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by Mark Cheffey
The Palmyra City Council set the property tax rate for the year, officially adopted a new city logo and changed the rate for curb and guttering installation during the regular meeting last Thursday.
In addition, the council approved a newly revised solid waste contact, an Ignite sponsorship and expenditures for the new police cars and police overtime.
Palmyra residents and businesses will pay the same city property tax rate as last year, as the council voted 5-0 in favor of setting it at $0.6192 per $100 assessed valuation.
The council has little leeway in changing the rate, which is designated by the state.
The council approved the rate through ordinance in emergency fashion, which required just a single reading rather than two over successive meetings.
The council also voted 5-0 in favor of adopting the city’s long-time city seal as the city logo.
The design, which dates back to 1969 and the city’s bicentennial, will be colorized and used on employee clothing, the city website and official correspondence.
Following the recommendation of Austin Dornberger, street commissioner, the council voted 5-0 in favor of changing the way the street department charges for installation of curb and guttering.
Instead of charging $5 per linear foot to pay for materials including the cement, the city will pass on the cost of materials at the time of installation.
Dornberger noted the costs for curb and gutting have gone well above the $5 figure and that it made more sense to pass on the current costs.
“I think its fair,” said Council member Brock Fahy, who made the motion to approve the change.
The street department currently does not charge for labor for curb and gutter installation.
By a 5-0 vote, the council approved an amended the city’s existing new contract with GFL Environmental for collection and disposal of residential waste and recyclable materials.
The amendment was made at the city’s request to acknowledge cost payments to a different entity and came after some negotiation.
City Clerk Deena Parsons said the amended contract would settle possible concerns raised by the city’s financial auditors.
The council voted 5-0 to approve $5,000 in additions needed for the new police cars on order, as well as $8,000 for police overtime, with the money coming from some of the city’s ARPA money held in a city contingency fund.
The council also approved by a 5-0 vote paying $750 for a sponsorship for Ignite, a partnership between the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council, the Small Business Development Center and the Hannibal Chamber of Commerce “dedicated to creating an ecosystem that attracts, creates, supports and accelerates new and existing businesses in Northeast Missouri.
After some discussion with Police Chief Eddie Bogue, it was decided to have the Personnel Committee consider his request to possibly hire two new police officers by the end of this year, to fill a current opening and prepare for any future openings.
Bogue told the council of continued difficulties in hiring police officers, and that he was hoping to attract two academy recruits from the University of Central Missouri.
Council member Pam Behring, who chairs the ordinance committee that members recommended establishing a monthly permit fee for RV campers in order to make an allowance for such campers while preventing permanent RV residents.
Any proposed changes would have to go through the planning and zoning committee and then approved by the council through an ordinance.
BPW Superintendent Brent Abell reported again on the city’s sewer plant, which recently suffered a failure to one of two rotary aerators.
Abell said the state is aware of the situation, and the city can make do at this time until it can be repaired or a more permanent solution can be sought.
Dornberger informed the council about increased costs associated with his department’s dirt work for the Marion County Fair.
He noted the $1,600 in fuel costs represented a one-seventh of his department’s annual fuel costs, and that some of the fair fuel costs would need to be passed on to the Chamber of Commerce which hosts the fair.
In a related note, Mayor Rusty Adrian reported positive comments from fair organizers concerning work provided by city departments during the fair.
“They were very professional,” Adrian said of city workers.
Dornberger also reported street overlay projects were expected to be done in the early part of September.
Council member Ellen Goodwin asked that the council consider having some ordinances read fully during council meetings so that members can review them properly.
City Attorney James Lemon said that, while Palmyra voters approved in April a charter change allowing for ordinance summery readings, the council could still have full readings of some ordinances if voted for by members.