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by Mark Cheffey
The Palmyra City Council and Palmyra Chamber of Commerce reached a general understanding last Thursday about needed electrical upgrades that will allow the popular Taste of Palmyra event to remain downtown.
The Palmyra Board of Public Works made it known to the Chamber earlier this year that major electrical upgrades would have to be made for safety reasons if Taste of Palmyra, or any major downtown event was to take place, and asked the Chamber to pay for some of the cost.
In response, Chamber representatives appeared before the council during its regular meeting Thursday to say the organization would be unable to pay the $5,500 bill at this time.
“We just can’t afford that right now,” said Randy Hopson, with the Chamber.
Andrew Davis, a BPW employee working on the upgrade project plans, indicated costs have increased since it was first proposed and it could not be completed before this year’s Taste of Palmyra.
“The way it was done was not correct,” Davis said of the previous set up that had electrical cables running on the ground and up on top of downtown building roofs without any special breakers.
Davis said the BPW would need to get easements from building owners to allow for the installation of more permanent breaker boxes and wiring in conduit, and that it would not be a quick fix.
“We can’t do the work this year,” Davis said.
Mayor Rusty Adrian agreed the work needed to be done to make downtown events safer for everyone.
“The city wants to make sure, if we are going to do this, we’re going to do this right,” Adrian said.
There have been discussions within the Chamber of moving the Taste of Palmyra event elsewhere.
“There has been talk of going out to the fairgrounds, but the public is not in favor of it,” said Jason Janes, of the Chamber.
In the end, the BPW offered to do some of the work this year and postpone the rest until next year, in order to allow for Taste of Palmyra event to continue downtown.
“If you can be flexible, we can make this thing work,” said BPW Superintendent Brent Abell to the Chamber representatives.
The offer was well taken.
“Our budget doesn’t allow for a whole lot of money, but we would like to help,” Hopson said.
Also during Thursday’s meeting, the council voted unanimously to again change the boundaries of the proposed Community Improvement District to Brown Furniture property, but include vacant commercial property at 501 East Ross St.
The council also unanimously approved two resolutions that would allow the city to apply for American Rescue Plan Act funding through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to pay for lining the city’s sewer system as well as storm water drainage improvements.
The council heard the first reading of an ordinance that would correct city ordinances referring to building safety inspection duties performed by the fire department, since the department is no longer a city entity.
Unanimous approval was also given to award a bid for implementing the city’s new website to DMO Promo at a cost not to exceed $5,200.
The council voted unanimously to execute a full deed of release for the city’s option to purchase the Butch’s Sports World property in the Palmyra Industrial Park currently owned by Gerold and Anna Herold.
The action would allow the property to be purchased by another buyer.
Police Chief Eddie Bogue updated the council concerning the possibility of installing traffic lights at the intersection of Main and Main Cross streets.
He said he and a state highway department employee observed the intersection and that MoDOT was to report back to Bogue with possible recommendations.
However, Bogue said he was informed the city would have to pay for any traffic control improvements at the intersection.
Street Commissioner Austin Dornberger presented a bid of $222,850 from Emery Sapp & Sons for planned street overlay work.
Dornberger said he was working with the contractor to lower the bid and to possibly receive some financial support from the county for work along Marion City Road by the county jail.
There was also council discussion about Fourth of July fireworks after members and police received numerous complaints.
Before adjourning, the council voted to hold next month’s meetings on Aug. 11 and 18, to avoid holding the first meeting during the Marion County Fair.