Southwest City's board of alderman voted to instate three ordinances at the regular meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 22 -- two allowing the city to enter into an engineering agreement for proposed water system updates and one setting the property tax rate.
Ordinance No. 610 authorized Anderson Engineering to begin preliminary designs for the water system, including a preliminary engineering report, funding applications and public hearings for the bond election.
Ordinance No. 610 authorized Anderson Engineering to provide ongoing professional services as requested and as needed.
Ordinance No. 612 established the annual real estate and personal tax rate at .6500 per $100 assessed valuation.
Alderman Joe Carpenter inquired how the tax rate is calculated and if it can be increased. Alderman Amber Killion said she would like to research adjusting the rate in 2020.
grant administrator Gerritt Brinks with the Harry S. Truman Coordinating Council spoke with the council about the role he will play in the proposed water system updates and the bond election. He said the total cost of his services would be $40,000, all of which would be reimbursed through grants if the bond issue were to pass. If the bond doesn't pass, no payment is required.
Alderman Carpenter spoke about organizing a committee to identify irrigation and drainage issues throughout the town. He asked Brinks if it would be possible to receive funding assistance to help remedy drainage issues. He also asked about assistance repairing the damaged dam at Honey Creek. Brinks said these issues would be considered hazard mitigation projects. He noted there would likely be funding available due to the excess flooding in the area this year.
Resident Patty Burrow inquired about the organization of the city's financial accounts. She asked if it was possible to separate the water, sewer, and reserve funds from the General Fund in order to reflect a more accurate trail of revenue and expenses and allow for a more direct view into each department's accounts.
"When I look at bank statements, it's very confusing," she said.
Alderman Carpenter and Alderman Killion told Burrow the accounts should be separate.
Alderman Killion asked that City Clerk Missy Zinn provide the council with reports of each account prior to meetings.
"Every time I sit behind this table, I want to know where the city stands financially," Killion said. "I don't just want a bank statement."
Alderman Carpenter provided council members with a template form to track each department's weekly expenses. The form includes space for the vendor, a short description of the purchase, cost and which account the funds should be pulled from. Carpenter suggested department heads collect receipts and submit them with the form on a designated day each week.
The expense form would also log account transfers and internal loans, following approval from the council.
"This will provide a paper trail from one end to another," Killion said. "It covers us from anyone asking, 'What was it, where did it go, and why?'"
Alderman Carpenter then distributed a graph illustrating the electric use at the city's water wells since 2015. He said the electric use has increased 44% from 2016 to date. He noted that the increase doesn't correlate with increased water usage and suggests a surge in leaks.
Public Works Director Shane Clark said, if the city were to identify the water loss points and repair them, water revenue would increase "astronomically."
Fire Chief Shane Clark reported, since the last meeting, the department has responded to three medical calls and one mutual aid propane fire, cleared one road obstruction, extinguished one outdoor fire, provided one lift assist and responded to one motor vehicle accident.
Clark requested to purchase the eDispatches program which allows emergency responders to receive dispatch information on their cell phones instead of pagers. The program will automatically record the dispatch call and send alerts via phone call, text message or push notification. eDispatches also provides mapping and routing of the personnel en route.
Clark said the department's current pagers are close to a decade old and it costs $500 to replace one.
"For the price of two pagers, we could get dispatch on everyone's phone," he said.
The council voted to approve the purchase of eDispatches.
Alderman Carpenter spoke about a third-party company that can work with the city to file insurance claims for fires worked outside the city limits. He said the fire department will receive payment for its service and the company will take a percentage as commission.
Public Works Director Shane Clark reported the street department has been busy cleaning Blankenship Park following flash flooding. The water department repaired a leak on Stone Drive that was losing close to 15,000 gallons per day and shut off a line that crosses Honey Creek due to a leak that was losing close to 30,000 gallons per day. Clark said he replaced a vacuum pump at the lift station at Blankenship Park and has been working to repair a sewer line at the senior center.
Police Chief Bud Gow reported that, since the last meeting, the department has issued two tickets, assisted four agencies, responded to one motor vehicle accident and taken 47 additional calls for service.
Gow said the generator and UTV are up and running with $263.45 remaining to construct a concrete pad and manual switch for the generator. Gow informed the council the steering is failing on one patrol vehicle. He said bids are pending for a replacement rack and pinion.
City Clerk Missy Zinn said Bill Weber is willing to serve as the project attorney for the water system proposal. Alderman Killion asked to first hear Weber's fees and qualifications.
Zinn noted that insurance quotes for property and health insurance are due soon.
In other business, the council:
• Paid bills in the amount of $8,595.35;
• Tentatively scheduled the city's first public hearing with Anderson Engineering for the evening of Thursday, Nov. 14, at the Anne Croxdale Memorial Library;
• Discussed adjusting the current vendor license fee.
General News on 10/31/2019