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Council hears of officer’s efforts, less about new development

While they may not be adopting “Robert’s Rules Of Order”, the Farmington City Council is debating adopting a set of guidelines which would govern the body’s actions.

In fact, Mayor Jeannie Roberts referred to the yet-to-be-passed resolution when she used the new guidelines to shut down Councilwoman Vonne Phillips’ during the council session Monday night.

Phillips was grilling an out-of-town developer hoping to build government subsidized housing in Farmington. After the councilwoman questioned funding and income guidelines for the housing for about 15 minutes, Councilman Darrel Holdman interrupted her and said the council had a meeting to hold, and that he felt she had questioned the issue enough.

The mayor sided with Holdman, telling Phillips that the council would be voting on a resolution later in the evening dealing with council actions. It was obvious that Phillips, several other council members and even the developer were surprised she had been stopped while asking what seemed like very valid questions.

Phillips was questioning developer J.T. Turnbough about funding sources for the proposed housing project. She was wondering how the developer would profit from the government subsidized neighborhood. The questions were similar to those asked of other developers in the past when federally-funded projects were proposed for the city.

Once the questioning was squelched, Turnbough and his assistant collected their props and paperwork and left the meeting. All indications were they will make a proposal to get the council to approve the housing in coming months.

Later in the meeting the resolution pertaining to “approving and adopting a city council policy and procedures manual for the city of Farmington, Missouri” came up for vote. After a brief discussion, Phillips made a motion the resolution, R22-2008, be tabled for further review. A vote was taken and council members Holdman, Brad Covell, Larry Forsythe, Dennis Smith and Jeff Firehammer voted in favor of tabling. When asked for no votes, no one raised their hand. The “rules” resolution was put off until at least the July council work session.

Under other legislation, a bill was read and approved unanimously to approve a planned unit development to be built by Burgess Construction, LLC. The development will be an age-restricted complex at 834 Electric Street, near Mineral Area Regional Medical Center and the Farmington Nutrition Center. This development is in no way associated with the housing plan discussed earlier in the meeting.

Brett Burgess explained the units would be rented to people age 55 or older. The housing will not be low-income or government subsidized.

Another bill voted on and approve unanimously was a routine mid-year amendment to the city budget.

Council members also heard of a lifesaving effort by an off-duty police officer. Chief of Police Rick Baker told how Officer Jason Isabel had been driving to his parents’ home and as he passed a home along the way he observed a man lying on the floor of a garage. The officer stopped to see what was wrong, and discovered the man had fallen from a ladder and suffered several broken bones and other injuries. The man was attempting to crawl across the garage floor to reach a phone but was unable to move.

Isabel made the call for help and provided first aid until paramedics arrived. Baker said he later learned of the incident and had given Isabel a written commendation and placed a copy in his personnel file.

City Administrator Greg Beavers told the council that bid requests have been sent out again for a new airport terminal. Initially the plans called for a steel-framed terminal building. When bids came in considerably over budget, it was decided to build a wood-framed building. He said he hopes bids can be opened by the end of July.

The administrator also talked briefly about the upcoming Fourth of July event. Once again the city will provide a fireworks display in Engler Park. This year there will be two bands playing in free concerts — one playing classic rock, the other playing bluegrass and gospel. Music will start about 7:30 p.m., with the fireworks display to begin at about 9:15 p.m.

The council ended the evening by approving two appointments. Phil Pease was appointed to the Airport Advisory Board, while Karen Coleman was appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The next city council meeting will be July 10 at 6:30 p.m.

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