Purdy aldermen pass 11 ordinances to update books

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Purdy City Council met twice in March and passed 11 new ordinances along with making plans for additional revisions.

Mayor Ron Dutra said the ordinance changes stemmed from cases that have come before the municipal court. In many cases, the city had no ordinances to address specific offenses, in which case prosecution transferred to Barry County Associate Circuit Court in Cassville. The city did not retain fines from cases not prosecuted in municipal court.

In other cases, changes updates standing laws to conform with revised Missouri laws. Definitions specified what constituted an offense in several ordinances.

Ordinances included:

* Defining stealing property or services from another "by means of deceit or coercion when the value of the property or services was less than $500." Conviction carries a penalty of a fine not more than $500 and imprisonment of up to 90 days, or both.

* Established receiving stolen property as an offense prosecutable in municipal court.

* "Financial exploitation of the elderly and disabled" defined "deception" with five examples and "intimidation." Claiming to not know the victim was elderly or disabled would not be allowed as a defense.

* An ordinance defining "fraudulent use of a credit or debit device" specified that offenses under $500 would become misdemeanors, prosecutable in municipal court.

* An ordinance on failure to return rental property would apply to leased or rented personal property and rent-to-own contracts. A time frame was specified. Misdemeanor cases would involve material valued at less than $100.

* Passing bad checks became an offense prosecutable in municipal court. An offender would have 10 days to clear a debt after receiving actual notice in writing about failure to pay, prior to the start of prosecution. Bad check cases presently go to county court for prosecution.

* An ordinance on shoplifting defined the taking of products unlawfully and authorized a merchant to detain any party on reasonable grounds for the purpose of investigation. Concealment of unpurchased merchandise will be regarded as intention to commit a wrongful act.

* The sale of materials that can be used to manufacture methamphetamine will be limited in quantity by both weight and quantities limited to two doses. Dutra said the ordinance allowed prosecution of a merchant knowingly selling products in higher quantities.

* "Hindering prosecution" was defined and established as a prosecutable offense.

* Refusal to identify a witness became a prosecutable offense, particularly where physical injury or substantial property damage is involved. Filing a false report falls under this ordinance.

* "Interfering with the legal process," including the serving of warrants or any person authorized by the law to serve legal process was established as an ordinance violation.

Another 18 ordinances will come before council members in April. Dutra said Police Chief Jackie Lowe has directions to prioritize the updating of ordinances and keep bringing revisions to aldermen until all laws are updated.

In other action, aldermen agreed to purchase a new desk for City Clerk Debbie Redshaw. A custom horseshoe-shaped unit will come from C and L Cabinets, of Purdy, for $2,850. Aldermen looked at several bids before choosing C and L for the price and the option of customizing the product.

In department reports, Chief Lowe reported officers made two warrant arrests in February. Officer Russ Nichol went to Greene County to transport J.L. Ray, of Ash Grove, who had been arrested on a city warrant. Officers dealt with several reports involving dogs.

The patrol car had the new in-car camera installed. The electronic visual display on the dashboard was also replaced after malfunctioning and running backwards.

Public works superintendent Teddy McIntire reported a variety of maintenance activities. Only 68 percent of water pumped in the city reached meters in February.

Lowe and Nichol updated council members on a meeting of the Purdy Festival Committee. Lowe said the committee would like to have a car show on Commercial and Third streets, consolidate the food booths by the high school and block less of Highway C.

Lowe wanted to use barricades on the highway that would prove more difficult to move and to keep Gabby Gibbons Drive open all the way around the school.

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