Council takes on full agenda without mayor

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

On Monday night, the Cassville City Council voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Mayor Bill Hill.

Alderman Terry Heinz, mayor pro tem, opened the meeting with the announcement that Hill had turned in a letter of resignation. Hill's letter offered the following short statement: "Effective immediately, I am resigning my position as a member of the City of Cassville Board of Alderman."

Hill has served as mayor since he was appointed to the position in December of 2011. Prior to accepting the position of mayor, Hill served as north ward alderman and mayor pro tem.

With Hill's resignation, the city is operating with only three aldermen. As of press time, the council had not announced plans for filling the positions.

After accepting the consent agenda, the council was addressed by Girl Scouts Morgan Boley and Elizabeth Phaneuf regarding the establishment of a dog park within the city limits.

"A dog park would be an asset to residents and visitors," said Phaneuf. "Dogs need to run and exercise. Excessive barking and other behavioral problems are often solved with exercise."

Boley's mother, Michelle Boley, explained that Girl Scout Troop #70623 is currently learning about community service by volunteering at Haven of the Ozarks.

"Through their volunteer work, they have learned that there is a lack of volunteers," said Michelle Boley. "The girls feel a dog park would bring people of like minds together and build up a community of dog lovers in the area."

Kenny Schieler, Cassville Parks maintenance foreman, has provided the Girl Scouts with information on some of the sites they have considered for the proposed dog park. Those sites include an area in the Cassville City Park near the Greenway Trail and a location behind the Cassville Aquatic Park near the yard waste site. They have also looked at the site of the batting cages in the city park.

Michelle Boley said that the troop would be relying on donations and sponsorships to establish and operate the dog park. The Girl Scouts will offer volunteer hours to clean and maintain the park.

"A dog park is a safe, fenced-in area for dogs to exercise, play and socialize," said Phaneuf.

The Girl Scouts said that the park would need to be fenced with five-foot chain link or other fencing material. It should have two entryways, shaded areas, water, trash cans, dispensers for doggie bags and benches.

If a dog park is established, the Scouts hope to see Haven of the Ozarks use the facility for local adoption days.

The Scouts also spoke briefly about a possible dog day at the pool. This event would be held on the weekend following the closure of the pool at the end of the swim season. During dog days at the pool, pet owners are invited to bring their animals to the pool to swim. The event is often used as a fundraiser.

Carolyn Bishop, Cassville Downtown Partnership chair, asked to speak during the meeting. She reported that a DREAM Initiative presentation regarding downtown revitalization will be given on April 27.

"That will address the ball park area and their vision for that area," said Bishop. "I invite you to attend that meeting and see what they have in mind because that might impact what you would like to do."

Heinz said that the council would take the presentation under consideration.

During the departmental reports, Steve Walensky, public works director, expressed appreciation to the Cassville citizens for being patient while Utility Services completes maintenance on the water tower on Highway 248. He also reported that the maintenance should be completed by April 16.

Darelyn Cooper, finance officer, provided an update on the Certificates of Participate (COP) funding, which the council approved in August of 2010. The city originally received $1,003,000 through the sale of the certificates.

Currently, $340,558.76 of the COP funding has not been used, but $25,738.56 has been earmarked for the bypass elimination project. The remaining portion of the funding, $314,820.20, must be used by August.

At a previous meeting, the aldermen suggested the remaining funds be used for the meter replacement project. Walensky plans to create a request for proposals for the project, which will be presented to the council at a future meeting.

Noelle Harmon, city clerk, reported that the city-wide clean-up will begin on April 30. The public works department will collect yard waste and Allied Waste will pick up extra trash items during the week. Residents who have large items are asked to call the city hall at 847-4441 to schedule a pick-up.

The city currently has several openings on its airport board, parks board, planning and zoning commission and board of adjustments. Harmon presented the council with a form that interested citizens will be asked to complete in order to be considered for a board or commission appointment.

Harmon also reported that she has negotiated an extension with the Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) regarding the city's Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS) rating. The city now has until July 1, 2013, to make changes in order to retain the current BCEGS rating.

The council also discussed the city's website.

Harmon reported that several residents have called city hall regarding the removal of the website. Harmon contacted MDC regarding restoring the site and learned that the website can be restored using a password or by resetting the current password.

Lynette Dilbeck, city economic development director, who is the only city employee who knows the password, is on vacation this week. Harmon was unable to reach her. Alderman Darrell Ledenham said that Hill directed Dilbeck to remove the website.

Hennigan and Heinz instructed Harmon to have MDC reset the password and restore the website.

In other business, the Cassville City Council:

* Approved a fireworks sales permit for Jake's Fireworks, Inc.

* Approved the following expenditures: $502, tires from Grande Tire; $2,237, backflow prevention valve for the Cassville Aquatic Park from Harry Cooper Supply in Springfield; and $4,187.60, diesel fuel.

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