Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Auxvasse The city is one step closer to getting started with its water system improvement project.
Discussion and plans for the improvements have been in the works for almost two years but have faced a series of delays — mostly related to gaining easements from property owners whose property would be affected by construction.
City Supervisor Mike Bertschinger told the Auxvasse Board of Aldermen Tuesday night that Allstate Engineering is set to send the city’s plans to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources this week for approval. The next step would be to solicit bids for the work.
The estimated $1.96 million project consists of adding a new well and facility — as mandated by DNR — upgrades to existing mains and new mains along Park, Harrison, Main, Mary and Walnut streets.
In other business, Mayor Kevin Phares said he wants to develop an emergency plan for the city — including what council members’ roles are in the case of a natural disaster or other emergency situation.
“One thing I would like to see us do as city officers is, if we have a major catastrophe, plan for an emergency meeting,” Phares said.
After several minutes of discussion, Assistant Police Chief Charles Anderson pointed out there is a local resource who could help.
“The county has an emergency management director and she will work with you to figure out what you need,” Anderson said. “My suggestion would be talk to Michelle Kidwell; it just makes sense to use that resource.”
Phares’ other suggestion was to move the public comments section of board of aldermen meetings — currently at No. 7 behind call to order, roll call, agenda approval, the clerk’s report and new and old business — closer to the start of the agenda so visiting members of the public would not have to wait through so much city business.
South Ward Alderman Terry Walker pointed out the board had experienced issues with such a move in the past.
“We tried that once before and we had problems with people not getting here at the beginning, and then were upset when they didn’t have the chance to speak because they weren’t here right at 6:30,” Walker said.
North Ward Alderwoman Stephanie Leverett had an alternative suggestion.
“What we could do is amend the agenda as needed,” Leverett suggested.
During the public comments portion of Tuesday night’s meeting, local resident Jerry Wilkerson raised a concern about the safety of children walking to and from Auxvasse Elementary School across Harrison Street/State Route E.
“I think you might give some consideration to a walkway or signs by Casey’s to the school,” Wilkerson said. “It is unsafe down there.”
Walker said the city’s hands are tied because roadway is the property of the Missouri Department of Transportation.
“We can’t do anything with it,” Walker said.
Wilkerson said he spoke with someone at the Department of Economic Development and they said MoDOT would be willing the give the city easements to put in sidewalks or a crosswalk, “but the city has to talk to them first.”
Bertschinger asked Wilkerson to get him the contact information for those individuals so he could look into the issue.
While at the podium, Wilkerson thanked the city’s maintenance crew for recent work around town that he said has made the city look better.
He also cracked a joke about his recent, controversial attempt to run for a North Ward seat on the board during the April municipal election. Wilkerson was eventually declared ineligible because he owed the city money for utility services on one of his properties.
“We had a little excitement at the election didn’t we?” Wilkerson said. “It was fun — I enjoyed it.”
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