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City council, cemetery board discuss issues

by Mark Cheffey

The Palmyra City Council last Thursday had a meeting of minds with members of the Greenwood Cemetery Board concerning tree cutting.

The council also voted to enter into contracts for a wellness program and for equipment training in Hannibal for the police department.

Also during the meeting, the council approved the Fiscal 2021-2022 budget (see accompanying article).

Members of the Greenwood Cemetery Board and their cemetery caretaker raised concerns about compensation for tree removal and trimming during the past two years.

Bill Goldinger, president of the board, said the contract agreed to between the city and board years ago, requires the city to bear the costs of removing dead trees from the cemetery.

Goldinger also asked the council to reimburse the cemetery for tree removal cost the past two years totalling $11,125.

Mayor Loren Graham said the council had recently approved payment of $600 for recent tree removal, and that the council was reluctant to have city employees cut down trees due to liability issues.

City Attorney James Lemons said the contract could be interpreted in different ways and recommenced a new, more specific contract be negotiated in order to eliminate any doubt in the future.

Cemetery board members agreed to cut their original request for $11,125 in reimbursement, noting that $3,300 of it was for removal of trees and branches following the winter ice storm.

After some discussion, the  council voted to reimburse the cemetery $6,825 which also excluded the $600 the city had already agreed to pay.

A time was also set for city and cemetery representatives to meet to discuss a new contract.

In addition to negotiating more specific costs to be paid by the city for tree removal in the future, the two sides would also agree to specify how the cemetery will notify the city about tree cutting needs in the future to streamline communication.

The council voted unanimously to authorize the mayor to sign a clinical service agreement with Blessing Corporate Services, Inc., so that city employees can participate in the Be Well at Work program.

Involvement in the program is expected to help the city hold down health care costs, while helping the health of employees.

“It seem like it would be beneficial,” said Deena Parsons, city clerk.

The council also voted unanimously to enter into an agreement with the Hannibal Career and Technical Center for access to training for police.

Specifically, Bogue said, the center could provide driver simulation training, something being mandated by the city’s liability insurance carrier, but which has been unavailable until recently.

The agreement is contingent on the technical center agreeing to allowing the city 60 days to pay for costs rather than 30 days.

Corey Mahaffy,  executive director of the Northeast Missouri Economic Development Council, addressed the council concerning ways to revitalize the downtown business district.

Mahaffy gave an overview of various programs designed to help building owners and new and existing business owners obtain special financing to make building improvements  as well as help cities with infrastructure improvements.

To do that, Mahaffy said, the city would need to establish a Community Improvement District.

Mayor Graham recommended the issue be tabled for now to give council members time to  consider the specifics of the programs.

Bogue also got the council okay to bid on a used squad car being sold by the Webb City Police Department. If the bid is successful, the car would designated as the department’s D.A.R.E. car.