MAYOR’S REPORT FOR MARCH 2018
A 2001 Etnyre Oil Distributor with less than 30,000 miles was approved for purchase by the La Plata Board of Alderman at a special meeting held on February 27th in the amount of $49,700. The unit is currently located in Rolla, MO where Kiley and Greg went to inspect it for a possible purchase but is actually being sold through G.W. Van Keppel Company of Kansas City, MO. The unit will not be available for purchase until May but I have signed a sales purchase agreement. We have received interest rate bids from banking institutions but are still filing applications with USDA for a grant/loan for the unit.
Bobbie continues to take the lagoon sample to Edina each Tuesday afternoon when she goes home from work and I am taking the sample every Wednesday morning to Columbia.
Dena sent out letters for Jan Travis, Golf Course Clubhouse manager, reminding that a $25 discount would be applied to all memberships paid before March 1st. A social was held at the golf course clubhouse on Sunday, February 25th. As of March 4th, Jan notified me that 53 previous members have paid memberships and that we have 18 new memberships with 4 from Kirksville; 3 from Macon, 1 from Novinger, and 10 from La Plata which includes a family membership each for the La Plata R-II boys’ and girls’ golf teams.
La Plata R-II School Superintendent Dr. Craig Noah and Principal Andy Jackson have been communicating with Police Chief Bunch and will be setting up a schedule for our officers to make routine visits to the buildings.
On Tuesday, March 6th, the Severe Weather Storm Siren testing was held with E911 setting off our siren for a 5 minute period. Emergency Management Director Stan East had contacted me prior to the testing that morning and was in City Hall when the siren was activated. Everything went smoothly during the testing process. Stan will be having the monthly storm siren testing the 4th Friday of each month April thru September. April’s testing will be held on Friday the 27th at 10 a.m.
Due to the fact that Stacey Hudson and her family have moved out of the city limits into their new home, we will need to find a replacement for the La Plata Park & Recreations Board to fill her unexpired term thru 2020 Stacey has been meeting with the Industrial Development Authority in order to seek assistance in funding for the camping expansion project and will continue to be an advisory member of the board.
Police Chief Jason Bunch submitted a “Crime Summary Report for the month of February.
The paperwork was signed and mailed in for the MoDOT overtime traffic enforcement and radar equipment 100 percent grant in the amount of $6,851.29 that was introduced by Police Chief Bunch and approved by the Board of Alderman during the special meeting held on Tuesday, February 27th.
Visu Sewer started bringing their equipment in on Wednesday, February 28th and started cleaning the sewer lines and doing a camera inspection. They started in the northeast corner of town and are progressing towards the south part of town. Some individuals have reported having water shooting out of their toilets during the testing or gurgling sounds. If a serious issue does occur, it is Visu Sewer’s responsibility to get someone to clean up the damages. If you have an issue, please contact City Hall at 660-332-7166 or Mayor Bragg at 660-341-2221.
I attended the 2nd Annual Key Accounts luncheon/meeting at the Comfort Inn in Macon on Tuesday, March 6th with keynote speakers from Northeast Electric Power Cooperative and Associated Electric Cooperative. They covered topics that could potentially impact our city. They also gave updates on programs affecting the Macon Electric Cooperative. We aren’t supplied by MEC but it is always good to attend meetings in order to make contacts which could be helpful in the future. I sat with Hannah Cleeton who is a field representative for Senator Roy Blunt and Justin Klocke, field representative for Senator Claire McCaskill and exchanged business cards in case the city is ever in need of the senator’s assistance.
On Tuesday, March 6th, Kiley notified me they were making repairs on a culvert on Amoco Road. Amoco Road is within the jurisdiction of the La Plata Special Road District but for many years the City of La Plata and the Special Road District have traded off work. We have equipment that they don’t own and we tradeoff for them doing motor grader work for the City.
Bobbie and I attended a very informative Missouri Rural Services Workers' Compensation Insurance Trust Safety Seminar & Awards meeting/luncheon sponsored by Hawkins Insurance Company at the El Kadir Shrine Club in Kirksville on Tuesday, March 20th. During the meeting, the City of La Plata was presented with a "Hall of Fame" plaque for excellence in accident prevention performance for the period of April 2014 thru March 2017.
We received a notice from Ford Motor Company regarding recall issues with a rear suspension toe link fracture that might result in noise, unusual vehicle handling characteristics, or difficulty controlling the vehicle during a high-speed pursuit. Jason called Lovegreen’s and one of the Explorers was taken for the recall servicing on Sunday night, March 4th and the other on Monday, March 5th. Both of the Explorers were repaired on Monday, March 5th and returned to the police department by Tuesday, March 6th.
On Monday, March 5th, Cory was taking the large bucket truck to Brunswick to have the pins and bushings replaced in the bucket that were needed to comply with the recent inspection. On the way there, the water pump went out of the unit at the MoDOT building just north of Macon. He didn’t feel comfortable working on the truck at that location so I authorized them to have it towed back to the shop by Still Towing. Once it was towed back, they removed the old water pump and a replacement was ordered from O’Reilly’s. They received the replacement and made the repairs on Thursday. The truck was taken to Brunswick for the necessary repairs on Wednesday, March 14th.
As of this writing, Altorfers still haven’t set a date to come and test the generators. The initial bid indicated they would be doing the testing at least by the week of March 12th. Cory spoke with them on Thursday, March 8th and they needed for him to send some pictures due some new regulations that will need to be corrected. They indicated that there won’t be any additional charges from the original bid they made and was approved.
At the February 13th meeting, Police Chief Bunch presented a revised “Ride Along Program” document for the consideration of the Board of Alderman. The policy was once again discussed and suggestions were made at the March 12th meeting. Police Chief Bunch will submit a final copy with the revisions for approval at the April meeting.
The La Plata Cemetery Board held a meeting on Tuesday, March 13th for the purpose of discussing new signage and mowing bids for the season. The mowing bid of Curtis Contracting of La Plata in the amount of $800 per mowing was accept for this season.
Officer Henderson has talked to the Schuyler County School District and I have spoken to the La Plata R-II School District about assistance in funding the cost of the DARE program that Mark has been enrolled in for September 2018. The cost of the DARE training is $500 for shared hotel accommodations; $1,140.00 for private hotel accommodations; two weeks wages for Mark would be $1,175.00. The total amount for a shared hotel accommodation would be $1,675.00 or $2,315.00 for private hotel accommodations. The Board of Alderman approved the reinstatement of the DARE program at the October 2017 meeting and we will be basing how much financial assistance we get from the two schools to determine which hotel accommodations we select.
Due to not being able to get firearms certification by any local agencies, Officer John Taylor has been enrolled in a firearm instructor certification level 1 to be held in CoMO the week of April 16th thru 20th. The training fee will be $600 plus $280.00 ammunition cost and Officer’s Taylor’s wages for that week of $576.00. Since the class is being held in CoMO, Officer Taylor will be driving the K9 Explorer and there will be no motel accommodations. The total amount of the training will be $1,456.00. If we are asked to provide certification to any other agencies we will be charging for the service we provide according to what we were charged in the past.
The 2014 K9 Explorer has a cracked windshield & the estimate of $232 was less than our $250 deductible so I approved the cheapest repair at Schneider’s Glass Repair in Macon. If the molding needs replaced it will be an additional $45.
The sales tax ordinance for out of state purchases of vehicles that has to be placed on the August ballot and passed prior to November 2018 in order to continue receiving the funds was approved by the La Plata Board of Alderman during the March 12th meeting. However, after Bobbie spoke with MML (Missouri Municipal League) it appears that we should submit an ordinance at the April 10th meeting for a combination of the sales and use tax issue which would cover the out of state internet sales as well as vehicle purchases.
During the March meeting, I reported that in April 2014 when I took office, the bank balance was $284,972.80 and at the March meeting the balance was $620,771.68 for an increase of $335,798.88. I would like to take this opportunity to make the residents and taxpayers aware that this increase is not the result of increased utility rates. The majority of this increase is due to the fact that in June 2013 the Board of Alderman voted to not continue with the employment of a City Administrator which averaged $60,000 per year plus the cost of benefits. Since the discontinuation of the City Administrator’s position, the Mayor’s salary was increased to $500 and then in 2016 it was increased to $750. As an active Mayor, I average spending 25 hours a week in City Hall as well as being on call 24/7 and have assumed some of the duties previously done by the City Administrator. The City Clerk serves as the office manager and has also assumed more responsibilities as have the Deputy City Clerk and Utility Billing Coordinator. Since the elimination of the City Administrator, the department supervisors have also assumed more responsibilities.
The City of La Plata’s continued increase in financial stability has also been due to the continued sustainable decisions of the members of the Board of Alderman during the past four years as well as the support of the employees, taxpayers, and community.
According to unaudited amounts, during the years of 2013, 2014, and 2015, the La Plata Public Library had deficient spending over and above the tax revenue received of $22,080; $16,249; and $21,134. In 2016 the Library deficit was $796 and in 2017 it was $805. During the 2013 fiscal year, the La Plata Municipal Golf Course had a deficit of $11,653. During 2014 and 2015, the City sold walnut trees off of the property and there was a profit of $29,350 in 2014 and $26,760 in 2015. During 2016, the City purchased assets of equipment in the amount of $13,000 with an ending deficit of $14,000. In 2017, the golf course had a loss of $500 for the season.
Also, since October of 2013, the City of La Plata has incurred wastewater project engineering fees in the amount of $206,000 which have been paid out of funds received in part from the sewer rate increase which was required by USDA in order to receive grant/low interest funding. Now that the City has had the loan closing, the City Clerk will be turning in pay requests to receive reimbursement for the previously paid engineering fees which will substantially increase our bank balance. As a result of the project bonding, the City will be setting aside approximately $800 per month and making a yearly loan payment of approximately $8,000 for the next thirty-five (35) years to pay off the project debt.
Since the 2016 implementation of the two year vehicle replacement plan for the police, street, and water/wastewater departments, the City has saved over $16,000 in vehicle repair expenses due to the fact that we now have vehicles that are covered by warranty. The initial purchases made in 2016 were made with USDA grants and low interest loans. In 2017 and 2018 when the vehicles were replaced, they were paid for with the savings from not having to spend large amounts on vehicle maintenance.
The next meeting of the La Plata Board of Alderman will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10, 2018. This will be the meeting following the election and the newly elected officials will be sworn in during the beginning of the meeting. Anyone wishing to discuss a specific subject must contact City Clerk Bobbie Jacques at least 24 hours prior to the meeting in order to be placed on the agenda.