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Mayor breaks tie, as City approves administrator’s contract

The routine meetings of the Fredericktown Board of Aldermen were held Monday, August 10. 

At the work session, City Administrator Jim Dismuke’s contract was discussed. The Board was evenly divided in sending the contract to Full Council.  When the contract was presented, the votes were tied 3 to 3. Ward I Aldermen Harold Thomas and Paul Brown both voted yes, along with Ward III Alderman Rich Walts. The Naye votes came from Ward III Alderman Karen Wright and Ward II Aldermen Rick Polete and Sie Merriman. Mayor Danny Kemp broke the tie by voting yes on Dismuke’s new contract at Full Council.

Dismuke now becomes a part-time city employee (He was an independent consultant previously). His salary is set at $65,460 with an increase in hours he will have to work, from 20 to 28 hours a week. Dismuke will not have benefits as a part time employee and would be subject to the personnel handbook of  rules. His  FICA and Medicare taxes are included in the salary amount.  The salaries other cities were paying their city administrators were even higher according to Attorney Kim Moore. Ward III Alderman Richard Walts pointed out the need to be aware of the costs the city will incur replacing the city administrator when Dismuke retires.  The issue of residency also came up. Ward II Alderman Rick Polete asked what defines residency. Moore said the Missouri Supreme Court had issued an opinion that residency is where a person chooses to say where they reside. They would receive mail, pay their taxes, vote and pay utility bills where they reside. The Board, as the authority for the City, would have the decision to determine acceptable residency requirements are met.

Also at the work session, aldermen discussed ways in which to collect past due  utility bills. One estimate placed the pass due bills on the books at nearly three quarters of a million dollars. The ordinances are in place now to collect the past due bills according to the Board. One suggestion was to require the delinquent account holder to appear in Municipal Court. However, the aldermen were advised that the municipal court could only impose a fine. If they wanted to collect the past due money, the City would have to use the Associate Court.  The City is continuing in their efforts to ‘purge the books’ of the past due bills.

At Full Council, Mayor Danny Kemp again offered his appreciation to all city departments for their hard work cleaning up after the May 8 storm. The work continues. He also pointed out a new effort is being made within Fredericktown to have a place for youth to have things to do. Details have not been finalized, but Kemp said Pastor Pam’la Cowan of the Presbyterian Church is coordinating efforts to have a place on Friday and/or Saturday for youth to have something to do. The program would be staffed by church volunteers and others showing an interest. Kemp said more information is forthcoming.

City Administrator Jim Dismuke said he compared some electric rates between Jackson, MO., Black River Electric and Fredericktown. In his analysis, Dismuke calculated the various rates including tiered rates against Fredericktown rates. He found, for the same amount of electricity BREC was $107.56, Fredericktown was $107.80 and Jackson came in at the highest amount, $122.85. He was pointing out the electric rate in Fredericktown is something he would like to maintain and he said he hopes the budget committee will do just that. Dismuke also arranged to have meetings with the planning and ordinance committee to talk about annexing some land, and to talk about the terminal and hangars at the airport. He said he wants to meet with the Budget, Personnel and Finance Committee. He also told the Council about the Missouri Municipal League’s annual meeting at Tan Tar A resort. He said the cost would be about $850 per person if anyone were to attend. The meeting is scheduled for October 4 through the 7, 2009.

The employee dinner has been changed to a Christmas Party.

Ordinances were passed as follows:

Approving the plat for Hanco Minor Subdivision at 201 High St.;

Acceptance of a temporary easement deed from G & T Rentals, relative to the Commercial Dr. Re-Construction Project. Ward I Alderman Harold Thomas abstained from voting on this ordinance;

An ordinance executing a agreement between Horner-Shifrin related to the water treatment plant phase I study;

A first addendum to the contract between the City and Young’s General Contracting, Inc. regarding debris removal on public right-of-ways.

The city had also received reports from the City Marshal, Municipal Court docket and financial report and the Building Inspector’s report.

Ward II Alderman Sie Merriman Sr. presented his resignation from the Planning and Zoning Commission. The mayor accepted his resignation from the commission and recommended Ward III Alderman Richard Walts to take his place. Council approved.

Accounts payable have been approved when money becomes available to pay them. Storm clean-up has drained city funds and a line of credit loan is being processed to close the gap until FEMA reimburses the City for the storm clean up costs.

In remarks, Sandy LaPlant brought up the issue of very high electric rates at the Senior Center. LaPlant said she wants the City to look into why the Senior Center is paying such extremely high rates when they are a non-profit. Is was pointed out by a city employee the Senior Center is paying commercial rates. Mayor Kemp said he believes the Senior Center is an asset to the City and will look into the matter to see what can be done.

Meeting adjourned.

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