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MAYOR’S REPORT FOR OCTOBER 2018
On June 12, 2018, the La Plata City Council voted to place a local Use Tax on the November 6th, 2018 ballot. A local Use Tax is a tax that applies to purchases made from out-of-state vendors. The ballot issue will read as following:  Shall the City of La Plata impose a local use tax at the same rate as the total local sales tax rate, currently 1.5%, provided that if the local sales tax rate is reduced or raised by voter approval, the local use tax rate shall also be reduced or raised by the same action? A use tax return shall not be required to be filed by persons whose purchases from out-of-town vendors do not in total exceed two thousand dollars in any calendar year. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE USE TAX:  Why is this important to La Plata residents? The proposal is to eliminate the current sales tax advantage that non Missouri vendors have over Missouri vendors and to help maintain and improve services to our citizens. Local businesses are required to pay the local Sales Tax. With no local Use Tax in place, consumers have an incentive to purchase items from out-of-state vendors instead of buying locally. This could cost the City local jobs and tax revenue because millions of dollars are sent out of our state and local economy. A Use Tax would help ensure that if you are already paying tax on items purchased online, that revenue would stay in your community. The City of La Plata needs to maintain this revenue stream for vital City services such as: Law & Code Enforcement; Street & Transportation; Parks & Recreation; and Capital Improvements. What is the Use Tax? The Use Tax is imposed at the same rate as the local Sales Tax rate, currently one & one half percent (1.5%). If the local Sales Tax rate is reduced or raised by voter approval, the local Use Tax shall also be reduced or raised by the same action. I already pay Sales Tax, is this the same thing? No. The Sales Tax applies to purchases made at retail within Missouri, while the Use Tax applies to purchases made from out-of-state vendors. Purchases cannot fall into both groups and therefore a purchase would not be taxed twice. How much will the City of La Plata receive from a local Use Tax? The Missouri Department of Revenue issues public information reports for Use Tax taxable sales and purchases by locality. Using the 1.5% local tax rate, the Use Tax revenue that the City of La Plata would have received from calendar year 2015 would have been approximately $472,745 calculating to $7,091 in use tax; 2016 would have been $242,457 calculating to $3,636; and 2017 would have been approximately $350,066 calculating to $5,251. These figures may not seem like a great amount but over several years would be a considerable loss in revenue if the ballot issue isn’t passed. This is NOT a tax increase nor a duplicate tax and is only applied to out-of-state purchases. All the education material provided is paid for by the City of La Plata.
Bobbie has filed a separate reimbursement invoice for the $400 for the concrete pads that were installed at the City Reservoir for the picnic tables obtained with the DNR Grant.
Golf membership remain at 123 for the season and there are currently 82 (32 NEW) singles, 35 (12 NEW) families, 1 college membership; and 5 (3 NEW) junior membership. Of those, there are a total of 47 NEW memberships. Last year we had 82 paid memberships therefore giving us an increase of 41 members for this season. Of those 123 members, we currently have 25 that are paying monthly for their memberships via automatic withdrawal.
The Park & Recreation Board discussed the seven (7) tree stumps that are located in the city park as a result of a citizen complaint. Board President Tyler Murray received two bids and accepted the bid of “Stump Grinding” during the October meeting. The city park bathrooms and the Santa Fe Lake will be closed and winterized after the Missouri Conservation Department’s CWD testing to be held the weekend of November 10th and 11th on the east side of the city park.
The Board of Alderman accepted Eric Smith’s resignation as of Friday, October 5th, approved a pay increase for Jake Hodges to accept additional water/wastewater responsibilities, and to allow Greg Tuggle to attend water and wastewater certification classes beginning after the first of the year. Eric has also agreed to serve as an emergency backup for the water and wastewater department and maintain his certification. At this time, the City will not be hiring another full-time employee.
The yard waste pickup was held on Tuesday, September 25th and will be held again on October 26th and November 30th.
BUILDING PERMITS: Sean and Renee Herron for storage shed at 110 N. Owensby; Sean & Renee Herron for storage shed at 311 W. Colbern; and Shelby Johnson for deck at 224 W. Davis.
City Reservoir campsite update: Greg and Eric starting trenching in the waterline on Friday, September 21st and Monday, September 24th. It was a slow process with the small trencher attachment on the skidster so they contacted me on Tuesday, September 25th to see if it would be okay to contract out the job to Drew Magers. It only took Drew a minimal amount of time to do what would have taken them several more days to complete. On Wednesday, Cory told me that Drew was busy and couldn’t come back to do the trenching for the electrical services. A trencher was rented from Harland Rentals in Macon and the project was completed by Friday, September 28th. An inaugural camping trip was planned by Stacey Hudson of the “Camping’s Starting Kiddies” group for the weekend of October 6th but it rained all weekend and was cancelled. The city employees are to be commended on doing a great job on the new campsites. The individual graveled camping areas will still need to be completed before we can submit bills for the grant reimbursement. Greg and Tyler are discussing whether the ground is settled enough after all the rain to go ahead and spread the gravel this fall.
As of Monday, September 24th, only 140 or 44 percent of the LMI forms had been returned to MTRCG. I put another reminder on Facebook and several people commented they never received the form. I explained that it was a random mailing and that not everyone was surveyed. I contacted MTRCG again on Tuesday, October 2nd and no additional surveys had been received. It appears that another mailing will have to be done or a telephone polling survey in order to try and obtain sufficient response. I have put two additional pleas asking residents to please fill out and return the survey even if their income is over the LMI requirements. I would hope that residents that haven’t filled out the surveys will do so or the city will fail to qualify for receiving large amounts of grant money which was being planned for street repairs. At this time, I am very discouraged by the community’s lack of responses to the survey. As I previously said, the state of Missouri may receive up to $100 million dollars in grant monies as a result of the storm disasters of 2015, 2016, and 2017 and if we don’t have a current LMI we will lose out on acquiring any of these funds.
Police Chief Jason Bunch submitted a “Crime Summary Report “for the month of September.
As of Monday, September 17th, Fire Chief Bob Couch reported that they have completed the testing of over half of the fire hydrants. Residents in areas where the hydrant testing is being done may experience some issues with dirty water but shouldn’t be alarmed unless it continues several days. Several issues have been found where hydrants need maintenance or replacement and Bob and I are communicating with Mike regarding the issues and have a list compiled.
There was a POW/MIA Day Ceremony held on the Adair County courthouse lawn in Kirksville on Friday, September 21st with David Johnson, Jerry Thomas, and Walter Gladbach all of La Plata participating in the event.
FINGERPRINTING UPDATE: Besides D-TAP, The Drug Testing Awareness Program, 601 Business Loop 70W-Ste. 204 in Columbia, MO which is located in Parkade Plaza  right across from KIA of Columbia – 888-230-7424 there are several other fingerprinting locations in the area including Memphis, Kahoka, Brookfield, Trenton, Princeton, Macon, Hannibal, and Moberly. The sites at Kirksville, Mexico, Chillicothe, & Monroe City are still pending. Therefore, the number of fingerprinting sites has increased considerably with the new company partner but we have been told that some of the sites are definitely NOT as adequately equipped as our facility was when we provided the service.
The fall bulk pickup is scheduled for Monday, October 22nd. The following is a list of acceptable and non-acceptable items that Advanced Disposal has provided: ACCEPTABLE ITEMS:  Items that are larger than three (3) feet in any dimension and or heavier than fifty (50) pounds in weight, and/or otherwise will not fit within an empty trash can, thus too large or too bulky to be collected by Contractor on normal household collection.  Including but not limited to items such as mattresses and box springs, indoor/outdoor furniture, swing sets (dismantled, cut into 4’ lengths), plastic swimming pools, large toys, bicycles, fish aquariums, sofas, chairs, tables, carpets (cut in 4’x4’ sections and tied), televisions,  microwaves and other similar items. NOT ACCEPTABLE ITEMS:  Items not accepted include but are not limited to; discarded solid wastes resulting from construction, remodeling and repair and demolition of structures, road building and land clearing including but not limited to, bricks, concrete, and other masonry materials, soil, rock, lumber, road spoils, paving material, tree and brush stumps. Hazardous substances, pollutants, contaminants, toxic substances, toxic chemicals or extremely hazardous substances, biomedical waste, yard waste and vegetation. APPLIANCES: Anyone having appliances to dispose of may contact La Plata City Hall at 660-332-7166 and we will provide them with a telephone number of a  private individual that picks up appliances FREE of charge.
On September 10th, I was recommended by the Macon County Commissioners to fill the term of recently retired Macon City Administrator Vicky McCleeland to the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments Board of Directors. On September 19th, I attended their quarterly meeting held in Perry, MO and my appointment was approved. It is an honor to serve on the board of directors as well beneficial when we are attempting to receiving grant funding.
City Hall was closed on Monday, October 8th in observance of Columbus Day which is a national holiday.
“Walk to School Day” was celebrated by the La Plata R-II School District on Wednesday, October 10th and I participated in the event. School Nurse Carol Buck said that the school has held the event for the past few years but never noticed that they encourage asking city officials to participate as well. School Board member Jason Robinson also participated by walking from the City Park to the elementary school.
The FCCLA Fall City Wide Yard Sale event was held on Saturday, October 13th and there were over 36 yard sales signed up for the event.
A very successful flu shot clinic was held at the La Plata Christian Church on Wednesday, October 17th from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. They were also offering FREE vital signs, height/weight, and cholesterol testing (must have been fasting for this test).
MML sponsors many online “Webinars” …. Police Chief Jason Bunch and I will be participating in the October 24th one that discusses “Derelict Properties: How Local Governments Can Take Action.” The presentation will be done by Stephanie Karr, Attorney, Curtis, Heinz, Garrett, & O’Keefe, P. C.
“Trunk or Treat” is being organized by Cheryl Curtis and Brenda Groza and will be held on Saturday, October 27th from 3:30 until 7:00 p.m. on the city square with some food vendors available that evening. There will also be costume contest, candy, hay rides & much more.
The annual MTRCG meeting will be held in Madison, MO on Thursday evening, October 25th and Bobbie and I plan to attend the event which will mark the 50th Anniversary of the organization.
There will be a mandatory Solid Waste Management grant application meeting sponsored by MTRCG at the Macon Public Library on Tuesday evening, October 30th that Bobbie and I will have to attend in order to qualify for making future grant applications. These are smaller grants for items such as rubberized materials to be placed under the playground equipment in the park, Santa Fe Lake, and City Reservoir. These grants don’t require a successfully completed LMI.
Bobbie and I will be attending the first MML Northeast Regional Meeting to be held in Hannibal on Thursday, November 1st.  These types of meetings are always beneficial for networking with other communities in our region as well as keeping updated on legislative actions being addressed in Jefferson City. Over the years, Bobbie and I have had the opportunity to develop a good working relationship with the MML staff.
On Saturday, November 3rd, the Community Volunteer Corp along with the Macon County Health Department will be sponsoring a “pet sheltering exercise” in La Plata. It will be held at the old fire department across from the La Plata Christian Church. This exercise will give volunteers experience in case of an emergency.
A couple of families have inquired recently about purchasing park benches in memory of their loved ones that have passed away. I have forwarded on copies of a brochure that Bobbie had of the recyclable picnic tables we received from the DNR Grant.
The La Plata Christian Ministries is contemplating the purchase of a vacant building in town for their clothing store and one of the board members was in to talk about the possibility of grant funding. They have already spoken to LouAnn of USDA and gotten a verbal commitment for ½ of the cost of the building. Bobbie suggested that they talk to Alan Wyatt or Stoney Matteson of the Industrial Development Authority board.
We have received many informational brochures regarding the Proposition D which would increase the motor fuel tax by 2 ½ cents per year for the next 4 years (10 cents total after 4 years) beginning July 1st, 2019, which would be earmarked to fund state law enforcement and maintenance of highways, bridges, roads, and streets and I have shared the informational FAQ’s on Facebook regarding the issue.
The La Plata Nursing Home is having their 2nd annual “Christmas Bazaar” on Saturday, November 10th from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.  with lots of handmade goodies. The Girl Scout troops will be serving a meal of walking taco and drink for $6.
For the past ten years, Tabitha Sawyer and Kelcey Smith have served as the organizers of the Annual Veteran’s Day luncheon event held in conjunction with Veteran’s Day. They have decided to step down and have turned the event over to the La Plata FFA Chapter under the direction of Jessie Reuterdahl and the FFA members.
Police Officer Mark Henderson attended and successfully completed the “DARE” classes at the Missouri Training Center in Jefferson City from September 16th thru September 28th. Mark is excited to begin serving the La Plata R-II School District as their “DARE” officer. He had originally spoken with Schuyler County about sharing in the funding of the program between the two districts and I will be discussing what they decided. The cost of the training was $500 which included his 10 days of hotel accommodations. The cost of his meals, gas, and salary was incurred by the city…. However this is a small expense to pay for the fact that he will be instilling very important information into the minds of our youth regarding the ill effects of drug abuse. I have spoken with Elementary Principal Lisa Coy regarding reimbursement and Jason, Mark, and I plan to attend a future school board meeting with a proposal for yearly funding.
             
Jessica Hulett, FCCLA sponsor, informed me on Thursday, September 27th that the group will NOT be sponsoring the “Annual Christmas in the Park” this year due to not having any member wishing to do it as a “STARR” project. I solicited on Facebook for a volunteer to serve as the organizer and Cassie Rodriquez and Amy Morris’ Girl Scout Troops will be organizing the event with more information to be released around the end of October.
As a result of a joint effort on the part of all the city employees, the East Sanders waterline update project resumed after several months of delay due to other projects and is progressing. Individual service connections will be done later this fall or in the spring.
There will be a fundraiser …  “Baby Hodges Benefit” held at the La Plata Elementary School on Saturday evening, November 10th. The event will include a free will soup, sandwich, and dessert supper, silent auction, and live auction items. All proceeds will go to Jake and McKynlee who was delivered by c-section at 28 weeks. Brittney passed away on Friday, October 12th due to complications from the accident.
The next meeting of the La Plata Board of Alderman will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 13th.  All meetings are open to the public and we urge anyone wishing to discuss a specific subject or concern to contact City Clerk Bobbie Jacques at least 24 hours prior to the meeting in order to be placed on the agenda.