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by Mark Cheffey
The city will seek voter approval in April for a $15 million no-tax bond issue and a three-cent marijuana sales tax following action taken during Thursday’s regular council meeting.
Both measures to place the issues on the April 4 Municipal Election ballot received unanimous council approval.
To be identified on the April 4 Municipal Election ballot as a question, the bond issue will require a simple majority to allow the city to issue revenue bonds and borrow $15 million to fund waterworks and sewage system improvements.
The city would pay off loans by raising water and sewer bills to an average $45 and $61 per month respectively.
The council voted unanimously to place a three-cent sales tax on retail sales of adult use marijuana on the April 4 ballot.
The measure, identified as Proposition 1, will require a simple majority for passage.
The move comes following the passage of a state constitutional amendment in November allowing recreational marijuana use in Missouri which also allowed cities and county’s to pass sales taxes connected with it.
Leading Thursday’s meeting in his capacity as mayor pro tem in the absence of Mayor Rusty Adrian, Council Member Brock Fahy reported the Community Action Group met recently and came to an agreement on specific highway plans to submit to MoDOT.
The group, made up of local citizens and city officials, have been meeting regularly for the better part of a year to come up with highway outer road priorities and plans to present to MoDOT.
In the end, the group decided on a plan that includes a new diamond interchange at Warren Drive and Thompson Ave., along with outer roads and new road connecting with the Charlie Brown Industrial Park.
“This is very important for our city,” Fahy said.
By a unanimous vote, the council selected Klingner & Associates, P.C. as the city’s on-call engineer to assist with projects requiring engineering, architectural and surveying services.
The council also unanimously approved a resolution for the city to apply through the Missouri DNR State Revolving Fund program for loans under the Missouri Safe Drinking Water Law to fund water system improvements.
Police Chief Eddie Bogue reported two of three new police vehicles ordered last April have been delivered and a third one was expected soon.
He did report the department’s oldest vehicle is out of action as the result of a three-vehicle crash last Monday evening.
The policeman driving it was uninjured, but Bogue said the car received damage estimated at costing $14,785, and he was awaiting word from the city’s insurance carrier if the car would be repaired or have to be replaced.
Bogue also reported being approached by the Hannibal Police Department, as were other departments in Marion County, about the possibility of teaming up to purchase a series of license plate readers.
Bogue said the readers can be used in investigations as well as real time situations, with the readers placed in strategic spots in the county.
BPW Superintendent Brent Abell said his departments are are back to full staff after a difficult search to fill positions vacated last year.
He also reported new sewage plant aeration equipment has been delivered and bids are now being sought from contractors interested in installing it.
Abell also said the BPW is working to update its utility pole attachment policy, and noted a second company is intending to bring fiber-optic line service to the city.
Fahy urged sped-up efforts to put a new city website online in the next few months.
He said the Palmyra Chamber of Commerce, which currently shares website with the city, is hoping to go live in “the next couple of months.
When that happens, he said, the city will be on its own with its website still in development.
He said there is urgency, due to the city depending on a website for utility bill payment availability.
The council also discussed with Kyle Brennemann, building inspector/code enforcement officer about on-going efforts to induce some downtown building owners to make needed improvements to their structures.