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by Mark Cheffey
The Palmyra City Council Thursday gave its approval to an unusual mutual aid agreement with Monroe City during last Thursday’s regular meeting.
The agreement, approved by a 4-0 vote with two council members absent, will provide for “mutual cooperation in the event of staffing and training issues that affect the ability of either city to operate.”
However, the agreement came about in an effort for Palmyra to help Monroe City which, according to the agreement, is experiencing “increased staffing and training issues” within the city clerk’s office and city hall.
With the agreement in place, Palmyra City Clerk Deena Parsons said members of her staff will travel to Monroe City to train employees on the use of financial software to help Monroe City (for example) send out its utility billing.
“Basically it’s about helping another municipality,” Parsons said.
Palmyra’s city hall employees will be paid at an hourly rate and receive mileage covering their trips to Monroe City.
The agreement still must be approved by the Monroe City Council, but it is expected to be a formality.
The council also gave approval to a lease agreement with the Palmyra Fire Protection District for the fire department’s continued use of the Palmyra fire station.
Under the agreement, the PFPD will lease the station for 40 months starting Jan. 1, 2024 at a total rent cost of $72,000 for the 40 months.
The lease is also eligible for two additional two-year terms for a total lease period of seven years.
The city council voted 4-0 in favor of taking out a loan through HOMEBANK in the amount of $443,610 to cover the cost of replacing the aeration system at the city’s sewage treatment plant this past summer.
The loan will take the place of a line of credit which is about to expire.
The one-year loan rate will be six percent, the same as with the line of credit, and the city will not have any payments due until Missouri Department of Naturel Resources loan funding becomes available.
Parsons said the move allows the city to free up funding through the line of credit for use in paying for other upcoming projects.
By another 4-0 vote the council agreed to extend its current investment banking agreement with HOMEBANK for one year.
Parsons said the only change from the current agreement is that interest rates would be up for adjustment on a quarterly basis rather than annually.
The council chose not to go for a longer term agreement so it could be reviewed after one year.
By a 4-0 vote, the council agreed to split with the Parks and Recreation Department, the cost of planting Christmas trees in the downtown planters for use during the holiday tree decorating contest.
The council initially questioned the cost–$200 for tree for a total cost of $2,400 for the 12 trees-but agreed the decoration contest was worth the cost.
“I will say our decorations get a lot of compliments,” said council member Brock Fahy.
It was noted that, after the contest is over, the trees will be replanted permanently in other locations in Palmyra.
The council approved a resolution setting up the election of three council members during the April 2, 2024 Municipal Election.
Voters will elect one council member from each of the city’s three wards currently held by Ellen Goodwin (Ward 1), Patrick Barnes (Ward 2) and Earl Meyers (Ward 3).
Mayor Rusty Adrian asked the council to consider starting the condemnation process in connection with the proposed Bailey/Stanley street storm water drainage project in light of ongoing difficulties in obtaining needed property easements.
Adrian said he had visited with David and Alisha Jones, whose home has experienced storm water flooding in the past and are concerned enough about future flooding events that they are hoping the city would pay to build a retaining wall since the project is being held up.
He also said one of the land owners in question is adamant about not allowing an easement on the property.
“I want the council to think about this seriously,” Adrian said of condemnation procedures of which City Attorney James Lemon summarized for the council.
The council discussed the recently new parking lines painted on Main Street downtown in an effort to improve sight lines for motorists trying to enter or cross Main Street.
Street Commissioner Austen Dornberger and Police Chief Eddie Bogue said motorists appear confused by them and that it may take some enforcement, through warning tickets for parking violators.
Council member Earl Meyers said he is awaiting a bid for lining of the city hall leaky drain pipes.
Mayor Adrian gave a brief report on his visit to last Monday’s Marion County Commission meeting during which he made a request for county funding for the city-run recycling facility.