REVIEW OF DERELICT PROPERTY ISSUES:  Jason, Bobbie, and I participated in an MML Webinar on Wednesday, October 24th regarding “Derelict Properties: How Local Governments Can Take Action”. The presentation was provided via the internet by Stephanie Karr, Attorney, Curtis, Heinz, Garrett, & O’Keefe, P. C. . We received some very knowledgeable information regarding situations regarding derelict properties. Jason has about five properties that he is still going to take action on this year.
Bobbie has filed a separate reimbursement invoice for the $400 for the concrete pads that were installed at the City Reservoir for the picnic tables obtained with a DNR Grant but hasn’t received any approval.
Sewer Reline Project – Brian Fifer was at the November 13th meeting to give an update. Cheryl Elliott of USDA, Phillip Wilson of McClure & Associates Engineering, Jim Willis of Willis Bros. Construction, Mike Binder, Wastewater Superintendent, City Clerk Bobbie Jacques and I met on Monday, November 19th to discuss the change orders for the finalization of the sewer reline project. After the meeting, Cheryl, Phillip, Jim and Mike took a tour of the project. More discussion was held on the replacement of 3” waterlines on the back 9 of the golf course.
Even though the irrigation updates have been completed, the lagoon started discharging on Wednesday, November 7th due to the extensive rainfall over the previous weekend.  Due to the ground saturation, there is no place to land apply. Mike had to start taking sewer samples as required by DNR and I took the first samples to Columbia on Friday morning, November 9th and then again on Monday, November 12th comply with the five day testing requirement. I will be taking the samples to Columbia each Wednesday morning until the discharging ceases which will most likely be in the Spring. 
Stump removal of the seven (7) trees that Tyler Murray (T & T Tree Service) removed in the city park was done by Gary Glascock of Stump Grinding from Baring, MO. on Friday, October 19th for a total of $434.00. The stump removal residue left in the park will be cleaned up by the street department when the weather permits.
On Tuesday & Wednesday, October 23rd & 24th, Mike Binder, Water/Wastewater supervisor, began training Jake Hodges on reading water meters. Mike was gone to a seminar in the Lake of the Ozarks on Thursday and Friday but during the following week Jake assisted in changing out some water meters that were having issues. Greg is scheduled to begin wastewater certification classes in January 2019.
The Missouri Department of Conservation held the annual CWD (Chronic Waste Disease) testing on the east side of the La Plata City Park this past weekend, November 10th and 11th. Due to the forecast for the extremely cold weather, we spoke with Jason and Mike and decided that they needed to be winterized immediately. Jason contacted the MDC employees and told them that they could use the facilities to store items but they were winterized and to not use the bathroom facilities. MDC had already had porta pottys delivered for the hunters to use that weekend.
Bob Couch, La Plata Emergency Management Director Bob Couch performed the early storm siren test on Friday, October 26th. 
The monthly yard waste pickup was held on Tuesday, October 30th and the final one for the year will be held on Tuesday, November 27th, unless there is a severe wind storm between now and spring. The service will not resume again until April 30, 2019. Due to the winter storm over the Thanksgiving holiday, the November yard waste pickup will be delayed until weather permits.
BUILDING PERMITS: Shelby Johnson, 224 W. Davis – Deck & Ron Kiger, 416 W. Clark - Carport
City Reservoir campsite update: The facility was used by the district boy scouts units on Friday and Saturday, October 26th and 27th. When I went to take pictures, I noticed that the trenching had sunken since the trenching project. I made Greg aware on Monday, October 29th and he took care of the matter. I spoke with the leader of the event, Dr. James McCormick and he had lots of good things to say about the expansion and possibly holding more events. The Park & Recreation Board raised the daily camping fee from $12 to $15 with a weekly charge of $90 to be paid in advance at City Hall.  Another rate increase as well as hiring a camp host to collect the money or other options will be discussed in the spring of 2019. We have already had a few individuals paying by the week for camping.
As of Wednesday, November 21st we have had very good participation and cooperation from the community in filling out the LMI surveys but we are still soliciting for more in order to guarantee that we will meet the 51 percent LMI of those returned. Several of the last surveys completed were done over the telephone as approved by Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments and most took less than 30 seconds….we appreciate the cooperation of the community in giving us the opportunity to apply for grant funds which if awarded will be designated for streets, curb, and guttering improvements. As I previously said, the state of Missouri may receive up to $100 million dollars in grant monies as a result of the storm disasters of 2015, 2016, and 2017 and if we don’t have a current LMI established we will lose out on acquiring any of these funds. 
Bobbie and I attended the 50th Anniversary meeting of the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments (MTRCG) held in Madison, MO on Thursday, October 25th. A very interesting presentation was made by Ms. Chris Chinn, Missouri Director of Agriculture from the Clarence area.
Police Chief Jason Bunch submitted a “Crime Summary Report “for the month of October.
Fire Chief Bob Couch reports that they continue to do the fire hydrant testing and as soon as it has been completed they will be providing a list of ones that are malfunctioning. Residents in areas where the hydrant testing was done may have experience some issues with dirty water but the situation should have subsided in a few hours. Several issues have been found where hydrants need maintenance or replacement and Bob and I are communicating with Mike regarding the issues and have a list compiled.
The fall bulk pickup was held on Monday, October 22nd and seemed to be very successful. Dan Buckley, General Manager of Advanced Disposal was in on Thursday, November 1st to introduce Chuck Duncan of Decatur, IL who is the new Municipal Marketing Manager with the company. Advanced Disposal has added “Martin Luther King Day” to the list of their observed holidays beginning in 2019.
Another successful “Trunk or Treat” was organized by Cheryl Curtis and Brenda Groza and was held on Saturday, October 27th from 3:30 until 7:00 p.m. on the city square with a costume contest, candy, hay rides & much more.
There was a mandatory Solid Waste Management grant application meeting sponsored by MTRCG at the Macon Public Library on Tuesday evening, October 30th that Bobbie and I attended in order to qualify for making future grant applications. These are smaller grants for items such as playground equipment for the park areas at the Santa Fe Lake and City Reservoir which must be made of recyclable material. These grants don’t require a successfully completed LMI to make application.
The La Plata Golf Course Clubhouse officially closed for the season on Wednesday, October 31st.
Bobbie and I attended the first MML Northeast Regional Meeting held in Hannibal on Thursday night, November 1st.  These types of meetings are always beneficial for networking with other communities in our region as well as keeping updated on legislative actions being addressed in Jefferson City. Over the years, Bobbie and I have had the opportunity to develop a good working relationship with the MML staff. We enjoyed visiting with Richard Sheets, Deputy Director of Missouri Municipal League who spends most of his time in Jefferson City fighting for our benefit during the time that the legislature is in session. A large portion of the program, focused on the need to pass Proposition D for “Safe Roads & Safe Streets”. The proposed 10 cent gas tax would be divided into 4 years of 2.5 cent increases. The funds were to be earmarked to fund state law enforcement and maintenance of highways, bridges, roads, and streets. The proposition was defeated by almost 31,000 votes at the Tuesday, November 6th election. The next regional meeting will be hosted by the City of Kirksville.
On Saturday, November 3rd, the Community Volunteer Corp along with the Macon County Health Department held a “pet sheltering exercise” in La Plata. It was held at the old fire department owned by Charles Allen across from the La Plata Christian Church and was an exercise to give volunteers experience in case of a disaster/emergency. In talking with Mike Chambers of the Macon County Health Department, he said he would call the event a success but there wasn’t much outside participation.  Among those attending were Macon County Health Department employees and volunteers as well as Dr. Jenny Lindquist and two members of the Missouri Humane Society. Former American Red Cross Director, Lisa Lene and her son Brandon were also in attendance. He stated they only had one animal present for the event which was used for the demonstration. They had 22 cages set up in facility and the event lasted for 4-5 hours.
The City of La Plata “use” tax issue that was on the Tuesday, November 6th ballot was defeated by 31 votes. As a result of its defeat, the City of La Plata will not be able to collect the 1.5 percent sales/use tax. We will need to decide if we want to attempt the issue at the April election. I believe there were too many other negative issues on the ballot which caused the failure of the issue.
After ten years of serving as the organizers of the Veteran’s Day celebration that has been held at the Silver Rails Event Center and La Plata High School, Tabitha Sawyer and Kelcey Smith passed the project on to the La Plata FFA organization and its sponsor Jessy Reuterdahl. It was held at the La Plata FFA/Ag Building on Monday, November 12th with a luncheon and a program following in the high school gymnasium. Many nice comments were made regarding the meal as well as the program honoring local veterans.
City Hall was closed on Monday, November 12th in observance of Veteran’s Day.
Trent Perry converted the La Plata Public Library furnace from propane to natural gas during the last week in October. I have contacted MFA Propane but asked them to please wait to come pump out the tank and remove it from the property until the ground is settled from all the rain. Trent and Mike have discussed separating the sewer connections which will probably be delayed until spring. 
Health Insurance – City Clerk Bobbie Jacques and Farm Bureau Agent Chad Sawyer discussed the new health insurance proposal for the coming year during the November 13th meeting. After discussion, the Board of Alderman voted to absorb the per employee increase for the coming year in lieu of the cost of living salary increase in 2019.
Officer Holt Landorf’s was eligible for his 6 month evaluation on November 23rd (hired effective May 23, 2018) and Jason discussed his performance during the meeting. He has already received his health insurance and Lager’s after 3 months employment. At 6 months, Holt is eligible for 5 days (40 hours) of sick leave and 1 day (8 hours) of personal leave. After the completion of 1 year, he will be eligible for 5 days (40 hours) of vacation; 5 more days (40 hours) of sick leave; and an additional day of personal leave (8 hours). After discussion, the Board of Alderman voted to increase Officer Landorf’s salary to $12 per hour as well as the additional benefits.
Police Officer Mark Henderson – DARE program will begin after the Christmas Vacation and at this time is scheduled for the LES 5th grade class only for this school year. The program will last for ten weeks and there are two sections of 5th graders. Bobbie will be working with Mark regarding needed information for a Wal-Mart grant for the DARE program.
Cassie Rodriquez and Amy Morris’ leaders for Girl Scout Troup #9184 will be the organizers of the “Christmas in the Park” event for this year. The girls will be doing the project for their Silver Award project. Decorating will begin after Thanksgiving and those wanting to participate are to contact Cassie, Amy, or Nicole O’Haver. They will also be collecting coats, hats, and gloves for the La Plata Christian Ministries. On December 15th, Santa will be coming to town and they will be serving hot chocolate and cookies while people enjoy the beautifully lighted La Plata City Park. 
No passengers have been removed from Amtrak since Labor Day weekend. After that incident, Jason spoke to an Amtrak Agent who was going to pass on our concerns to train personnel and tell them that unless it was an emergency, not to use La Plata as a drop off location. 
We applied for five (5) M16 A1 rifles for the La Plata Police Department from the Missouri State Agency of Surplus Property and were awarded four (4) rifles with the only cost being a $50 per rifle processing fee. The weapons will be picked up by Officer Landorf when he participates in a training in Jefferson City within the next few weeks.
Willis Brothers did the hot tap on the East Sanders waterline update project on Monday, October 22nd and some smoothing out of the dirt was done but it is definitely not a finished product until the weather allows.  Some issues with a newly installed residential driveway on East Sanders is causing backup in the ditch at the corner of E. Sanders and S. Jones Streets and that issue will need to be resolved.
On Monday, October 22nd, the lock on the city dump gate was changed and the use has been restricted according to prior city policy that has become lack over the past few years. DNR regulates what can and can’t be deposited at the site and the City of La Plata is responsible for what is taken to the location. Therefore, the only way to monitor activity is to go back to the former policy of not leaving the dump unlocked during the evening or weekend hours. Residents may sign out a key to the dump at City Hall during regular business hours as long as it is returned to City Hall by the close of the day. Some unacceptable items have been dumped out in front of the gate. Within the past couple of weeks a sofa was deposited in front of the gate as well as items/yard waste bags being thrown on to private property adjacent to the City property.
Cory and Nathen began trimming trees out of power lines starting the week of October 29th and are being assisted by the street department in a joint effort to get the trimming done before the weather changes. Again, the combined efforts of our employees are to be commended as they work outstanding together. During the week of November 5th, they started at W. Bartlett Street and went north through the alley to W. Benton Street. Several other areas of town are on the list but can’t be done until the ground is frozen in order to get the heavy bucket trucks into the area with the least amount of damage to residential property.
The City of La Plata electric department employees installed the holiday lights on the downtown poles on Wednesday, November 21st.
Brennan Filkens resigned from the La Plata Park and Recreation Board in August and at the September board meeting Jeff Breuklander’s name was presented as a replacement. The Board of Alderman approved Jeff as a member of the Park Board during the November 13th meeting.
Bobbie has been working on the current City of La Plata website at www.cityoflaplata.org  As result of some concerns regarding the City of La Plata Facebook page, I made contact with Stuart Haynes of the Missouri Municipal League (MML) and he advised that it is permissible for the City to hide comments made by citizens. The City of La Plata Facebook page was established to be informative and provide citizens with information regarding the operation and events of the community.
Alderman Walker reported that they have sold “Santa Fe Expresso” building and the new owners are remodeling and plan to open a restaurant in the near future.
The next meeting of the La Plata Board of Alderman will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 11th.  All meetings are open to the public and we urge anyone wishing to discuss a specific subject or concern to contact City Clerk Bobbie Jacques at least 24 hours prior to the meeting in order to be placed on the agenda.