PARK HILLS — The Park Hills City Council amended their open burning ordinance to give it more clarity.
During the council meeting Tuesday night, City Administrator John Kennedy said the previous ordinance addressed only the need for permits at certain times of the year. The new ordinance gives residents a better understanding of safety requirements and when burning is allowed. It gives staff the tools to enforce requirements.
Small campfires and barbecue pits do not require a permit, but larger fires do.
Open burning of leaves, weeds, brush, stumps, and other vegetative debris will be allowed without a permit in the city limits from Oct. 15 through April 15 from sunrise to sunset so long as safety requirements are followed and there is no burn ban. The attendant must be at least 18 years old and must supervise the fire at all times.
Information on the ordinance, as well as application for a permit, will be available on the city’s website.
In other matters, Mineral Area College Vice President of College Affairs Gil Kennon spoke to the council about the college’s upcoming April bond issue. The council voted to approve a resolution in support of the passage of the $8 million no tax increase bond issue.
The bond will renovate the library, science labs, classrooms, as well as business offices at the Park Hills campus. They will add an elevator to the library and an accessible walkway from the library to the Arts and Sciences building. At the Fredericktown campus, they will convert two classrooms into science labs and add four classrooms.
The council also approved a proclamation for Fair Housing Month in April.
The current Community Development grants derive funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the department encourages fair housing practices in the city as part of the grant agreements.
Also during the meeting, Kennedy gave updates on several projects going on in the city.
Kennedy said the conditions of the streets near Central Elementary School including Davis Court and West Buckley are deteriorating rapidly. He believes the trucks hauling for the EPA’s environmental remediation project at the school are causing it. He said he has started conversations with U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson’s office because the city will need help.
Kennedy said the Columbia Park pavilion, Sports Complex Lighting and annexation utilities projects are progressing. He said work at the Crawley Bottom pedestrian bridge is essentially done.
The city is waiting on preliminary final plans for the City Hall Remodel. He hopes to have the plans by Thursday and then they could tentatively go out for bid April 8.
A pre-bid conference for the Animal Control Facility was held March 1 and bids will be opened March 18.
Kennedy also said the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on prevailing wages could be a potential disaster for all cities. It applies to contracted maintenance type work. He hopes the legislature will take some action.
He cautioned last month’s sales tax revenue dropped significantly from the previous year’s. He is hopeful the revenue will show up next month. He said there is no need to panic yet as the prior month’s sales tax revenue had been ahead.
He said on a brighter note, recent census figures show Park Hill has grown by more than 11 percent in the past 10 years. The county’s population increased by about 17 percent, which was in part because of a new prison.
Kennedy also pointed out that Central’s graduation rates are the best and have consistently been the best in the county since the 90s.
Also Fire Chief Jackie Wagganer was officially introduced to the council. He became chief in December after Rick Whaley resigned.
Teresa Ressel is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 179 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.