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City council okays funding for pump repair

by Mark Cheffey

The Palmyra City Council lat Thursday voted to move forward with having needed repairs done to two of the city’s water wells and to secure a line of credit to cover the expense.

The council at its most previous meeting awarded the bid for the $790,700 to the low bidder, Bleigh Construction, and Thursday voted to officially to enter into contract with the Hannibal firm for the work.

The city is expected to get 75 percent of the cost paid for through a FEMA disaster funding, but the will have to foot the entire bill at the outset before the federal reimbursements come in.

As a result, the council also voted 5-0 in favor of executing a line of credit through HOMEBANK to assist with the upfront payment.

City Clerk Deena Parsons said the city will be submitting paperwork to FEMA at various times during the well repair so that funding will come in over the course of the project.

“We’ll start getting money back,” Parsons said.

The well repair is expected to be completed sometime this spring.

The wells, located in the Mark Bottoms northeast of Palmyra, were damaged by flooding in 2019.

The wells will be raised to the 100-year flood level as part of the repair project.

In one other action taken by the council, it was voted 5-0 to accept Mayor Loren Graham’s  appointment of Tav Brown to fill a vacancy on the Industrial Development Authority.

Council member Pam Behring, who chairs the Finance Committee, said work on the 2021-2022 budget is coming along with another meeting needed to finalize it.

Council member Patrick Barns, who chairs the Ordinance Committee, said the committee recently met with Chuck Anderson, the city’s new building inspector/code enforcer, about the need to revise city ordinances to make them consistent with and to assist enforcement of the International Building Codes adopted by the city. 

Behring, the other council members and Mayor Graham thanked Street Commissioner Austen Dornberger and his crew for the snow removal work they have been doing during the recent winter storms.

“We’re getting close to wrapping it up,” Dornberger said.

“It’s been a challenge, I’m sure,” Graham said.

Police Chief Eddie Bogue told the council a fund-raising effort by the department’s new D.A.R.E. officer, Patrick Anderson, to purchase a D.A.R.E. car was coming along.

“It’s really going well,” Bogue said, noting Anderson has been busy mailing and hand delivering letters to local businesses as part of the fund-raising effort.

“He’s gotten a very good response from a lot of people,” Bogue added.

Bogue said he also received word the Palmyra R-I School District, which will benefit from the D.A.R.E. program, is planning to help out by underwriting the cost of the car decal package.

Bogue also told the council the Missouri High Patrol recently reported the state’s highway traffic crash fatalities increased by 12 percent in 2020 over the number from the previous year.

Bogue said the total of highway deaths in the state in 2020 was 989 and the leading causes were speeding and inattention.

“They were unbuckled, not paying attention and going too fast,” Bogue said, noting his department tries to control speeding along U.S. 61 through Palmyra.

He said most speeding tickets issued by his department were for going over 70 miles per hour in the 55 mph zone.

City Attorney James Lemon reported on lease contract negotiations with American Tower.

Lemons said he hoped to bring a final version of the contract to the council for approval at the next meeting, March 4.