After several years of preparation and preliminary work, Stephen Lin with Allstate Consultants had the news the Auxvasse Board of Aldermen has been waiting for during its meeting Tuesday night: The city is ready to move forward with its water improvement project.
"The majority of items are in to DNR (the Missouri Department of Natural Resources)," Lin said. "Basically we're at the point where the city can advertise for bids on the project."
Lin presented the aldermen with a preliminary project schedule that includes advertising for bids at the end of June, opening bids July 30 and approving a bid by Aug. 5. According to Lin's timeline, construction would begin Oct. 13 and end in June or July of 2015.
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, City Supervisor Mike Bertschinger suggested the board consider limiting the size of head stones allowed in the city's cemetery.
"We recently had a new monument erected in the cemetery. It's a beautiful piece, but it really raises questions about space," Bertschinger said.
He suggested standardizing the sizes to make it easier for maintenance personnel to navigate and perform duties without risk of damage to headstones.
Council members said they agreed with the concerns for space, but were uncertain if dictating size was a good idea.
"I hate to step on people's wanting to put in whatever they want," Alderman Mike Bickel said. "If you want to put in a great big stone, you have the right to do so."
Aldermen Terry Walker and Stephanie Leverett also expressed concern for those who have already purchased plots.
"My only problem is people who bought sites already without this limit," Walker said.
No decision was made during Tuesday night's meeting.
Another concern regarding regulations, or the lack thereof, was brought up during the public comments portion of the meeting.
Resident Lowell Davidson told the board he and his wife have grown concerned about lax rules regarding pool safety based on observations during their walks around town.
Davidson said he wants the city come up with some regulations for the installation and maintenance of pools.
"What I would like to see happen is the city to take control of it," he said. "That's what Mexico does."
Leverett said the city could do research into what kinds of pool regulations other cities in the area use.
In other business, Walker said during his report on the fire department that he took exception to some of the comments made during the board's May 27 meeting regarding the department going over budget on the purchase and outfitting of a new tanker.
"They're a volunteer organization, and for us to say we need to teach them a lesson, that's not right," Walker said. "Volunteers have taken money they have raised on their own time to pay for extras and paid for a truck the city owns. I don't think it's right. It's a truck for the city. They volunteer for the city."
Alderwoman Leverett apologized if anything she said was hurtful to the volunteers, but noted she had spoken out against using the volunteers' fundraising money to help pay for the truck.
"I never want our volunteer firefighters to feel like they're not appreciated," Leverett said.
Bickel said he stood by his comments about the firefighters getting the truck, questioning how the truck went so far over budget.
After some heated discussion, during which Walker argued the money was used "to get the truck in the best shape we could get it in," City Clerk Missy Hooks agreed to put together a detailed report on how the money for the truck was spent.
•Assistant Police Chief Charles Anderson said the department had sent a request to City Attorney Casey Clevenger to develop ordinances regarding window tints on vehicles, open containers, loud noises from vehicles and parking with the left side of the vehicle against the curb.
•Bickel said he felt the park next to City Hall "needs a lot of attention" and suggested each of the aldermen visit the park to see what they think needs to be done to improve it.
Katherine Cummins can be reached at (573) 826-2418 or firstname.lastname@example.org.