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Farmington city council hears report on Centene Center damage

Doug Stotler, Farmington Parks and Recreation director, points at the source of a water main link that caused significant damage to the Farmington Centene Center. (Photo by Sarah Haas)

Kevin R. Jenkins,

The Farmington City Council learned about water damage repairs in progress at the Centene Center adjoined to the Community Civic Center, authorized the city administrator to apply for funding through a state program for sidewalk construction on Highway H, and set the city tax rate for the year 2023 when it met in regular session Aug. 28 at city hall.

In his Public Services Committee report, Ward 1 Councilor Adam Parks updated the council about a range of items, including work currently underway at the Centene Center following a rupture of a water main break that occurred last month, causing extensive damage to the right side of the building that includes the long vestibule, meeting area and auditorium. The gymnasium portion of the civic center was not damaged.

“On the 16th, there was a rupture in the fire prevention system at the Centene Center, and the repair estimate date is late September or mid-October,” he said. “The repair expense estimate is about $150,000 to $200,000, and our insurance deductible is only $20,000 for that claim.”

Brockmiller Construction of Farmington is overseeing the renovation project.

Reporting that a security system upgrade had been completed at the civic center, Parks said, “It now has a motion detection system as opposed to the previous entry door sensors that they had before.”

Parks also mentioned that the architecture firm FGMA had walked through all of the city’s park facilities with City Administrator Greg Beavers and Parks and Recreation Director Doug Stotler and spent six hours with the design team to determine what improvements could be made.

Parks announced that Eric Clark had been hired for the city park maintenance job, and the city is still seeking a program coordinator for the civic center. Several candidates were recently interviewed for that position.

Regarding upcoming activities, Parks announced there will be hayrides held at Engler Park every Thursday night during the month of October at a cost of $10 per person. The Turkey Trot/Gobble Wobble registration is underway. The cost is $30 per person before Nov. 1 and $35 after that date.

Parks informed the council that paintings from the summer Plein Air at the Community Garden event

will be on display at the Farmington Public Library in September and October. Children and adults are invited to sign up for monthly programs at the library that include monthly take-and-bakes, teen book boxes, book bundles and a classic book club. Additionally, Story Time for children is back at the library every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.

The council approved a resolution authorizing City Administrator Beavers to apply for funding from MoDOT’s Transportation Alternatives Program grant to build a sidewalk on Highway H from Old Fredericktown Road to the Avery Apartments, formerly known as the Icon Apartments.

Asked by Beavers to explain the project to the council, Public Works Director Larry Lacy said, “The sidewalk will run from where it ends currently at Old Fredericktown Road and run down to the Icon Apartments — or Avery Apartments. From the Dollar General north, it will be adjacent to the road, and from that point south, it will be away from the road on the back side of the ditch.”

Mayor Larry Forsythe asked Lacy what the city’s share of the project’s cost would be in addition to the MoDOT grant.

“We applied at 75%,” Lacy said. “Our initial estimate was $175,000, but it’s been a three-year span of time, so I’m thinking that project will probably be $300,000 to $500,000.”

Forsythe replied, “All right, it’s going to be a good project.”

The council voted unanimously to allow Beavers to apply for the grant.

Before the council meeting started, a public hearing was held regarding the setting of the city’s property tax rate for fiscal year 2023, beginning Oct. 1.

Addressing the council and gallery, Beavers said, “Okay, so as you probably know, the tax rate each year is adjusted based on the Hancock Amendment. And then, of course, new construction. The tax rate or the tax revenue due to reassessment for any existing structures is restricted to an increase only by the CPI (Consumer Price Index). So, our tax rate calculation is that our tax is flat this year. It just kind of happened that way and fluctuated a little bit.”

Later in the meeting, the council unanimously approved a tax rate of $0.4100 on each $100 valuation.

The city council unanimously approved an agreement to assign Farmington Police Officer Daniel Halek to the Mineral Area Drug Task Force (MADTF).

Farmington City Administrator Greg Beavers explains how the city arrived at the 2023 property tax rate. He told them that this year’s tax is basically equal to last year’s. (Photo by Kevin Jenkins)

The agreement stipulates that Officer Halek will perform full-time duties as a MADTF investigator beginning Oct. 1 and continuing through Sept. 30, 2024. In return, MADTF will reimburse the city for the full cost of Halek’s employment, including regular hourly wages, overtime, medical, dental and life insurance, worker’s compensation LAGERS retirement, uniforms, training, and all other benefits he would receive in working for the city.

Halek will also receive paid vacation, sick leave and holidays in accordance with the city’s personnel policies. He will work under the direct supervision of MADTF staff while assigned, and any disciplinary actions during his assignment to MADTF will be coordinated with Police Chief Chris Bullock in accordance with Farmington Police Department policies.

According to the agreement, the estimated total cost of Halek’s employment is $72,000 per year.

In other actions taken by the council, ordinances were approved: 1) establishing a procedure to disclose potential conflicts of interest and substantial interests for certain municipal officials; 2) approving an amendment to the municipal code regarding the municipal court; and 3) authorized the mayor to enter into an agreement with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission in regard to construction of a monument on Highway 67. Beavers explained that while the commission describes it as a monument, it is actually a road sign paid for by the tourism board that will be placed along southbound Highway 67.

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