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City council hears pest infestation ordinance

by Mark Cheffey

The Palmyra City Council heard the first reading of an ordinance requiring residents and commercial and residential property owners to take appropriate measures to control household pests.

Citing “issues with pest infestation of individual properties affecting adjacent properties,” the council is proposing a pest extermination law requiring building occupants and properties owners to address the pest infestations.

Failure to deal with the pests can result in fines for each day of violation, and the ordinance also provides the city the power to seek court orders to allow the city to conduct pest exterminations with the costs borne by the convicted party.

The council is expected to hold the required second reading of the ordinance at its next meeting, Dec. 3 at which time it will come to a vote.

The council also approved a resolution setting the filing period for the April 6 Municipal Election to run from Tuesday, Dec. 15 to Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Up for election are Mayor Loren Graham as well as one council seat in each ward currently held by Brock Fahy (Ward 1), Jeremy Warning (Ward 2) and Pam Behring (Ward 3).

In other business, it was the consensus of the council to require participation waivers from those who volunteer their time and efforts at the Palmyra Recycling Center.

The city’s liability insurance carrier, MIRMA, is requiring the city to obtain waivers from all those who volunteer on the city’s behalf.

However, members of the recycling committee asked the council at the last meeting to reconsider requiring them for the center, due to the difficulty involved in obtaining the individual waivers from the large force of volunteers who help out there on a regular basis.

But, it was decided by the council the city had no choice and could not make any exceptions.  

City Attorney James Lemons said the waivers will not protect the city from all liability, especially if the city is held to be negligent, but that they might promote more caution when volunteers are involved.

He also noted the waivers have no time-limit, so they would not have to be sought but once from each volunteer.

Before adjourning, the council went into closed session to discuss a real estate issue. However, no action was taken as a result of the proceedings. 

Lemons updated the council on the process of transferring the city court to the circuit court, and said it is still in holding pattern for now, awaiting state approval.

But, he noted the city was able to hold court one time recently, which allowed the court to address a back-log of cases.

Graham reported on an ongoing pest infestation case at a rental home at Home and Church streets, and said spraying for pests has continued, but that it will probably take some time before positive results are seen.

Graham also said the city received a quote for new sliding windows for the city hall lobby to help better protect employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council member Earl Meyers said the Personnel Committee he chairs is in the process of reviewing a new employee handbook, and also interviewing candidates for the open building inspector position.

Councilman Fahy reported on the Northeast Missouri Economic Development Council’s new IGNITE program designed to help assist people with business ideas and funding.

Police Chief Eddie Bogue reported the Murphy Building on Short Street still needs to be equipped with fire suppression capability before it can qualify for an occupancy permit.

The council asked Bogue to work with Lemons on an effort to make sure there was compliance.