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by Mark Cheffey
The Palmyra City Council last Thursday approved promotions and accompanying raises for two police officers.
In addition, the council received a strong audit report, approved a land-use agreement and voted in favor of an expenditure needed toward the construction of a new water well line.
Police Chief Eddie Bogue asked for and received unanimous approval to promote two officers, Cpl. Patrick Anderson and Cpl. Mitch Carey, to supervisory corporals.
In addition they approved raises for the two including five percent for Carey and three percent for Anderson.
Bogue said the promotions are about providing additional department leadership for the future.
He noted that many small police departments are left with leadership vacuums when chiefs retire or are let go.
When brought up during the previous council meeting, council members, Ellen Goodwin and Pam Behring, balked at the raises being made at this time, preferring they be considered during the budget process.
But it was noted during Thursday’s meeting, Bogue was following the city’s own hiring process in making the request.
Paul Richards, of Wade Stables, gave the city’s annual audit report, and noted the city was in strong financial position.
He said the audit again noted a need for more financial controls within city hall, but said it is understandable the city has to balance that need with employment budgetary concerns.
The council unanimously approved a “permit, use and indemnity” agreement with Charles Bross and Greg Bross for renting lots 1-9 in the Warren Head Business Park Subdivision as well as 21.4 acres of city owned property along the south side of Mo. 168 just east of U.S. 61.
The Brosses plan to harvest hay on the properties.
The council unanimously approved contracting with Klingner & Associates, P.C. to develop assessment documents necessary for seeking property easements needed for a project to construct an additional well water line from the Mark Bottoms.
The Palmyra Board of Public Works wants to build the second line to provide redundancy in the event one water line is compromised.
The council again reviewed the situation concerning the city’s inability to obtain two easements necessary to move forward with the proposed Bailey/Stanley street storm water drainage project.
Mayor Rusty Adrian said he had received a cost estimate for construction of a water barrier to help one property owner in the event the easements cannot be obtained.
Adrian said there appears to be no possibility of obtaining the easements and again recommended the council consider moving forward with the condemnation process in an effort to obtain the easements.
The council heard the first reading of an ordinance amending the city’s “cable communications” law.
The bill was proposed by City Attorney James Lemon in response to new state law, which will control the franchise fees the city can charge “video sources,” such as cable television companies.
Lemon said an ongoing lawsuit involving NetFlix, could also result in cities being able to charge franchise fees from video streaming services in the future.
Lemon said the new state law also brings back a provision that allows cities to ask for and obtain a public access channel.
City Clerk Deena Parsons visited with the council about the possibility of changing the city’s cell phone service provider and about efforts to have city financial data stored on the cloud for better security.
Bogue discussed with the council about seeking outside help in order to maintain his department’s continued ability to seek federal grant funding.
Bogue and the council expressed reservations about paying $600 for an outside firm to gather the needed paperwork.
Also discussed was the question of adjusting the employment probation periods.
It was noted the police department’s is six months while the other city departments have three-month probation periods.
The council discussed whether or not there was a need to make it consistent throughout the city.