Poplar Bluff City Council (Oct07-2014)

Oct 07, 2014

Tuesday night’s meeting of the Poplar Bluff City Council practically set records on brevity, only meeting for 35 minutes before adjourning and moving to closed session

A number of items of business were conducted though, including preparation for winter driving conditions by requesting bids for new snow plows and a salt bin. With last winter’s snows well within memory, the council decided to be proactive in getting ready for this winter by looking into new snow plows, which would go with the city’s current trucks. The council voted to amend its current budget for the Street Department in order include the purchase of the snowplows and salt bin.

In other transportation matters, the council voted unanimously to execute an ordinance authorizing the mayor to execute a Surface Transportion Program (STP) agreement with the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission and the city to resurface various streets within the city. The measure received unanimous support from the Council.

Also approved was a measure to allow for the use of electronic signature for permits with the city’s Municipal Utilities Manager.

In other housekeeping measures, the city  voted to vacate a portion of an easement between the city and John D. and Roberta J. Duncan and Jan Aaron and Scott R. Hicks.

Two rezoning measures were approved. The council approved the rezoning of property from RS-3, central service residential, to R-2, residential apartment for future multi-family development of property located at 432 Highway 53. They also approved a rezoning from M-1, light industrial to consolidate zoning with the property contiguous to the west for property located at 415 S. Broadway Street.

Also approved by the council was a change order on the Walk Trail Phase II project, which came in under budget.

The council received two bids for the Shelby Road/Kanell Blvd. project. The bids received were $330,000 from Fronabargar Construction from Oak Ridge, MO; and $336,000 bid by KAJACS Contractors, Inc. of Poplar Bluff.

There was discussion about the council about the city ordinance which allows the council to give preference to local contractors on city projects, but it was noted that Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) funds are being used for this project, which specifies using the lowest qualified bid for projects. City Manager Heath Kaplan was going to look into whether or not that would apply on this project. Mayor Angela Pearson commented that for a difference of only $6,000 she would be in favor of choosing the local construction company if it is permitted. The bid is to come before the council for a vote in its October 20 meeting.

The council also discussed an amendment that would allow for a board to oversee maintenance of trees within the city.

“The city of Poplar Bluff is named after the Poplar tree,” noted Kaplan. He added that presently contractors cut down whatever trees they want to in order to complete a project. “But we really need something that will protect these trees, and that will save them whenever possible. Trees make for a friendly outside environment, and of course trees make for a healthier environment.”

He suggested an advisory board be formed to develop standards for protecting trees when possible.

Council member Jack Rushin questioned whether such an advisory board would interfere with the pruning of trees for the purpose of protecting utility lines.

Kaplan agreed that utilities and safety are of the utmost importance. “But there also needs to be some balance,” explained the city manager. He also noted that trees on private property should be the responsibility of the property owner.

The measure to form the advisory board for trees and landscaping concerns within the city was moved to the October 20 voting session.

The only measure to not get total support from the council was a resolution authorizing the City Manager to be included as a signee on the signature card on the Municipal Utilities bank accounts. Voting no on that measure were Betty Absheer and Ed DeGaris. Absent was council member Johnny Brannum. The measure sill passed with a 4-2 vote.