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by Mark Cheffey
The Palmyra City Council last Thursday received the results of the annual audit of city finances and set the filing dates for the April Municipal Election.
In addition, the council heard the first readings of four proposed ordinances characterized as house cleaning measures.
Paul Richards with the accounting firm of Wade Stables, P.C., gave a brief overview of the finalized audit of city finances and noted it was a “clean audit.”
He did recommend the city improve its accountability on bank transaction reconciliation, but expressed understanding that it can be a hardship to do for small cities.
“There doesn’t seem to be a problem, but it is something to be mindful of,” Richards said.
The council unanimously approved a resolution setting the candidate filing dates for the April Municipal Election for Tuesday, Dec. 6 to Tuesday, Dec. 27.
Persons wishing to run for city office will need to do so during the time period at city hall.
Up for re-election will be the office of mayor, currently held by Rusty Adrian, one council position from each of the three wards currently held by Brock Fahy, Ward 1, Andrew Salsman, Ward 2, and Pam Behring, Ward 3.
The council heard the first reading of an ordinance raising the city’s annual business license fee from $10 to $25 to reflect results of the municipal election last April, when voters approved the change.
City Attorney James Lemons admitted he forgot to submit the necessary ordinance to make the change official.
The council also heard the first reading of an ordinance that spells out in better detail the procedure the city can take concerning dangerous buildings.
Lemons said the ordinance replaces language lost when the city adopted international building codes and also brings it in line with state statutes.
First readings were also heard for two ordinances concerning closed records in reference to the state’s Sunshine Law.
In particular they clarify what records the city can designate as closed to public viewing including the Board of Public Works billing records.
Council member Ellen Goodwin said the Finance Committee she chairs had met with the two finalists for providing city employee health insurance for the coming year and was preparing to make a recommendation to the council.
At the request of BPW Superintendent Brent Abell, the council voted unanimously to allow an exception to the city’s rule that employees live within 30 minutes of the city.
Abell said he has been having difficulty filling a vacancy, but that he had found one qualfied applicant who lives outside the 30-minute radius who is unwilling to move closer.
Abell also said the position has regular hours and does not require the individual to be on call.
Rather than changing the city’s policy, Abell asked the council to grant an exception in this case so he can fill the position, and council members agreed to it.
Council member Earl Meyers, who chairs the building committee, reported the new city hall roof received a positive warranty inspection.
He said the inspector gave it a 100 percent rating, one of only four he had given this year.
Street Commissioner Austin Dornburger said leaf pickup work has gone well with the department’s new equipment. He said it still takes some time, but the one machine takes the place of three, making it more efficient and economical.
It was suggested by the council that he notify the public when they will be picking up leaves in specific parts of the city so residents can prepare ahead of time.
Mayor Adrian reported on the most recent Community Action Group meeting during which it was the consensus of those present to support plans for a U.S. 61 diamond interchange at the Warren Lane, Thompson Avenue location instead of at Main Cross, due to indications from MoDOT that there would not be enough room for the interchange at Main Cross.
The CAG has also called for improvements to the existing north and south interchanges.
Mayor Adrian gave an update on the proposed Community Improvement District, noting that he is adding Jason Janes and Cole Sutter to the governing board to bring it up to capacity.
He also said there would be a meeting soon to move forward with the next step toward making the CID reality.
Mayor Adrian reported the park department is planning to plant live Christmas trees in the nine downtown pots this year instead of artificial ones.
Adrian said the cost for live trees is less and the artificial trees wear out after a year. Plus, the live trees can be replanted in the park after the holidays.
The city and park department will split the $1,574 cost for the nine trees.
The council renewed discussion of the need for improving downtown parking street laws and markings in order to improve safety and consistency.
Police Chief Eddie Bogue and Street Commissioner Dornburger are planning a thorough revision with hopes of having it ironed out by this spring.