Pyle Named New Finance Director for City of Sedalia
Tuesday night's City Council meeting led off with a public hearing to officially close out the $500,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) that was used to help build the new Olen Howard Workforce Innovation Center on the SFCC campus.
The hearing was designed to let the public know what the proceeds of the “pass-through” grant were used for, and to allow for public comment.
Community Development Director John Simmons was in charge of the hearing. He said that Phase I of the project is now complete and the necessary audits are done.
“Back in 2020, the City sponsored a CDBG grant with SFCC for the building of a 35,500-square-foot technical training facility to house both its current welding and machine tool programs. They increased their specialty training programs by over 200 percent. Phase I was completed using funds from Workforce Training Initiative, the CDBG grant. That was the shell of the building, and finishing 20,885 square feet for the welding programs, with 11,750 square feet of lab space, over 9,000 square feet for seven classrooms and other learning spaces for workforce development training,” Simmons said.
A grand opening was held June 9.
“It was an honor and pleasure to work with the college on this CDBG grant and it provides a great benefit to our community, not only to the people that are being trained, but to our industries in the community that will employ those folks,” Simmons concluded.
Council approved the minutes of the P & Z Commission's April 6 meeting.
Under Finance and Administration, Council approved an ordinance amending the “personal appearance & dress code policy regarding jewelry and tattoos.”
Staff recommended an update to the City's policy. Currently, department heads need to make a recommendation to the City Administrator on a case-by-case basis.
Staff proposed that action can be taken only when the body art or jewelry is deemed offensive or interferes with the employee's job function.
First Ward Councilman Jake Robinson recommended that the City purchase $2500 worth of new artwork for display at the Municipal Building.
A budget amendment was “pulled together” due to the fact that it was not a budgeted item.
However, it was quickly shot down by other Council members, including Third Ward Councilwoman Rhiannon Foster, who spoke first.
“Nothing against the artists, but most of my calls concern potholes and sidewalks,” Foster said.
“I agree with Councilwoman Foster,” said Second Ward Councilwoman and Mayor Pro Tem Tina Boggess. “We've had other art on display here at City Hall and we've not purchased it. What's going to keep others from coming and saying 'Why buy his, when you didn't buy mine?'.... I think we can do something else with that twenty-five hundred,” Boggess said.
“Councilwoman Boggess took the words right out of my mouth. $2500 – that's two tons of asphalt, and that's half a block of sidewalk,” First Ward Councilman Tom Oldham responded. “I agree that they're gorgeous pieces and the artists are fantastic, but I think we need to prioritize some items in the budget due to inflation,” Oldham said. He added that he didn't like the idea of the City purchasing artwork, but it can't fix potholes or roads, I don't think this is the appropriate time to do that.”
Third Ward Councilman Bob Cross noted that “if someone wants to purchase artwork and donate it to the City, I think it'd be great. Plus, I think you can even take that off your income tax,” Cross said.
Fourth Ward Councilman Steve Bloess that there is a process during budget talks that prioritize the City's spending.
“I agree with Councilwoman Boggess. The selection process shouldn't be an individual council person, it should be a jury or a group,” he said.
A roll call vote was then taken with seven no votes and one yes vote from Robinson.
Retrieving Freedom and Craft Beer Cellar have submitted an application to host an event downtown in the 700 block of South Ohio, and the 100 block of West Seventh Street, and to close those two blocks to traffic for the duration of the event, which includes suspension of the City's open container law.
Staff explained to them that closing the north intersection of Broadway and Ohio would require MoDOT approval, and that was likely not going to happen.
Staff then recommended closing a half block of Ohio from 7th to the alleyway instead.
The application also requested volunteer security at their event.
That idea would most likely not be passed by Council, Staff explained. Paid police officers have been the norm at past downtown events such as this, and Staff recommended the continuation of this precedent.
Retrieving Freedom subsequently agreed to cover the cost of paid security, rather than volunteer. Also, previous events like this required checking ID of participants to ensure legal age for consumption of alcohol, as well as issuing wristbands. Also, special plastic containers need to be used during the event by wristband holders to ensure compliance within the designated area.
The vote was seven yes, with Councilman Oldham abstaining due to his affiliation with Retrieving Freedom.
The event, “Wings For Wags” is slated for Sept. 24 from 8 a.m., to 9 p.m.
Jessica Pyle has been named the City's new Finance Director after the departure of Dawn Jennings. Jennings came aboard in March of 2020.
The Finance Director also serves as the City's Treasurer, it was noted. Insurance bond coverage is purchased for each finance director due to the level of responsibility the job entails, such as signature authority for the City's bank accounts.
The Office of Homeland Security is making federal grant funds available to conduct assessments of cyber security vulnerabilities for the City. The grant amount is $15,000 and Council approved of the City applying for it.
IT Director Monte Richardson has been on extended medical leave. Prior to his leave, he proposed updating the City's Microsoft products. The newer versions are desirable as the older ones are being phased out and support is not available.
With Richardson's return, it is hoped that a new quote under the state's procurement program can be obtained.
A budget amendment was approved in the amount of $35,554.21 for Microsoft software upgrades.
Under Public Works, Public Works Director Brenda Ardrey led a discussion concerning requests for lower water & sewer rates for non-profit organizations.
The non-profit, Heard House, which is located in a residential structure, pays a base monthly rate of $53.71 for sewer service. The base monthly rate for residential customers is $13.13. The Heard House requested they be considered a residential customer.
City Administrator Kelvin Shaw warned that Council "cannot make decisions in a vacuum" and that any decision made "will have a ripple effect." He noted that water rates are set by connection size. "The size of the sewer line connection determines the maximum capacity," Shaw told the Council.
First Ward Councilman Oldham that the issue involves a lot of gray area, adding that he believes there are about 27 types of non-profits. As an example, he noted that there are commercial businesses downtown with residents living right above them.
A water rate study that has been in progress for well over a year was noted by Ardrey. Councilmen Oldham and Bloess stated that the study should be completed before any discussion about making exceptions occurs. The issue can then be revisited.
First Ward Councilman Jack Robinson disagreed.
A study to show how a new wastewater treatment plant will impact the stream it will discharge to was approved by Council.
The new plant, which will replace the old North Wastewater Treatment Plant currently in use, will need the proper permits to operate. The study will be added to the list of duties currently being performed by an engineering firm, Burns and McDonnell, that the City hires. The cost of the study is $33,000.
Council approved the task order.
A $24,785.54 contract with Duke's Root Control was approved by Council for chemical control of roots in the City's sewer system.
Council approved the application for a $12,000 grant for a traffic study on Engineer Ave., from the North City Limits at Reine Road to East 7th.
Serghei and Karina Comerzan have requested City utility services for property located outside the city limits at 3515 Ashland Lane in Covered Bridge Estates. Staff has negotiated an agreement that includes the perpetual right to annex the property if it ever becomes contiguous to the City.
Five bids were received for the replacement of the water main along Locust Drive. The water line is beyond its useful life and often needs repair. The low bidder was Orr Wyatt Streetscapes from Raytown with a bid of $144,815, which is over the budgeted amount of $110,515.
Staff will monitor the total budget and if this cannot be made up in other projects, the City will develop a recommendation to Council later this year.
Council approved applying for a $10,000 TRIM grant once again.
The grant allows for funds to employ a specialist to inventory trees in the City's right-of-ways and City parks, along with a report concerning maintenance needs to keep the trees healthy.
Under Community Development, the city has received a special use permit to allow for an animal crematorium.
There is a barrier that was discovered during the process, however. Current City code only allows for human cremation.
So City Staff, along with legal counsel and the Planning & Zoning Commission scheduled a public hearing, then P & Z voted unanimously to recommend adding animal crematoriums to the section that allows for consideration for a special use permit.
The City received a request for a special use permit from Chad McNeal for an animal crematorium to be located at 1520 West Springs Street. Council can now consider the request.
The City received Covid Relief Funding from the federal government, as well as a donation from Robert and Barbara Hayden for a mural to be painted on the side of a building at 209 South Ohio. The alley has since been resurfaced and plans are under way to add more lighting to make it more user-friendly and to showcase the mural, designed and painted by local artist Stefanie Azier-Sattler.
The mural includes a P40 "Flying Tiger" and a B2 Spirit Stealth Bomber.
The Hoeffert family, who owns the building, has requested that the alley be named “Freedom Alley.”
The City of Sedalia was awarded a $5,000 Marketing Heritage and Cultural Tourism in Rural Missouri grant six months ago from Missouri Humanities through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, also called the COVID-19 Stimulus Package or American Rescue Plan, Pub.L. 117–2, is a US $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed by the 117th United States Congress.
Under Public Safety, Council approved the ordering of four new patrol cars for the SPD at a cost of $167,596 and a Jeep Ram from W-K at a cost of $42,270 for the SFD, for a total cash layout of $209,866.
A budget amendment will appropriate the funds, even though it is not expected that the new cars will be delivered within the next fiscal year. If they are not delivered by then, an encumbrance will expire and Council will reinstate the budget next year. In the meantime, a request for Sedalia to get on the build schedule with the manufacturer means the City will eventually receive four new patrol vehicles.
Council previously approved the purchase of two used Dodge Durangos from the Kansas Highway Patrol at a cost of $58,200.
Supply chain disruptions are the main reason Sedalia and many other jurisdictions are having trouble ordering new patrol vehicles, it was noted.
Council approved the purchase of $13,974.55 in communications equipment for the SPD. It was declared an emergency buy in accordance with procurement policies. One mobile communications link was apparently struck by lightning and is inoperable.
Sedalia Police Chief Matt Wirt explained that one of four signal repeaters, located on a tower at Skyline Elementary, took a substantial lighting strike in June, wiping out the electronics.
Councilman Bloess inquired about asking insurance to pay for it, and Administrator Shaw responded that he did check on that, and the amount to fix it came in well under the $25,000 deductible amount.
Chief Wirt further explained that the SPD entered into an agreement with Sedalia School District 200 four or five years ago to place communication devices at Skyline. It covers the southern portion of Sedalia, including Smith-Cotton High School, and the Glenwood and Brentwood subdivisions.
The $13,874.55 cost includes the firm's employees to climb the tower and replace the electronics that were fried by the lightning strike.
And finally, under Public Safety, Council approved an increase in the line item for vehicle repairs for the SPD due to several unanticipated repairs in the department. Most of the repairs are due to insured accidents, and most were not the fault of the officers.
Insurance is covering most of the cost, but the line item for the expenditure is being depleted, it was noted.
The increase amounts to $7,192.36, which represents the insurance deductibles on four vehicles, along with a major repair to a fifth one.
Mayor Andrew Dawson was appointed to a two-year term on the Sedalia Area Tourism Committee (expires Dec. 31, 2024), and Erica Eisenmenger was re-appointed to the SATC as a motel representative. Her three-year term will expire Dec. 31, 2025.
Mayor Dawson noted at the start of meeting that anyone who wishes to address the Council during the Good & Welfare portion of the meeting may do so, but need to use the sign-up sheet located just inside the Council Chamber doors.
The mayor also explained at the start of the meeting that the Municipal Building's Wi-Fi service was down due to an issue with the firewall. However, Tuesday night's meeting was available via phone line, he noted.
This was Third Ward Councilman Lucas Richardson's last Council meeting, as he is resigning his position due to moving outside of the city limits. His replacement has not been officially announced.
Richardson received a plaque from Mayor Andrew Dawson after a hearty round of applause from the rest of Council after the mayor read a lengthy list of Richardson's accomplishments during his tenure.
Immediately thereafter, Richardson was appointed to serve on the CBCD Board.
Council approved four new liquor licenses and two renewals:
*Brad Wikstrom dba Craft Beer Cellar, 700 South Ohio, for a special event and sidewalk consumption event, WIngs For Wags, on Sept. 24 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., $65
*Cherie Beltran dba Boys & Girls Club of West Central Missouri, 3100 Aaron Ave., for a picnic license for a Casino Night fund-raiser on Oct. 13, $37.50
*Katelin Hladik dba St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Parish for a Bazaar dinner and fund-raiser on Oct. 1 from 5 to 11 p.m., $37.50
*Kristy Long dba Wildlife Ridge Winery, 34751 Miller Road in Smithton, for a Roark Wedding at The Foundry 324 on Oct. 8 from 9 a.m. to midnight, $15
*Daniela Silva dba Morelos Taqueria Bakery & Grocery, 125 E. 16th, for liquor by the drink and Sunday Sales, $750
*Carrie Wright dba Dollar General #19535, 4215 E. Broadway, for packaged liquor, $150
Council then adjourned to closed-door session to discuss legal advice, Real Estate and negotiated contracts.
In the top photo: Jessica Pyle was introduced as the new Finance Director for the City of Sedalia at Tuesday night's City Council meeting.