Technology hiccups left a recent Mokane City Council split over two weeks — it began Oct. 5, ending abruptly when the free Zoom session ended and picked back up Monday evening.
Over the course of both meetings, the council discussed ongoing projects related to the city's sewer and water systems and recovery from 2019 flooding, as well as potential new ordinances related to grass, grease traps and housing.
Mayor Pro Tem Chad Booher said the grease trap ordinance is among the most important.
Grease traps help ensure grease from commercial kitchens doesn't enter the sewer system and cause damage.
"The school, nursing home, bar and those commercial kitchens need to have an exterior grease trap," Booher said.
Technically, Mokane has a grease trap ordinance, but it has not been enforced.
"Until we started this administration, it wasn't enforced, and that's one of the things (the Missouri Department of Natural Resources) said we have to enforce," Booher said. "Our ordinance was written in the the '80s the fees and fines are from the '80s. They're not up to par with what the economy is now."
Booher said he has talked with DNR and the Callaway County Health Department, and they will support the city's efforts to enforce the new ordinance once it is passed.
In other business, Mokane is also looking into a yard ordinance to change how the city deals with overgrown grass. Mokane is looking to Fulton and other communities to see how they deal with lawns that don't meet community expectations.
Over the past months, the council has also brought up the issue of unsafe houses.
"We've been talking for quite a while now about houses that are unsafe and in disrepair — not fit for human habitation," Booher said.
To address this, the city plans to bring on a housing inspector to come in on a case-by-case basis. It is also putting together a draft ordinance to deal with the issue.
"Hopefully, by next month, we'll have more information about a housing inspector and these ordinances revised to where we can enforce them," Booher said.
In addition to discussing these potential ordinances, the council also voted to approve a request for qualifications for an engineer to help update the water system — a project that has been ordered by DNR and that the city has been working on for a while.
"We're actually going to be bringing in an engineer in the next couple of months," Booher said.
The water and sewer systems are in need of upgrades. The city has been making progress on both — adding water meters, updating sewer lift stations and hiring a water tester.
In an effort related to the 2019 floods, the city is also working to clean up a creek in town. The city has already removed brush. Now it is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to secure the funds to hire someone to remove silt and rock build-up. This should help reduce flood risks.
Additionally, the city has decided to introduce monthly yard clean-up days.
On the first Saturday of each month, Mokane residents will be able to bring yard debris — not trash — to the dump.
More information about other city business from the Oct. 5 City Council meeting is included in the Oct. 6 article "Pioneer Smith Cemetery cleanup uncovers Mokane history."