City to move forward on First Street project

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Cassville aldermen voted Monday night to proceed with a major street improvement project on one of the city's busiest roadways.

Based on preliminary cost projections, the city will spend just over $425,000 on improving First Street from Main to Highway 37. The council's vote to go ahead with the project was made after aldermen received a preliminary engineering report from Roger Berg with Scott Consulting Engineers, of Springfield, who will be serving as project engineers.

Initial plans include widening First Street to 30 feet for the whole length of the roadway. Currently, the street varies in width from 21 to 28 feet in places. Curb and guttering will also be added on both sides of the roadway, and the street will get a complete asphalt overlay.

The project will also include some storm drainage work to control water run-off that currently flows over the roadway in at least three sections.

The city has already included $300,000 in its 2008 budget for the project, but at the May 19 council meeting, aldermen asked Berg to prepare cost estimates to do the project "the right way." Earlier discussion by the council involved paring down the project to stay within budget constraints.

The new cost estimates will require the city to come up with approximately $125,000 in additional funding to complete the entire First Street project. City Administrator Mike Hayslip told the council that the city's finance team was "confident" the city had the money to complete the project.

"We can't afford to delay this project," said Hayslip. "These prices are based on today's prices. This project will be a significant improvement over what we have now. It will create a uniform street and channel storm water to a proper place."

Three First Street property owners, who included Ruby Reese, Bob Mizer and Gordon Roller, attended Monday night's council meeting in support of the project. Additional public input will be sought by the city once the project reaches the design phase. At that time, the city will host a public information meeting to present plans and receive feedback.

The council will be meeting in special session on June 9 to approve an ordinance authorizing Mayor Tracy Holle to enter into a contract with Scott Consulting Engineers to spearhead the project. This will mark the project's official start.

City aldermen also voted Monday night to approve an ordinance that will amend the city code to address nuisance properties within one-half mile of the city limits.

City Attorney Don Cupps was present at Monday night's council meeting to answer questions the aldermen had about the proposed ordinance. According to Cupps, the new ordinance was drafted to match state statutes, which give cities the authority to enforce their nuisance ordinance up to one-half mile outside the city.

Cupps explained that a nuisance was defined legally as the use of property in such a way that it adversely affects adjoining property.

Alderman Pete Landstad said he understood the intent of the ordinance but did not agree with the half-mile distance.

"If a person's property adjoins the city, maybe I can see it," said Landstad. "The city shouldn't be telling people (outside the city) what to do with their land."

Cupps told the council upon questioning that nuisance enforcement would be pursued at the aldermen's discretion.

"It's always up the council as to what you want to abate as a nuisance, but the city doesn't want to be inconsistent," said Cupps.

The council voted three to one to approve the new ordinance. Aldermen Dennis Baker, Sue Brattin and Terry Heinz voted in favor of the measure and Landstad voted against it.

In other business, the council awarded a bid for water and sewer service line repair along First Street to Water Products in the amount of $8,349.20, which was the low bid. These materials will be used by city crews to replace sewer and water services along First Street in preparation for the street improvement project.

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