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MAYOR’S REPORT FOR APRIL 2018
As soon as weather permits, the La Plata Police Department will once again start working on the derelict property enforcements issues for those that have already been served notices. Ambrose (Willie) and Holly Williams are voluntarily demolishing the house east of their residence at 319 W. Clark Street that has been unoccupied for several years.
The water and wastewater department building is in need of having tin replaced that has blown off and needs to be repainted. They have ordered the tin and are accepting bids to have it professionally airless spray painted.
The oil distributor truck that we have signed a sales agreement for will be available in late May or mid June. I was notified that the USDA grant/loan funds won’t be available in time for the purchase so the financing will be done with the Bank of Kirksville that submitted the lowest interest rate.
The La Plata Police Department has been doing walk throughs at the La Plata R-II High School the past few weeks. On Friday, April 20th, Police Chief Jason Bunch, K-9 Officer John Taylor & K-9 Aaron, and Officer Mark Henderson they were invited to participate in a “Secure Building Drill”.
The first yard waste pickup for 2018 was on Tuesday, April 24th .
On March 15th, I received a letter from Stanley R. Ausemus, an attorney at law who represented a lady that accidently missed getting off the train in Kansas City enroute from Garden City, KS and was forced off in La Plata on March 9th. The lady spoke no English and you can imagine how upsetting that was probably for her. During her stay in La Plata, while she waited for the west bound train that night to return her home, she was assisted by our police department, Bob and Amy Cox, Larry Leibundguth, and owners and employees of La Pachanga. He represents the lady with a workers compensation claim and was made aware of the kindness extended to her and wanted to thank our community on her behalf.
During a few days of the good weather around mid-March, the street department did some curb cleanup. Kiley and I have discussed some of the proposed streets to be resurfaced this summer. Due to several unforeseen issues discovered during the sewer reline project more streets will have to be disturbed and with all the heavy equipment driving around town very minimal street resurfacing. The street department will be concentrating on major pot hole repairs during the 2018 summer.
On the evening of March 15th I received a call regarding a sunken hole in the road between the track entrance and softball/baseball fields. I notified Kiley and they made the repairs the next day.
The golf advisory board met on Monday evening, April 9th to discuss the 2018-2019 season. They have several volunteer projects going on out on the course as well as laying new flooring in the clubhouse. I certainly appreciate all the volunteers that are participating in the improvement projects. As today, there are a total of 88 golf memberships. There are 58 singles, 28 families, 1 college membership and 1 junior membership. Of those 88 memberships, there are 26 that are new for this year.
The “Severe Storm Siren” testing will be held by La Plata’s Emergency Management Director Stan East on the 4th Friday of each month April thru September. April’s testing will be held on Friday the 27th.
The Park & Recreation Board met on Tuesday, March 27th.  Stacey Hudson officially resigned her position on the board due to moving outside the city limits. Tyler Murray was elected to replace Stacey as president of the board; Jason Bunch is the vice president; and Sally Moore is the secretary. Michelle Moore was appointed by the La Plata Board of Alderman to fill the vacancy due to Stacey’s resignation. D.J. Couch, Zach Robinson, and Tina Williams terms expire in May 2018 and they have agreed to continue to serve for another 3 year term. After the scheduled Monday, April 16th meeting, they have set the second Monday of each month as their regular meeting dates. Brennan Filkins, who is a park board member, organized two cleanup days for the Santa Fe Lake to be held on Saturday, April 21st and 28th between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. The work days are in preparation for the Annual Ollie Johnson Fishing Tournament to be held on Saturday, May 5th as well as the opening of the lake during Memorial Day weekend. Stacey Hudson, former La Plata Park & Recreation Board President met with the Board of Alderman on April 10th regarding the information she has received from the IDA (Industrial Development Authority) regarding funding for the City Reservoir campground sites. They have advertised in the Macon County Journal as well as on Facebook seeking applications for the Santa Fe Lake care taker.
On March 27th, we received a letter from DNR stating that our Registration Permit R-335 has been renewed. The La Plata City Reservoir dam was inspected on January 25th and failed inspection due to landscape issues. Kiley, Greg, and Jake went out to the site and corrected the issues and the area was reinspected on March 13th and was found greatly improved. The new permit will be in effect until March 8, 2023. When I gave Kiley a copy of the letter, he stated that they have some other work they plan to do at the reservoir dam when weather permits.
The La Plata Cemetery Board met on Tuesday, March 13th and approved new signage for the original cemetery. They approved the hiring of Curtis Contracting for the 2018 mowing season. Plans are being made to collect donations for the cemeteries on Memorial Day, Labor Day weekend, and at the Veteran’s Day luncheon. There has been discussion held that eventually a tax will have to be voted on to support the upkeep of the cemetery.
Police Chief Jason Bunch submitted a “Crime Summary Report “for the month of March.
On Tuesday, March 27th, Brian Fifer brought in a section of the relining material for display at City Hall so residents will be able to better understand the project procedure. Also, Willis Brothers began bringing in construction materials including new sewer manholes for the project and Wednesday, March 28th was there first day on the job. As a result of work on North Gex Street just north of Moore Street, they found at least two very large I & I issues. Water & wastewater superintendent Mike Binder and SK&W engineer Brian Fifer were at Tuesday night’s meeting and gave an update on the project. Visu Sewer and Willis Brothers are progressing with the reline project and have worked almost every day except for two days when the weather was inclement. Several issues have developed that are going to require change overs and more extensive digging.
On Wednesday, March 28th, Randy Snodgrass with Liberty Utilities called to let us know that they have contracted with Excel Utilities to install equipment for automated readers. I posted it on Facebook to make our residents aware in case they become suspicious. The Excel employees will be wearing company uniforms and will have business cards. I hadn’t noticed them in town until the week of April 9th when we began seeing them going from house to house.
Officer Taylor is discussing having the 1st Annual K-9 Days of Summer Golf Classic & 5K Pet Race for Saturday, July 21st to help financially support the K-9 and DARE Programs.  He will have to work the details out with Jan, the clubhouse manager to see if it will be a profitable money making project.
Bobbie and I attended a very informative safety meeting/luncheon sponsored by Hawkins-Harrison Insurance Company & MRSWIT (Missouri Rural Services Worker’s Compensation Insurance Trust) at the El Kadir Shrine Club in Kirksville on Tuesday, March 20th. We were presented with a plaque for excellence in accident prevention for the performance period of April 1, 2014 thru March 31, 2017. During the meeting, many safety issues were discussed and Bobbie and I have signed up for a website through MRSWIT that offers online safety training that I am planning on implementing in the near future on a monthly basis for the employees. Bobbie and I have already discussed the fact that we need to make sure and provide our workers with bottled water as well as Gatorade during the hot weather. We also need to make sure that they are furnished and wearing safety glasses, hard hats, etc. when working under dangerous conditions.
Cory and Eric took the bucket truck to Calvert’s in Brunswick on Wednesday, March 14th for the pins and bushing repairs to the bucket. There was an idler issue that was affecting the operation of the bucket that couldn’t be fixed by Calvert’s so when the truck was done Cory had scheduled an appointment at Rush Truck Center in Quincy, IL. They took the truck straight from Brunswick to Quincy and left it for repairs where they replaced the idler switch that corrected the issue and picked the truck up on Tuesday, March 27th.  
When Cory called Altorfers they told him that new emission regulations were requiring a new test that would require that we have some testing ports welded to the stacks. Roland Lindsey of J & J Welding brought a portable welder to the site and installed the ports on Thursday, April 5th. The tentative date for Altorfers to come and do the testing is scheduled for Wednesday, April 25th.
Police Chief Bunch included the final draft of the police “Ride Along Policy” in the council packet and it was approved during the April meeting.
Bobbie requested information from MML regarding the use tax which they have suggested that we approve by ordinance for the August 7th ballot instead of only the previously approved sales tax ordinance. The approval of the use tax would include out of state purchases of vehicles as well as internet sales. This proposition would be a positive vote instead of a negative vote like the sales tax issue. Therefore, the Board of Alderman voted to delete the March 13th ordinance and to approve the new one.
Bulk pickup will be held on Monday, May 7th. Anyone with appliances can call Frank Curtis at 660-342-1050 for FREE pickup.
On March 26th, Bob Cox contacted me about ordering some new Amtrak signage from Great American Stations.com that provides them free to municipalities. The signs replaced the old ones that direct travelers to the train station. The signs were delivered to the depot area on Tuesday, April 3rd and they were picked up from the depot and installed by the street department.
A new United States flag was installed in the city park on Thursday, April 12th to replace the one that was very frayed. I searched online for ideal flags that are flown 24/7 and found a company that appeared to sell flags were heavier than the ones we’ve had in the past and it is proudly flying in the city park.
The electric department employees will be installing new LED lighting in their building as well as City Hall in the near future which will greatly improve work performance as well as a cost savings.
The election was held on Tuesday, April 3rd with the incumbents, Mayor Lois Bragg, Alderman Trent Perry, and Alderwoman Susan Walker being re-elected for two-year terms. City Clerk Bobbie Jacques read the certified election results and swore in the newly elected officials at the beginning of our meeting.
I will be scheduling walk throughs of each of the departments to see the improvements for the street and electric departments as well as any updates that the water & wastewater and police department parking garage might need. They will be scheduled as soon as the weather permits.
Police Chief Bunch had requested an interview with Holt Landorf who will be graduating from the MACC law enforcement program in mid-May. Mr. Landorf met with Alderman Robinson, Alderman Jones, Chief Bunch and I on Tuesday evening, April 17th. After having the interview, a special meeting was held on Friday evening, April 20th for the remainder of the board of alderman to meet Mr. Landorf and he was offered and accepted a full-time position to begin after the completion of his POST certification testing and graduation from MACC Law Enforcement Training Academy on May 22nd.
We have had some discussion on whether to give a sewer allowance for those filling private swimming pools. I had gotten comments from other cities and Bobbie checked with USDA to see if we could even do so due to us having water and sewer bonds. After considerable discussion, the consensus of the Board of Aldermen was not to allow a discount for sewer charges if filling a swimming pool.
The next meeting of the La Plata Board of Alderman will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8th, 2018.  Anyone wishing to discuss a specific subject must contact City Clerk Bobbie Jacques at least 24 hours prior to the meeting in order to be placed on the agenda.