The Farmington City Council bought a downtown building to provide additional office space for the city, as well as addressed several property issues when it met in regular session Thursday, Oct. 13 at Long Memorial Hall.
The council passed Resolution R47-2022, authorizing the mayor to purchase the Big River Communications building, located at 101 S Jefferson St. It will be used for city office expansion.
“Folks will remember when that was the fire station,” said City Administrator Greg Beavers. “When we built the fire station, Big River purchased the property from us as it was in its existing condition to build an office building. Our need for it today is substantially office space for our employees. The biggest single reason we looked into buying that building is for our customer access for our utility billings. Anybody who uses our utility building office knows that anywhere you park, you have to first navigate yourself up onto the lawn level of city hall and then you have to get into the building, which is OK for most folks, but a lot of folks who have mobility issues, it’s really a bit of a hurdle. We want to improve that.
“We need to have a bigger lobby space for our utility customers when they come in to do business with us, and we need more customer contact windows. Right now we only have two customer windows and we need three at some point in time. They also need to be distributed out a little further from each other to provide privacy for when you’re transacting business. So, the utility building is the main reason why we want to use that space. The second thing that we’re going to move to that building is our development services, which is our planning and zoning and building regulation function. They will also occupy the building. We’re just moving around some office space, again for people who need to come into the utility office to handle business. We’ll have street side parking and a small parking lot for them to come into the building. I think it will be much better.”
In a public hearing and later first reading of bill 33102022 in legislation, the council heard a request for annexation of 867 Hillsboro Road with a change in zoning to R-4: General Residential.
In committee reports, Councilor David Kennedy of the Public Safety Committee reported that the fire department has hired five new firefighters and the police department has hired two new officers. He also noted that the city has regained its “Weather Ready” status and $64,000 is going to be allocated for the installation of warning sirens by the next storm season.
Councilor Wayne Linnenbringer, chairman of the Public Works Committee, said his committee discussed the Weber Road/Grand Canyon extension and is having a crosswalk painted at the intersection of Liberty and A streets. There was also some discussion about possible new ordinances regarding the airport.
Councilor Chad Follis, who chairs the Public Services Committee, noted that his committee received some additional bids from the school district on a baseball field potentially to be built in a partnership.
The council then passed Resolution R48-2022 authorizing the mayor to accept a warranty deed for the donation of property from Heberlie Development, LLC. The property is Lot 4 of Amended IDA Residential Subdivision. The property is a stormwater basin located on Highway H south of Farmington.
The council also passed Resolution R49-2022 authorizing a standard form of Shade Port Rental Agreement. The form will be updated and deals with agreements between the city and storage of airplanes at the airport.
In legislation, the city held a first reading authorizing the mayor to enter into a MPUA Mutual Aid Agreement. The agreement allows the city of Farmington to use an electric utility crew from the Missouri Public Utility Alliance if necessary.
In his closing remarks, Mayor Larry Forsythe discussed the city’s increasing problem with panhandlers. City Counselor Scott Reid mentioned the difficulty of coming up with a constitutional ordinance that deals directly with vagrancy, loitering and panhandling.
Mark Marberry is a reporter for the Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629, or at firstname.lastname@example.org