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by Mark Cheffey
The Palmyra City Council last Thursday approved the continuation of the street department’s four 12-hour work days through the rest of the summer.
Also during the regular meeting, the council awarded the bid for this year’s street overlay projects and approved funding to help rehabilitate the fair arena wood bleachers.
During the council’s review of the street department’s one-month trial of the four-day work week, Street Commissioner Austin Dornberger said his crew liked the longer workdays, which, he said, also aided work efficiency.
“We could pour concrete at the first of the day and prepare for the next one the rest of the day,” Dornberger said.
Dornberger was asked by the council if any issues came up with not working on Friday’s, and he said there was not any.
Dornberger was also asked about what might happen if weather interrupts the more compacted work schedule, and he said his crew would deal with it the best they could.
“They want it to work just like anybody else does,” Dornberger said.
A motion was made and seconded to extend the four-day work week through Labor Day, and the council unanimously approved it.
The council also voted unanimously to award the bid for street overlay projects to Emery Sapp & Sons of Hannibal at a cost of $194,650.
Dornberger said the price per ton was the same as last year’s.
Slated to receive overlays are:
• East Main Cross from Main Street to U.S. 61;
• Dickerson Street from North to Jackson streets; and
• Leach Ave. from Ross to Mariposa.
Following a request by Doug Meyers, parks & recreation director, as well as some discussion, the council voted unanimously to provide $9,000 toward the rehabilitation of the fair arena wooden bleachers.
Meyers had briefed the council during a previous meeting about the need for cleaning and sealing the bleachers and that he would be seeking ways to do that.
He told the council it turned out to be impractical to do the project in-house and sought bids from three contractors and received only one totalling $19,000 for the work.
Meyers indicated the contractor would be able to start work on Monday of this week if the project was approved and funded.
He said the park department and Chamber of Commerce both agreed to contribute $5,000, leaving $9,000 left unfunded.
“It’s time to do it,”said Meyers who indicated rehab work has not been done on the bleachers in at least 17-years.
“It’s just getting to the point we better do it with the events we have there,” Meyers said.
“It brings a lot of people into town,” said Mayor Rusty Adrian in pushing for the city to provide funding.
With the opportunity to have the project completed before this year’s fair, and with money available in the city’s budgeted contingency fund, the council voted unanimously to provide the final funding needed.
In other action, the council voted unanimously to approve an agreement for the Marion County Collector’s office to continue collecting city property taxes.
City Attorney James Lemon said he had reviewed the proposed agreement and learned the only change from the current agreement is the inclusion of a two-percent fee increase amounting to $6,800 extra per year.
City Clerk Deena Parsons said the extra costs would be worth it, because, if the city decided to do its own tax collecting, additional computer software would have to be purchased.
Dornberger said weather and other issues had interrupted work on the Main Cross/Bradley street bridge project but that it continues to progress and was about 30 percent complete.
Work would not be completed before the fair.
Police Chief Eddie Bogue updated the council on plans for traffic control during the fair in light of the closure of Main Cross Street, one of the most used ways to reach the fairgrounds.
Bogue said he had been meeting with Michele Hopson, who organizes the fair for the Palmyra Chamber of Commerce and that a plan has been developed for use Friday and Saturday, Aug. 4 and 5, when there is extra heavy truck traffic for the demolition derby and the truck and tractor pull.
Plans are to direct truck traffic from the Main Cross and south access points to the fairgrounds via Ross Street, Breckenridge Ave. and New Street to the east entrance to the fairgrounds.
“I think we’ve got the best plan we have to work with,” Bogue said, noting the main concern to avoid were trucks crossing the railroad tracks on W. New St.
He said he also plans to have his entire staff helping out with traffic control at the fairgrounds those two nights.
The council gave final approval to an ordinance that clarifies how the street department collects yard waste.
The council also heard the first of two readings of ordinances that:
• establishes minor subdivision regulations; and
• clarifies language that allows the Board of Public Works to “continue as a separate and independent entity, but also to provide support and reasonable review and oversight to the Board of Public Works.”
The council renewed discussion of a proposed lease agreement with the Palmyra Fire Protection District concerning its use of the Palmyra Fire Station, which is owned by the city.
Mayor Adrian said the city still awaits final agreement from the district.
Lemon said, he understood the two main points of contention appear to be the city’s desire to have the lease agreement coincide with its fiscal year which begins in May and who pays attorney’s fees in the case of legal disputes.
Lemon said it is traditional for the landlord, in this case, the city, have “the upper hand” on attorney’s fees.
He also reminded the council of the importance of having the lease follow the city’s fiscal year in order to maintain consistency and prevent the leases from being lost, something he said he has seen experienced elsewhere.
Mayor Adrian gave an update on efforts to establish a Community Improvement District.
He said the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council would help in the city’s renewed efforts, by holding meetings and providing information to help develop support.