Robert Vanderbrugen/Democrat News Staff Writer
The Fredericktown City Council has had two public Full Council meetings and a work session since the storm on May 8, 2009.
The most recent meeting was held on Tuesday, May 26. (Preceding Monday was Memorial Day). During the Tuesday meeting, the aldermen heard an update on the condition of Memorial Pool. The storm had caused damage in significant areas at the pool including the fence and the electric transformer that powers the pool. Electric Department Manager Don Wasson told the aldermen he is in the process of trying to find a replacement transformer from area cities. Wasson said if he has to order one from a company, the wait could be as long as 8 weeks, putting the pool opening at the end of July. Wasson told the aldermen he is looking for a replacement from other cities in order to reduce the wait time. If successful, the transformer repairs could be completed in approximately two weeks. Ward II Alderman Rick Polete pointed out the need to continue working on the repairs at the pool, including painting it, while the city searches for another transformer.
In other Full Council actions Tuesday;
Mayor Danny Kemp opened up a public hearing at 6:15 PM to hear comments on a request from Warren Reagan to change the zoning from R-1 (single family housing) to R-2 (multi-housing) near the 600 block area of Buford Blvd. Reagan has asked for the change in order to build some apartments. However, two residents of the area said they were against the change in zoning. They said they do not want apartments in their neighborhood as well as any traffic problems the apartment complex might cause. They presented a petition with 18 signatures against the change to the mayor and aldermen, asking for the zoning to remain R-1. Reagan continued to voice his support for the zoning change. He did not believe such problems would happen if the apartments are built. Reagan said his apartments would help Fredericktown by offering additional affordable housing. Kemp accepted the petition and said the city would consider the matter and have something to say at the next council meeting. Kemp closed the public hearing at 6:28 P.M. with no other comments being heard for other members in the audience.
Dave Ward, a Parks and Recreation Board member spoke to the council regarding the Parks Department and budget amendments. He also requested an update on the repairs being done at Memorial Pool. Ward said he would like to have a council member at the park board meetings to ensure lines of communication are kept open. Ward said he has found that projects would be considered or undertaken by the parks board, only to find the council had changed the budget for the park board, causing delays. Repairs would include $1,200 to paint the pool and a seven to ten day waiting period for it to dry. Ward said the lifeguards had been hired and are waiting to hear what the city plans to do with them while the pool is being repaired. One alderman commented saying the pool may be kept open until Labor day, but no formal decision had been made at this meeting.
Greg Shinn presented his financial report to the aldermen.
During the Mayor’s report, Kemp said he was amazed to see how everyone had worked together during the storm and the response from volunteers and employees. They did and are doing a “fantastic job.” Kemp went on to compliment everyone involved including the help the city received from state, county and city officers and other emergency responders. Kemp said Emergency Management Director Becky Hunt “Did a fabulous job.” He also pointed out there is still, “a lot left to do.” Public Works Director Kenny McDowell was also recognized by the mayor, Vince Grieshaber and Captain Ken Tomlinson for all his efforts responding to the calls for help from the various city departments including the police.
All the aldermen had positive comments about the help the city received from the various employees including City Clerk Barbara Stevens and Deputy City Clerk Teresa Harbison, the churches, religious organizations volunteers, mutual aid responders, Americorp volunteers and local businesses like DLB Computers. Residents are asked to “continue to be patient” as this is a monumental task and clean-up effort.
Council passed a motion to have City Attorney Kim Moore draw up an ordinance addressing Disorderly Conduct.
City Administrator Jim Dismuke told the aldermen the city had met with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) agents to conduct damage assessments from the May 8 storm. An estimated $1,000,000 had been identified in infrastructure loss, the amount of debris and other damages. If FEMA approves the damage amounts, the Missouri National Guard could be activated to help. Governor Jay Nixon had toured Fredericktown on Monday, May 11. Dismuke said the mutual aid crews working in the area ‘did an awesome job.” Fourteen different crews had been working. Ward II Alderman Sie Merriman SR asked the mayor if everything has been done as far as the city helping secure the disaster declaration. Kemp said yes.
A motion was made and passed to authorize the repair of the garage doors at city hall. The bid for the repair from Mineral Area Door was accepted. The city’s insurance carrier is expected to cover the cost of the repair. According to city administration. Police said one chainsaw had been stolen from the area through the open doorway.
Estimates to repair a sanitation truck can in at $9,299.09. Council agreed to approve the repair cost.
Kenny McDowell told the aldermen several trash carts had been lost in the storm, along with the sign for Teen Town. Residents are asked to report any sighting of the sign and any stray trash carts.
Police Captain Ken Tomlinson II commended his officers for their work during the aftermath of the storm. They were away from their families for many hours helping others.
Ward I Alderman Harold Thomas said he heard positive comments about the curfew the city imposed. The curfew was lifted May 17.
Council moved into closed session.
At the work session of May 26.
Deputy City Clerk Teresa Harbison is working hard on improving the city’s insurance evaluation report for 2010 according to City Clerk Barbara Stevens. Stevens said Harbison is busy arranging follow up reports on accidents and other safety related matters. Stevens said the city has re-activated the safety committee also. All these combined efforts should show an improvement in the 2010 insurance evaluation report, due in February.
The aldermen heard an update report on the downtown substation rebuilding. Electric Department Manager Don Wasson said the frames are up, and they will be pouring the concrete for the breakers. Some parts are still on order he said. Wasson expects to “fire up” the substation in about three weeks.
The aldermen also discussed the drawing plans for improving the wastewater Ultraviolet upgrade at the treatment plant. A bid by Total Electric, Inc. was approved for $2,015.00 for the work.
Fire Chief John Clark reported the power unit for the Jaws-of-Life has failed and is not repairable. Clark said the unit was 33 years old. Council agreed to allow the purchase of a new power unit for the fire department.
City Administrator Jim Dismuke talked about an annexation study by Southeast Missouri Regional Planning. The aldermen agreed to continue the study and pay the costs of $7,500.
At the May 11, 2009 meeting, the minutes reflected the review of the annual liquor licenses. All were approved except for Ole Times County Cafe since the building was destroyed by the May 8 storm.
A resolution was approved establishing John Paul Skaggs County Historian Memorial Street. (The first such resolution). The street designation is along North Main St. from Court Square to Morley St. One dissenting vote was cast by Ward III Alderwoman Karen Wright.
Two ordinances were passed as recorded in the minutes including one executing an agreement between the City and McDowell Farms relative to cutting hay on city owned property. And an agreement between the City and Townsend Tress Service for tree removal services.