer issues and a plumber already on site on March 3. A Notice of Occurrence has been submitted to MIRMA as the city and Livengoods are having discussions regarding liability for the backup. These discussions will continue as the information becomes available for review.
The Sidewalk Cost Share Programs will soon need to be revisited, as new applications are expected to be submitted. The city budgets $2,000 a year for this program.
There has been a great deal of work towards the electrical system lately. Tree trimming has been ongoing and during the recent windstorm when most Atchison County residents lost power with other providers, Rock Port did not. Hale stated his guys are putting in a lot of work and making a lot of progress. Alderman Stevens acknowledged the city has spent a lot of time and money reinforcing our electrical infrastructure and it’s paying off.
Office Manager McGuire distributed a worksheet regarding the Fair Oaks deposit recalculation inquiry from Erika Daugherty and the Fair Oaks board. McGuire used the bulk accounts Fair Oaks currently has, figured in the existing vacancies, and determined $150 across the board for all Fair Oaks residents should be a suitable utility deposit, in her opinion. She reminded the board that the utility just wrote off $8,000 in delinquent accounts, so the city needs to protect itself as well.
Alderman Stevens agreed with McGuire’s recommended determination of $150 deposits for these residents. Daugherty also expressed her approval of the rate for these residents since they’ll be taking on this additional monthly electrical expense and Fair Oaks raised their own rental deposit from $340 to $500. It was going to be difficult for individuals to be able to afford both deposits on their incomes. It was inquired if the community housing is still government funded and rent based off income. Daugherty stated the rent is not based on income, it’s a flat rate, and there is no governmental funding. It is owned by their board of directors.
Alderman Todd Stevens
Alderman Stevens reported having met with Greg Young and Lisa Cooper, representatives of Northwest Missouri Industries, Inc. (NWMI), regarding their bid to mow the park. Stevens believes the bid to be fair, but labor time will likely increase from last year. Stevens recommends accepting the bid from NWMI. The negotiation discussions will be presented at the next Park Board meeting for their awareness, then brought back to the Board of Aldermen for the April meeting. Mowing season is quickly approaching.
Following the sewer backup discussion earlier, Mayor Chamberlain and Superintendent Hale drove around to consider locations where road painting might be utilized in lieu of speed bumps. Chamberlain wanted to get the conversation moving again with the nicer weather upon us. Alderman Deatz also mentioned confusion regarding an old yield sign on Cass Street that might need attention.
Another conversation took place with a resident on Skyline Drive. With winter over, it was inquired if the access to the MoDOT owned portion of the road would be re-opened. The resident was invited to come to a meeting to discuss the issue and their concerns with the Board of Aldermen.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:45 p.m.