The Fredericktown City Council met in both a work session and Full Council meeting Monday. One of the topics discussed was a possible $75,000 fine being imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the swamp area along Lincoln Drive. Aldermen said they were led to believe that the swamp area fine could be negated if the city makes the area into something like a wetlands park or Interpretive Center. Aldermen discussed the possibility of creating a trail for walking, hiking of biking. A sort of “Fredericktown River Walk.” The general consensus was that if the fine were imposed, the city would rather spend $75,000 (or less) to create the park then to simply hand it over to the EPA. No formal action was taken beyond the discussion. Contact your aldermen with your thoughts on this issue.
In other agenda item:
A public meeting was held from 5:34 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. regarding the 2009/2010 budget. No comments were heard.
Council was advised by the city attorney a modification to a proposed lease agreement with US Cellular regarding maintenance of a new cell tower is in the works.
The aldermen approved the old 2008/2009 budget report and approved the new 2009/2010 budget at Full Council after hearing a report on both budgets from Gregg Shinn, CPA.
Aldermen approved a request, at the work session, from Ken Tomlinson to hold a Homecoming Parade prior to the Blackcat Football game on October 9, 2009. The parade would begin along North Main St, travel around the Courthouse, East to Lincoln DR and then along Highway 72 to the high school.
Council also approved a request from the Fredericktown Revitalization Initiative (FRI) to hold Halloween events from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. around the downtown area and along one block on each of the four streets surrounding Court Square on October 31. The Witches Brew will be moved from the fire department to the downtown area according to a FRI committee member. Calahans is considering a special for the evening as well according to Ruth Ann Skaggs. Parking will be available in the lots behind Pizza Hut, in back of the Library and in back of the license bureau. A trip to Vance Winery is also in the works after 8 p.m. The Civil War Museum will also be participating according to committee members. City Administrator Jim Dismuke spoke to the aldermen at the work session regarding a new terminal building at the Fredericktown Regional Airport in conjunction with MoDOT Aviation. The building would be 1,500 sq. ft. He presented a list of the consultant costs from BWR Engineers totaling $66,800. Dismuke also mentioned another cost breakdown had received from another company for about $49,000. Dismuke pointed out the city would be responsible for any costs overruns the project may have. No further action was taken at this meeting.
The Planning and Zoning Commission requested four ordinance changes. All four were approved at Full Council. Three of the ordinances are simply wording changes to modify the allowed use in general commercial (C-1) zones. None of the three ordinances affect any current downtown businesses according to the building inspector. The fourth change is an increase in filing fees when a developer submits the preliminary plat to the Building Department. Fees are $100 plus $10 for each lot in the proposed subdivision.
Ward III Alderman Richard Walts thanked the Council for allowing him to travel to the Missouri Public Utilities Alliance conference at Tan-Tar-A recently. He reported his attendance at some “break-out” sessions regarding several topics including financial help for low income residents who need weatherization in the residences. According to Walts report, low income residents at the federal poverty level (adjusted as high as 15 percent above the level) could be eligible for the weatherization help. Walts said the program makes significant improvements in reducing utility costs through energy conservation and helps lower future requests from residents in need of help paying utility bills. Walts said this is a good program and is administered through East Missouri Action Agency in Fredericktown.
The federal poverty level in 2009 is $10,830 for a single family). Source: http://www.atdn.org/access/poverty.html
Walts also spoke about Cap and Trade and Carbon Credit bill pending in congress. Walts also pointed out the useful tools the MPUA has available to members; such as safety DVDs.
Dismuke also attended the conference. He said he thinks the EPA enforcement will be getting more intense in coming months. He also mentioned meeting with members of the Alliance who serve in various functions such as financing programs.
Police Captain Ken Tomlinson II reported the receipt of two Tazer guns for the department with audio and video capabilities. The tazers were purchased with a grant from Missouri Intergovernmental Risk Management Association (MIRMA). The grant also included an ‘in-car’ video system. The total cost of the grant is $8671.95 of which 25 percent ($2167.99) will come out of police funds. He also reported an Local Law Enforcement Block Grant/Justice Assistance Recovery Grant (LLEBG/JAG) of $8555.41 for safety equipment. This grant provides 100 percent funding, so there is no additional cost to the city. The department has also applied for the 2010 grant.
The Fredericktown Police Department answered 837 calls between August 22, 2009 and September 22, 2009. with three felony arrests being made. The department also completed the “You Drink You Drive You Lose” campaign along with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department. During the enforcement effort 130 traffic tickets were issued, including nine for driving while intoxicated. Four felony arrests were made as a result of the crackdown according to the report.
Council voted to table the Madison Village-Phase One plat. The aldermen said utilities and easements must be completed before the plat is approved.
Council approved the ordinance for the Eye Vista program through February 2010.
In remarks, Sandy LaPlant thanked the aldermen for looking into the utility problems at the Senior Center. Don Wasson said some of the problems are due to old appliance being used which cost more to run. They will also look at weatherization of the building. LaPlant said she believes the city should help subsidize the Senior Center as a local service just as Farmington does. Many seniors can not afford to pay more for their meals to offset the costs of the utilities at the center.
Regarding his trip to the conference, Walts said, It was very informative.
“It is well worth our time to be knowledgeable on what they’re (MPUA) doing.”
Ward I Alderman Paul Brown also appreciated the Council approval for the trip to Vegas regarding the Weapons of Mass destruction training for fire fighters and law enforcement.
Closed session followed for one personnel matter.