Purdy City Council approves street upgrades
Bids rejected for Community Building changes, delaying move
The Purdy City Council moved ahead with street improvements and approved the city's annual property tax levy during its regular August meeting.
Blevins Asphalt won the bid for street improvements totaling $132,122. Work included resurfacing Washington from Fourth Street, Commercial Street to Jefferson, Mitchell and Archibald streets, and a parking lot in front of city hall.
Aldermen opted for Blevins over Hutchens Construction though the Hutchens bid was less, some of the bid specifications did not match. Hutchens did not offer to tend to the edges of the road, while Hutchens did. Hutchens bid providing a quarter inch of leveling on Commercial Street, whereas Blevins reported a quarter inch would not do the job, and bid it as three-quarters of an inch. Blevins offered to start within a month, as part of a series of jobs in Wheaton and Monett. Hutchens projected up to three months before work could start.
Mayor Bo Prock said Hutchens had not made good on its last project in town. Before he would consider the firm, he wanted issues from the previous job resolved. Council members preferred the faster start date and the convenience Blevins offered on the road edging in making its choice.
Public Works Supervisor Lonnie Lowery also asked for bids for resurfacing the annexed roadway from Highway C south from the supermarket. That quote came in at around $211,000. Lowery said he would use it for budgeting for next year. Public works crews had patched some holes at the south end of the road, but the general sense was the road had deteriorated so far that it would have to be entirely rebuilt. Prock said he only requested $100,000 in the budget for roads this year, forcing a dip into other funds to cover the Blevins contract. The quote would provide an explanation for those anticipating faster work, he added.
Lowery also reported the leaking fire hydrant by the school turned out not to be the hydrant itself. After digging it out, crews found a bad joint fitting caused the chronic leak. The hydrant, purchased for a six-inch line, could go to Commercial and Washington. A smaller hydrant for that four-inch line, serving only two houses, would suffice, he added.
Clerk Debbie Redshaw reported the city had refunded deposits on water accounts. She had gone through all the accounts and credited the deposits on the latest bills, thus reducing the bite from the new higher rates.
Council members approved the city's property tax levy for the 2019 tax cycle. Assessed valuation of real estate in the city increased by approximately 3 percent. The levy, to correspond with the state's Hancock Amendment, decreased from $.4011 per $100 of assessed property to $.3972. Consequently, if all taxpayers submitted their amount due, the city would receive $20,890 for the city's general fund, up $390 from the previous year.
Purdy has no personal property tax, having repealed that in return for voters authorizing an additional sales tax a number of years ago.
Council members rejected bids for a new heating and air conditioning system and for replacing the Community Center's rear wall, putting up new doors and other changes needed as part of converting the structure into a new city hall. Prock said the combined bids ran approximately $40,000 more than he expected. He suggested breaking the project into smaller pieces to move the clerk and staff in the short term, and to deal with renovations accommodating a move of the police department later.
At the recommendation of City Attorney Darlene Parrigon, the council approved a new service agreement with Skyler Bowman, the new Barry County collector. Parrigon said the previous agreement with Janice Varner, who resigned, needed to be updated with her successor's name.
Prock scheduled discussion in September over the possibility of switching phone service from Windstream to voice over internet service. Redshaw said the change would reduce the city's monthly bill by approximately $100 a month. Prock warned the city may still face a nominal monthly bill because Windstream owns the last mile of phone lines. Redshaw agreed to research the issue more.
Council members agreed to buy tires and alignment for the public works department's red truck, and four tires for Russ Nichols' police car. They also agreed to send Lowery to a training session in Stockton and to send Nick Mercer, the fire district chief and city emergency management director, to an emergency management meeting in Joplin.
Prock said he would like to see Mercer take advantage of every training opportunity.
“Purdy is so under prepared as a whole, our area, that if anything happens here, it's going to be really bad,” Prock said. “We're done active shooter drills at the school along with the fire department, so they know what to do. The council needs to meet with the fire department and the school first. I felt [new school superintendent] Mindi Gates needed time to get her feet under her with school starting. She's come back and asked for a meeting. All that is going to happen.”
In department reports, Police Chief Jackie Lowe reported the department has been working for over a year to get a stock for a rifle obtained from Fort Leonard Wood. Alderman Scott Redshaw suggested a local source that may be able to supply to part at low cost.
Lowe reported making two arrests during the month. One came when a subject was caught shoplifting at Country Corner and turned out to have an outstanding felony warrant pending. In another case, a woman was knocking on doors in the trailer park who fled into a house when police arrived. She has an outstanding Arkansas warrant against her and what Lowe described as “a meth pipe” in her pocket. Interestingly, she fled into a house where a man inside ran out the back door and hid in a corn crib. That man, it turned out, had no outstanding warrants and it was unclear why he fled.
Council members ended their meeting with a protracted discussion on whether or not to update the trailer park ordinance. At one point, Clerk Redshaw reported, a past council approved an exemption from the ordinance from the requirement to have skirting on all trailers, and to have it all the same color. The newer trailer park owner said he would like to bring new trailers onto his concrete pads.
Prock questioned to what extent the city council had any business telling property owners how to make their property “pretty.” He said a general description of keeping trailers “in good condition” was too vague to make good law. Requirements for skirting should specify having no holes, and then it could specify having a uniform color. Prock urged council members not to pass regulations benefiting one party and not another. The skirting issue appeared different for single wide units, that often move in and out of trailer parks. Double wide units, on the other hand, are meant to be permanently placed, and were deemed more appropriate for having consistent cosmetic appearance requirements.
Aldermen voted 4-0 to strike one section from the trailer park ordinance and direct Parrigon to write replacement language for consideration at the September meeting.