The City of Fredericktown’s Board of Aldermen met Oct. 23.
During regular session business, City Clerk Theresa Harbison was recognized for achieving the Missouri Registered City Clerk certification.
Director of Citizen Services, Cape Girardeau City Clerk and member of the Public Relations Committee for the Missouri City Clerk’s and Finance Officers Association, Gail Conrad attended the meeting to recognize Harbison and present her with the certificate.
“This certification is a combination of education and experience,” Conrad said. “Theresa should be commended for her perseverance in achieving this goal and in turn encouraged to continue pursuing her education.”
Conrad said the Missouri City Clerk’s and Finance Officers Association has a membership of over 600 clerks who are dedicated to the education of its members throughout the state.
“As you all know, with the ever changing state statutes and rules governing our cities, it is vital that someone is kept current on these changes and regulations,” Conrad said. “Our state organization takes this role very, very seriously and we will continue to strive to ensure that the education provided is relevant to the needs and the position of your city clerk.”
Conrad commended the city for its continued support of Harbison as she worked toward this certification. Conrad said it demonstrates the city’s recognition of the benefit of this knowledge not only to its clerk but to its citizens.
“This is a distinct honor and recognition for our city clerks,” Conrad said. “She (Theresa) does an amazing job. She does a lot for our southeast division, and for the state. So, thank you very much.”
Also during the regular session, Karen Whitener with Madison County Recovery Allies visited the board to explain the organization’s mission and hopefully address some concerns.
“How many of you think we have a drug problem in Madison County,” Whitener asked. “How many of you have been personally affected by a drug problem, a family member or a friend, somebody you go to church with, a neighbor etc.? I don’t think anybody would doubt it’s a big issue in Madison County as it is in a lot of other counties.”
At its inception, Madison County Recovery Allies focused mainly on transporting people to treatment, which it still does, but the ultimate goal was always to open recovery housing in Madison County.
“When you look at the research, people don’t get better in a month or two of treatment,” Whitener said. “They need a longer term. It takes about 18 months just for their brain to kind of wake up and get back online after stopping using substances.”
Whitener said stable housing is needed for long-term recovery and to really become productive members of society. She said that is why the long-term goal has always been to open recovery housing.
“For those of you that don’t know the house is in the big apartment that’s above our offices at 129 E. Main,” Whitener said. “It’s the big apartment that’s above there. We are certified for 10 beds based on our square footage, but I think we’re pretty happy at seven or eight.”
Whitener said it is a men-only recovery home, with hope to add a house for women as soon as funds allow. She said, in order to qualify, all residents must pass an extensive background check and saliva drug test. They can not have a violent background and law enforcement are consulted before approval.
“We’re not a detox program,” Whitener said. “We’re not a treatment program. We’re recovery housing.”
Whitener said some of the concerns she has heard involve who would be residing in the housing. She said the program is really picky about who is let in, and a strict set of “expectations” have to be understood and accepted by each resident.
The four phase program slowly reintroduces the residents to normal life while providing them with a structure to promote recovery.
“The first phase they’re going to treatment for 10 to 12 hours, three days a week, the other two days a week they’re doing other projects, and meeting with us doing recovery support, doctor’s appointments, meeting with probation officers,” Whitener said. “Then as we can fit it in otherwise, they’re doing a lot of community service. We have a requirement that in the beginning of the program, you have to do five hours per week of community service.”
Whitener said, last month it is estimated the men have put in 120 hours of community service.
As for safety, Whitener said the tenants have a curfew of 9 p.m. and a security system monitors when and who is going in and out of the house.
“Our security system has a keypad entry and every single one of them individually has an assigned code,” Whitener said. “So I know who’s coming in.”
Whitener said this is a way to protect everyone involved because the whereabouts of the tenants is known. There is an established smoking area outside the housing, but residents should not be hanging out on the sidewalks or in the streets.
As a testament to the program, tenant Justin, a veteran with a finance degree from SEMO, spoke at the meeting expressing his gratitude to the program.
“Just to let you know, the guys up there come from all different backgrounds,” Justin said. “This addiction thing didn’t hit me until I was 35 years old. A slew of life events that happen all at the same time. It’s a whole different conversation, but it’s taken a lot from me to get past that.”
Justin said most of the men have had different experiences with treatment and programs, but there is something different about this.
“It’s a unique experience and we are all very, very grateful for everything that you and the community has provided so far,” Justin said.
Whitener said the community has been extremely supportive when seeing the men out and about doing community service.
“Everybody has been so kind and so welcoming and so supportive,” Whitener said. “I honestly didn’t know whether to expect that.”
Whitener said if anyone has any questions or concerns about the Madison County Recovery Allies to reach out to her and she would personally address them.
During work session business,the board approved a request from the electric department to purchase transformers from Sunbelt-Solomon in the amount of $13,965. This is not the low bid but delivery is roughly 40 weeks quicker.
City Administrator James Settle made a request to purchase materials for the Sports Complex baseball/softball fields from Advanced Turf Solutions in the amount of $3,673.50. This is the seed and fertilizer which is put on the fields every year. The price is less if purchased this time of the year for next year’s use.
The board then set a public hearing for 5:15 p.m., Nov. 13 to hear comments regarding the rezoning of 401 N. Main from C-2 to R-3 for a multifamily unit.
There was a discussion about the contract with Madison County Service Coordination regarding the parking lot. MCSC would like to change it to a one-year contract and include wording to use the parking lot for events more than once per month.
The board was concerned with an open-ended amount of time and the possibility of the lot being closed every weekend. The item was tabled in order to allow for further discussion.
There was also a discussion of a lease purchase transaction to finance certain capital improvements, regarding the fire station project.
Accountant for the City of Fredericktown, John Boyd, CPA, said the Prop. P funds will be used for the payments. He said this is needed because, while the fund has accumulated some, it is not enough to cover the full cost.
During regular session business, an ordinance executing the lease agreement was passed by the board.
Also, during the regular session, Collin Follis brought up a “daily” issue regarding sidewalks into Pine Castle off of West Main Street.
Settle acknowledged the issue and said the city has looked into the problem, however several factors were discovered. The first issue is the city does not own the property. There are also concerns about where the sidewalk would lead. As of now, if sidewalks were added they would lead to West Main Street with no sidewalks. It is also a huge expense.
Settle said he is looking into an alternative route which could be on city property and require a shorter amount of sidewalks, creating a more cost effective solution.
The next meeting of the City of Fredericktown’s Board of Aldermen will immediately follow the 5:30 p.m. work session, Nov. 13 at city hall.