The Park Hills City Council met in regular session Tuesday evening to hold a public hearing and approve several ordinances.
The council first opened the floor for public comment regarding a request for a special use permit to construct a two-family duplex in an R-2 single family residential zoning district at 700 Dix Avenue.
City Attorney Ed Pultz explained the criteria that the council should examine when considering the approval of the special use permit before Mayor Daniel Naucke opened the floor for public comment. Dustin Wyatt, the owner of the property said he saw no problems with the criteria and so declined to comment. No other public comment was made.
The council unanimously approved the special use permit to Wyatt.
Next, City Administrator Mark McFarland gave the council his report, saying that there are a lot of things going on in Park Hills.
First, he said that he and Dooley Politte, director of the Parks Department, were beginning to look into replacing a city van. He said the bathrooms in Elvins Park were coming along and city employees had met with Ameren officials regarding lighting to be placed in Haney Park.
McFarland also raised the topic of bringing back the Fourth Fest on the Fourth of July, suggesting that the council think about the idea in coming months. He said he thought it would be best to start slowly and gauge public interest in the return of the event.
McFarland said the Street Department had been busy, trimming trees downtown and gauging the damage caused by tree roots to sidewalks downtown. He also said that the street department did a great job during the recent ice storm, quickly clearing streets for traffic.
Referring to the recently discussed Neighborhood Watch Program, McFarland said that Detective Mike Kurtz of the Park Hills Police Department had been assigned as a liaison between the public and the police department.
McFarland said Kurtz had suggested that the councilpersons of each ward select a “captain” from within their ward to head up the program in their respective portions of the city.
He said the fire department had also been busy recently, painting and cleaning the firehouse and installing a recently donated kitchen stove. McFarland said the fire department is still in need of additional volunteer firefighters, encouraging those interested to reach out to the fire department, Chief John Reeves or City Hall.
After last month’s drastic drop in sales tax revenue, McFarland said February’s numbers were slightly more encouraging, with revenue up 6.7 percent over last year’s numbers. The increase translates to a $32,000 increase.
In a report from the Public Works and Utility Committee, Councilman John Clark gave the council an update on work being done and areas of need.
Among the items discussed, Clark said in the committee’s meeting with the mayor and city officials, the need for cleaning litter in the city was discussed.
“That’s something I think that you all agreed we need to work towards and get some sort of a schedule,” Clark said. “Whether it’s our prison crews that we use to do this work, or a combination of all the work groups on a periodic basis to patrol and monitor these areas and make sure that they’re clean and to make sure that when you come into our town, it looks nice. I think that’s something we need to work toward.”
After Clark’s report, Naucke said he agreed about the need to continually monitor litter and that city crews had indeed been spending time picking up trash in recent days.
“As a councilmember, I would like to encourage the residents of Park Hills to also help with that, with their properties and things like that,” Clark said. “That makes such a big difference, if people help us.”
Clark also reported on his meeting with the Senior Aid Association, saying that conversations had been held about increasing insurance rates at the senior apartments downtown. Clark said the apartment’s management had discussed the possibility of being covered on city insurance, as it would save considerable money.
In council discussion, Councilman Duane McAllister asked if city crews could regularly mow grass surrounding the Parkway Drive exit off of U.S. 67. McFarland said the ground being referred to should technically be kept up by MoDOT and that attempts to encourage more frequent mowing have gone largely unanswered.
Councilman Tom Reed asked about a series of delinquent, damaged or seemingly abandoned homes in city limits, inquiring where the city was at in pursuing any remedy or action.
“We’ve got a list from several councilman, and all those you mentioned are on that list,” said Community Development Director Robert Sullivan. “We’re going to hit the high-profile homes — ones that are a danger to the public or anybody getting on the property. Those processes are not things that happen overnight.”
Sullivan said there are legal as well as municipal factors to be considered when proceeding with action on such homes.
Next, Economic Development Director Anna Kleiner introduced a proposed ordinance that would authorize the mayor and city clerk to execute an agreement with Crawford, Murphy & Tilly Engineering related to a traffic study at the intersection of Taylor Avenue and Marty Drive.
Kleiner said the project would not exceed $10,000, with $8,000 of the cost being reimbursed by MoDOT and the results of the study needing to be submitted to MoDOT by April 14. The council approved the ordinance.
The council next approved an ordinance proclaiming the April election of five total councilpersons. In Ward 1, Michael “Adam” Bowers is running for a two-year term and Alan Coleman and Ben Lashley are both running for a one-year term. In Ward 2 David W. Easter, Duane McAllister and Chris Myers are running for a two-year term. In Ward 3 Edward L. Hart and Richard L. House are running for a two-year term. In Ward 4 Steven Weinhold and Charlie Naucke are running for a two-year term. The council approved the election proclamation.
The council next voted to submit grants for the police department, written by Det. Sgt. Todd Inserra for overtime and equipment costs.
The council also voted to move the scheduled monthly meeting of the planning and zoning commission to the third Thursday of the month to allow for more efficient approval of proposed projects.
The council also voted to approve ordinances to extend deadlines related to the St. Joe trailhead at the Fairgrounds Drive project, due to delayed action by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.