The Rock Port Board of Aldermen met Wednesday, July 20, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. with Mayor Amy Thomas presiding. Board members present were Ron Deatz, Lisa Farmer, and Kelley Herron. Kory Paris was absent. Also present were: Utility Office Manager Terri McGuire, City Clerk Emily Schulte, Officer Derek Morris, and Officer Luke Seiter. Visitors were Jody Carlson, Jennifer Jarvis, W.C. Farmer, Scott Jones, Chad Ottmann, Mike Klosek, Jr., Mike Klosek, III, and Staci Coleman.
Mayor Amy Thomas called the meeting to order then led the meeting in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
The meeting agenda was approved.
McGuire recommended a revision to the June 22 minutes to alleviate some confusion. The original minutes read: Utility Office Manager McGuire requested approval of $20,000 to hire H. L. Sinkhorn & Sons for tree trimming. Outages are starting to occur semi-regularly with overgrown trees and high winds from storms. Since the utility pays other entities within MPUA to come assist on larger outages, this expenditure should pay for itself quickly.
The recommended amendment was: Utility Office Manager McGuire requested approval of $20,000 to hire H. L. Sinkhorn & Sons for tree trimming on city owned trees located on city property.
The aldermen approved the amended minutes of the June 22, 2022, meeting.
Jennifer Jarvis and Jody Carlson – Missouri American Water
Jody Carlson, Director of Operations for Northwest Missouri, introduced himself and Jarvis, both of Missouri American Water. They work with northwestern Missouri communities with higher utility rates and wanted to reach out to see if they could be of assistance to Rock Port. Carlson claimed that with their large volume of customers it makes possible to keep rates low.
If the city were interested in selling its system, they would be required to have a vote of the community, have an appraisal of the system, and another vote of the community to accept or reject the offer given. They (Missouri American Water) believe the sale could result in a significant utility savings for the customers and the city would benefit from the tax revenue and additionally franchise revenue, if they wished to seek implementing that tax.
Board members inquired how promptly service calls would be answered and where technicians would be responding from. Carlson stated they have a large crew in St. Joseph, but also retain several contractors from around the state. While their crews do regular service calls, they do contract out larger jobs such as main replacements. Typically, when purchasing a system they also look at hiring previous city employees or individuals familiar with the system to join their organization.
Concerns over street projects and line replacements were also discussed and how those would be coordinated. Alderman Deatz stated he would reach out to other communities they’ve purchased from. Carlson and Jarvis invited the board to reach out with any questions.
Ottmann reported moving forward with purchasing additional properties on the block for the future expansion of the fire house. The paperwork is almost complete for the corner building and they have asked and were approved to utilize ARPA funds for the demolition and clean-up of that location.
Farmer stated they would begin working on the purchase of the neighboring building next. They are trying to find the current owner a suitable location with specific specifications to move to. They also expect to receive support from the Rural Fire board regarding funding. Once all demolition has taken place and the expansion is being planned, the USDA is always offering grants for the construction of fire houses, which they will pursue.
Everyone thanked the fire department for their work on this endeavor. An expansion has been necessary for some time and it is great to see it finally happening.
Solid Waste Disposal Contract – Klosek’s LLC
Mike Klosek, Jr. and Mike Klosek, III were present to discuss the solid waste disposal contract. They submitted a proposal with a base fee of $13.74 for residential customers and implementation of a rate of $335 a month to the city for all city, utility, fire, and park usage. The latest contract proposal will be sent to the city’s attorney for review.
Klosek also reported a park dumpster had to be replaced following the 4th of July weekend. It appeared to have split in half by some type of heavy firework or explosive placed inside the container. It was believed this likely occurred at the same time other areas in the park also experienced fireworks damage.
Information regarding city-wide cleanups was requested. There are several options offered; however, the full-service option which they man and includes the cost of all haul-away typically runs around $2,500 and comes with fewer restrictions on what can be thrown away.
Alderwoman Farmer commented liking the residential recyclables being collected prior to the trash. She asked if there was anything residents could do to make recyclables more noticeable to the sanitation crew. Klosek stated just writing recyclables on the trash bag is helpful.
The tow bill incurred by a Klosek truck discussed at the last meeting was also brought up. It was relayed that Superintendent Thomas had submitted a notice of occurrence to MIRMA and we were still waiting to hear back.
City Consent Agenda
The aldermen approved the city financial statements, accounts payable, tax report, delinquent tax list, the City Clerk, Chief of Police, and all board reports. They also approved the utility financial statements, accounts payable, purchased power and water statements, take or pay water use report, water loss reports, Utility Office Manager report and City Superintendent report.
Police Officer Derek Morriss
There have been 125 calls for service since Chief Sherwood went on leave at the beginning of May. This number does not include walk-ins or individuals stopping officers while patrolling. There are currently three cases under investigation, 15 of the 29 nuisance complaints have been closed out, and a clean-up of the Police Department office has recently taken place. Five large bags of trash and cardboard have been hauled off. The board thanked Morriss and Seiter for addressing nuisances and cleaning up the office.
City Clerk Emily Schulte
Several vendors, groups, and individuals came together on the 4th of July to offer activities, food, and free items for the kids at the park. Though it was small, it was a good start at growing the event.
The new iPads purchased with ARPA money will be arriving soon. Schulte asked the board what they would like to do with the old iPads.
The aldermen voted to offer the iPads to employees first for the cost of $25.00 each.
Mayor Thomas, on behalf of Superintendent Brentlee Thomas
Last month’s meeting minutes have some citizens confused regarding the board approving funds be added to the tree trimming budget. These funds are not for trees owned by citizens, but instead for city-owned trees. Citizens still need to make arrangements to have their trees trimmed in accordance with city ordinances. If the trees have city-owned lines in or near them, they can call the utility office and the utility crew can make arrangements to have the lines dropped for a third party to be able to safely trim them. These arrangements need to be made with as much notice as possible, as employees are currently attending weekly trainings and the crews are understaffed.
Utility Office Manager Terri McGuire
McGuire noted a lot of work going into the new nuisance tracker by several employees and it’s becoming a group effort. It’s not perfect but it’s a start. Office staff are encouraging citizens to fill out complaints when in the office to provide more documentation.
It was asked if Officer Seiter had made any progress with Freija Gross, the owner of Rock Port Cabins. Seiter stated she threatened to sue him personally if he were to cite her. It was encouraged to move forward with Rock Port Cabins, then send the citation on to Prosecutor Bauman for review. Seiter stated he had not yet sent her any written warnings, so he would prefer starting with a letter.
Alderman Kelley Herron
Alderman Herron reported that Superintendent Thomas would like the policy for the cost of a meter set changed. Schulte asked that Herron or Thomas have the policy revision added to an agenda and an official request be submitted for the packet. It’s best to have in writing any policy revisions wanting considered by the board. Herron agreed.
Herron then thanked everyone for their work on the 4th of July. He knew there was a lot of effort put forth by a lot of groups and individuals.
Alderwoman Lisa Farmer
Alderwoman Farmer wanted the board to be aware that her son was planning to start a side business trimming trees. She wanted to be sure no other board members saw a conflict with her being on the council if she were to share his posts via her social media platforms. No issues were voiced. There’s a great need for the service in the area.
Alderman Ron Deatz
Alderman Deatz stated he will call some of the smaller communities that have sold to Missouri American Water to get their experiences. He also asked if all the other board members received the invitation from the park board to attend an upcoming meeting regarding youth sports and all entities utilizing park grounds. They had.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:47 p.m.
Special meeting July 27, 2022
The Rock Port Board of Aldermen met Wednesday, July 27, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. with Mayor Amy Thomas presiding. Board members present were Ron Deatz, Lisa Farmer, Kelly Herron and Kory Paris. Also present was Attorney Peter Rottgers.
Mayor Amy Thomas called the meeting to order.
The meeting agenda was approved.
Herron moved to adjourn executive session for legal, personnel, and protected records matters pursuant to Section 610.021(1), (3) and (14) RSMo. Farmer seconded. All votes aye.
The executive session was adjourned and the regular session resumed.
The regular meeting was then adjourned.