Palmyra City council hears of storm water flooding issues
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by Mark Cheffey
The Palmyra City Council discussed storm water flooding issues during its regular meeting Thursday.
Residents of Bailey Street told the council that runoff from recent heavy rains flooded their home, something that had never happened before, and indicated changing flow patterns in the neighborhood were to blame.
In other business, the council set the city’s 2021 property tax rate, took the next steps leading to completion of a storm water drainage project at the courthouse square and another for a bridge upgrade on North Bradley, discussed boundaries for a proposed Community Improvement District and gave the police department the go-head for implementing electronic ticketing.
David and Alisha Jones told the council they have lived at 123 Bailey St. for 16 years and had no flooding issues at all until 2011.
Since then, storm water drainage has become a growing concern for them and their neighbors, and those fears came to fruition with heaving rains that caused water to flow into their home and cause expensive damage.
“We are completely distraught,” said Alisha Jones, who indicated the flooding caused thousands of dollars in damage to their home.
The Jones said they had tried to prevent flooding issues on their own by building a berm but without success.
The Jones showed council members photos and a map of the neighborhood, which generated discussion of the possible causes, which included building construction and paving which could have accelerated water runoff.
There was also discussion of possible issues with storm water run off along south Main Street which also may be contributing to the problem.
“We will look at this,” said Rusty Adrian, echoing the feelings of council members who were sympathetic to the Jones’ situation.
Adrian said there are plans for some storm water drainage improvements in that area of Palmyra, but recommended this new information should be passed on to engineers contracted by the city to design the projects.
Council members Patrick Barnes and Brock Fahy in particular indicated an urgency in following through with efforts to fix the drainage problems.
“We’ve got to be working through it,” Barns said.
“We need to step up to the plate,” Fahy said.
“We really need to move forward in getting something accomplished,” Adrian said.
Following a brief public hearing prior to Thursday’s meeting the council voted 5-0 in favor of setting the 2021 property tax rate for Palmyra at $0.6192 per $100 assessed valuation, down from 0.6621 in 2020.
The tax rate passage was done in emergency fashion, eliminating the need for a second reading at the next council meeting, in order to meet state deadline.
In other action, the council voted 5-0 for the city to enter into contract with T&B Trucking & Excavating and to proceed with the storm water drainage project on the courthouse square.
The city and county have agreed to split the cost of the project designed to eleviate issues on the north and west side of the square.
The council also voted 5-0 in favor of executing an agreement for professional service for the Community Development Block Grant for the bridge upgrade on North Bradley.
After hearing a presentation by Police Chief Eddie Bogue, the council voted to sign a contract with a digTICKET to provide services that will allow the department to start electronic ticketing.
Bogue said electronic ticketing will make the process of issuing traffic tickets more efficient, convenient and quicker, while also making it safer for officers whose traffic stop times could be cut in half.
He also noted the city will save money with the contract, since Palmyra will essentially be piggy backing with Hannibal, which is also switching to electronic ticketing.
Bogue said his officers are “overwhelmed and excited” about switching to the new process which makes traffic ticketing as simple as pushing a button.
Bogue also reported his department will soon be interviewing candidates for a vacant officer position, and also offered some bad news about the costs of a proposed emergency generator for the police station.
He said he got an estimate of $31,000 for the unit itself without installation and site preparation.
Council members discussed trying to budget for it in the future.
After some discussion, the council voted 5-0 in favor of providing compensation for the city’s new Emergency Management Director, Paul Frankenbach. He will be paid $20 per hour for time spent in performing his duties including time for training.
Fahy offered to the council a new bounder for the proposed Community Improvement District. He said it would stretch from Ross Street north to Main Cross and east to U.S. 61 but including mostly commercial establishments while excluding most of the residences on either side of Main Street and Main Cross.
Council members expressed agreement with the boundaries which will be submitted to the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council which is assisting the city with the project.
The council also voted 5-0 to approve Mayor Adrian’s appointment of Craig Illa to fill a vacancy on the Industrial Development Authority.
Mayor Adrian also briefed the council about a webinar he, BPW Superintendent Brent Abell and City Clerk Deena Parsons attended to learn about changes coming to territories annexed by the city after Aug. 28 and how it will be determined who will service electricity.