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City to sell street sweeper, discusses sewer taps

BONNE TERRE — The Bonne Terre City Council meeting began with a prayer for an employee who was injured while cutting a tree at the Bonne Terre Industrial Park Monday morning.

A tree fell on top of the employee, breaking several bones including his hips and ribs. He was there with a prison inmate worker who immediately radioed for help. The injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

During the meeting, the council discussed and unanimously agreed to sell their new street sweeper, which they still have one payment left.

Councilman LeeRoy Calvert said the people who wanted a street sweeper probably had good intentions, but Calvert saw no reason why they shouldn’t sell it and pay off debt on things the city does need.

City Manager Larry Barton said the sweeper can not be used on many of the city’s streets because the streets are too narrow.

Mayor Fritz Gower agreed the street sweeper was an unnecessary expense for the city right now. Councilman Ed Hottle added that they have the ability to clean up streets with the city’s Skid Steer.

Also during the meeting, Gower and Brad Robinson of the Orchard Development LC discussed sewer tap fees.

Gower told the council that it came to his attention that the city made an agreement in 1996 that froze the sewer tap fee for the Orchard and future owners of property in the development at the 1996 rate. He asked the city attorney to research the agreement and the attorney believes it is a binding agreement.

However, Gower said the city has done research and has not been able to determine what the rate was in 1996. He said they will continue to do business as usual.

Robinson said he joined the Orchard Development in 1999 and was only recently made aware of the agreement. He said the agreement is only for residential property. He said the agreement was made because an easement was needed by the city to get sewer to the prison.

In other matters, Gower said there would be another meeting with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 to talk about the crossover at Hedgeapple Lane and the Big River bridges on Berry Road/Raider Road.

He said officials from MoDOT and the county would be attending and he encouraged residents to attend.

Eliminating the Hedgeapple Road crossover and reopening the north Big River bridge on Berry Road have been priorities for Gower since he became mayor in April.

An update was given on the city’s vacant house registry. A total of 34 notices were sent out to owners of vacant houses with violations. Of those, eight owners have called and asked the city for extensions due to weather. Four properties have been corrected.

The city has started the process to take possession of and tear down a house at 208 West School Street. Members of the council indicated the house was in really bad shape.

During the public comment part of the meeting, a resident asked for help with a sewer back-up that occurred in the basement of her house on Dale Street. She said it was caused by the city’s sewer main. The mayor and city manager agreed to meet with her father at the home this morning.

In other matters, the council approved a special use permit for a Bed and Breakfast at 226 Church Street; approved using a CD for water department and transportation expenses; and approved another pay request from Essex Contracting for the wastewater treatment plant project. The council then adjourned into executive session to discuss personnel.

Teresa Ressel is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 179 or at tressel@dailyjournalonline.com.

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