Purdy seeks alderman after resignation

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Council approves tractor purchase, fireworks schedule

Purdy City Council will likely see a new member when it meets next week, following a resignation announced at the June meeting.

Mayor Bo Prock announced that Austin Hammen resigned due to difficulty attending meeting. Re-elected in 2019 to a second term, Hammen represented the West Ward.

“I appreciate him saying so rather than leaving us hanging,” Prock said.

The mayor announced plans to interview prospects then “see where we go.”

A special meeting for candidate interviews was called for 6 p.m. on July 9.

Council members closed out their grant with the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program at their June meeting and purchased a new tractor for the public works department.

Sue Bacorn, who wrote the grant application for the city and administered its use, brought in the final report on the $1,250,000 grant. She reported the project, to build a sewer main to Monett, also had a $747,000 loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program.

In all, the endeavor closed at a cost of $3,204,000, well under the initial projection of $4.6 million. Clerk Debbie Redshaw said money that did not go into the construction project had remained available for the city to purchase related equipment, such as a letter to clean out sewer obstructions and a locator, neither of which had been in the city’s budget.

Public works foreman Lonnie Lowery reported fighting “a big soft clay spot” extending for 100 feet and 20 feet wide” under the pavement on Front Street, extending to Highway C. He said he would have to dig out the compromised soil and replace it before the road would stabilize.

Whitley Nipp from Crown Power and Equipment, the bidder with the preferred tractor during last month’s bid opening, made a presentation for optional equipment requested for the 75C Case tractor. Aldermen approved the purchase with a 10-foot rotary cutter, a brush hog, a Beacon grappler and hoses for $64,565. The order was expected to take three weeks to fill.

Council members agreed to put the old tractor and both brush hogs the city now owns, one of which is too wide for the city’s jobs, up for sale and accept bids at the July 8 meeting.

The council gave its blessing to Ken and Julie Terry holding their annual fireworks display on July 3, and to block Business Highway 37 at the junction with Highway C for the occasion. Festivities will begin at 5 p.m. Aldermen increased their donation for fireworks from $300 to $500.

The discharge of fireworks will be allowed through Sunday, July 7, between the hours of 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. Police Chief Jackie Lowe said anyone caught discharging fireworks at buildings, people, animals or vehicles would be subject to having their fireworks confiscated and issued a citation.

Aldermen discussed awarding an additional contract for mowing the fish pond, highway right-of-ways and state right-of-ways by Dollar General and the Bunnell property. Hearing the work took one city employee one day, Prock declared the city would not relinquish the task and keep it in the duties of city workers.

Redshaw reported Leonard and Myra McGee, who came to the city seeking sewer service, had withdrawn their request. Aldermen had asked the McGees to have their property separated into a different lot that they could annex into the city, separate from the rest of their farm. Aldermen agreed with Prock that to offer utilities to out-of-town residents, those property owners would have to annex into the city.

On a similar issue, property owner Michael Guzman reported he told his neighbors the council would consider taking over maintenance of their road, which has deteriorated badly, if the subdivision, already receiving water service, would annex into the city. None chose to attend the meeting to further the discussion. After aldermen adopted a budget, calling for doubling water rates for out-of-town customers, Prock suggested the residents might reconsider.

The new budget, adopted by the council, included no planned capital improvements. Redshaw reported that unlike the water and sewer departments, now facing steep rate increases, the sanitation program was supporting itself at $12.50 a month. Aldermen agreed to adjust the budget as necessary as the year progresses, especially in light of income projections on the water and sewer rate increases.

Discussion of the water and sewer rates will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the July 15 meeting. Public input is expected.

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