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Council agrees to extend utility lines if developers share costs

Park Hills City Council granted requests to extend utility lines in Black Oak Estates and along East Main and Congress streets on the condition that the developers who made the requests agree to share costs.

Council members said during their Aug. 9 meeting that they want more information before taking action on a request by Darren Thurston to upgrade 800 feet of two-inch water pipes to six-inch pipes. The upgrade would benefit several duplexes Thurston intends to build south of Griffith Street. Council members want clarification on whether the developer plans to request annexation of the property.

Ward III Councilman Steve Kelly said everyone in the city should have the right to sewer and water. Members said they were unsure whether they wanted to extend that right to those outside the city and that said they had other questions about Thurston’s request.

The council did approve one project after the builder offered to cover much of the cost, and agreed to approve a second project contingent upon the same agreement.

Ken Douglas submitted a request for a 750-foot extension of the sewer main from Black Oak Estates condominium subdivision to Hovis Farm Road to provide gravity sewer for the properties. When the condominiums were built, the gravity sewer was not available, so builders constricted a lift station with a pump, Douglas said. However, Douglas has had to replace several pumps in the station.

“We’re on our third pump and replacing pumps is a nasty job,” Douglas told the council. “It’s about as close as you can get to an emergency. We need it yesterday.”

Douglas offered to handle the necessary digging for the extension and said he would pay for the engineering costs. When he offered to share the remaining costs with the city – an estimated $4,000 for pipe, manholes and covers – council members agreed to fund the project.

Ward II Councilman Linda Dickerson proposed that the city offer the same agreement to a request by Joe Crews for a 300-foot extension of the sewer main in the alley between East Main and Congress streets to service the new banquet hall he is building on East Main. Because a 12-inch water main runs through the middle of properties in that area, buildings must locate at the extreme front or rear of the property. Neighboring houses are serviced by a sewer main in the front of their properties, but the banquet hall is being built at the rear of the lot to provide parking in front. That puts the water main between the banquet hall and the existing sewer line.

The council had not received a cost estimate for this project, nor had Crews offered to share the cost when he made the request. If he agrees to the city’s proposed terms, the city will support the project.

During the meeting, the council heard also testimony from resident Roger Tyree, who said police are ignoring his complaints about a motorcycle rider who is harassing him. Tyree said the motorcycle is so loud, he can hear it from Main Street when he is in his home on Highway 32, even when his windows are closed. Tyree claimed that every time he complains to the police, the motorcycle rider drives back and forth past his house, gunning the motor. The rider also followed him to the St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department when Tyree complained there, he said.

Tyree told council members that police have refused to address the situation because the motorcycle rider is related to a Park Hills police officer. One officer said he was afraid of the relative, and therefore would not speak to the motorcycle rider, Tyree claimed.

City Attorney Ed Pultz explained that the hearing was only for Tyree to air his feelings, and that the council would not act on the issue without knowing more about it. Tyree warned that if the city did not address the problem, he would pursue the matter further.

“I’m in bad health and I’m not going to put up with it,” Tyree told the council. “I’m sick of it.”

The council also approved a contract with the county to print, prepare and distribute real estate tax statements and collect real estate taxes. Back taxes would still be handled by Park Hills. Currently, annual cost to the city to prepare the statements totals $3,798.28 and another $3,777 in salaries. The cost to have the county handle collections would be $4,000, with a one-time set up fee of $1,200.

In other business, the council amended the firearms ordinance to allow legal hunting in the city on parcels of at least 40 acres; set a public hearing date of Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. for a hearing on the proposed property tax, and appointed Kelly Valle to a four-year term on the planning and zoning commission.

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