Hemp, Miller Street development top Sweet Springs Board of Aldermen's first meeting of 2020

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Sweet Springs Board of Aldermen held the first meeting of the year on Monday, Jan. 13, at Sweet Springs City Hall.

Several Boy Scouts and their leaders were present to observe the working of the city government.

Aldermen approved the consent agenda which included the minutes from the Dec. 10, 2019 meeting, financial report dated December 2019, and bills and transfers in the amount of $33, 575.57.

With no old business before the board, the meeting began with a presentation provided by Tony Gonzales and Matt Guier concerning the possibility of opening a hemp processing facility in Sweet Springs. Gonzales, a native of Oregon, stated he has worked for 12 years from state to state assisting farmers and those interested in agricultural hemp with the process of initiating compliant processing facilities. Gonzales told the board Sedalia was also being considered as a location for such a processing plant. Gonzales said the facility, once established, would employ 10-15 workers and would have the same “white coat” overall look as any pharmaceutical facility. Guier and Gonzales explained the proposed facility would be one in which oil would be extracted from the hemp plant and processed, after which the oils would be used in CBD products. Both men stressed the difference between hemp and marijuana and affirmed that absolutely no cannabis production would be done at the proposed facility.

Gonzales and Guier asked the board if there were any special procedures to be considered during the process of city application for the establishment of such an enterprise. Alderman Boyd Jones stated that he did not think this business would have different requirements to open and operate in Sweet Springs than for any other business. After some discussion, it was decided that Guier would keep the city informed as to how the process was moving forward.

Jane Perkins was present at the meeting and told the board she had purchased the old movie theater and the adjoining building on the west side of Miller Street, and that she is in the process of renovating the buildings for the purpose of providing locations for community involvement and an entertainment venue. Perkins informed the board that she would like to organize a Fiber Festival in Sweet Springs on April 24-26. She stated that such an event had been held in the city of Bethel, Mo., for years with very good attendance, and this year that community had decided not to host the event in the future. She asked the board for permission to close Miller and Turner streets from 5 p.m. on Friday, April 24, through 5 p.m. Sunday, April 26. Perkins said she hoped to have vendors set up on Turner and Miller streets. Perkins also stated she was working with the Stock Dog Association and hopes to have them come to do trials at the Sweet Springs rodeo arena that weekend. The event, Perkins said, will tentatively include a barbecue contest. Aldermen unanimously approved allowing the street closures for that weekend.

Alderman Jones, Planning and Zoning liaison, spoke to the board concerning issues that had, at times, occurred within the building permit process. Jones stated there had been times with a citation needing to be issued, and the Planning and Zoning administrator was not sure if he had the ability to have the police department issue a citation. Jones stated the form he had created would make the process easier, and explained the citation would be given upon the third notice of violation. Jones informed the board, “It is the current practice of the city and the board to have two notices by letter and plenty of time to correct the problem, just as is the procedure with other nuisance violations.”

Sweet Springs resident Mark Schmitt was present at the meeting and stated he felt the city has some issues with property lines. Schmitt stated that since the city is old, some variances should be given due to unclear locations of former alleyways and streets and he felt the issues should be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Jones explained such matters are usually resolved in that manner. After further discussion, Jones moved to add “Planning and Zoning Liaison” instead of the mayor’s name to the forms now in use. The motion died to lack of a second. Alderman Wyatt Lea moved to accept the form as presented. This motion was seconded by Alderman Jones and carried with a 2-1 majority with Alderman Heaper voting “no” and Alderman Looney abstaining.

Monthly reports began with the Public Works Department. Public Works Superintendent, Nate Lea was unable to attend the meeting, and in his absence, City Clerk Michelle Fuehring provided his monthly report to those attending. Fuehring stated the city had only received two bids for the new salt/sander machine. She said that Lea stated he would like to purchase the Saltdog from Key Hydraulic, in Sedalia, in the amount of $3,900.

Some discussion followed relative to the snow season likely being over, and Mayor Vaught questioned the wisdom of buying the piece of equipment at this late time in the season. Several of those present at the meeting commented on previous years when there had been snowfall as late in the season as March. Alderman Looney stated he had seen “as much as 17 inches of snow in March” in the city. The only other bid for the salting equipment had been received from Knapheide in the amount of $4,475. A motion was made and carried 4-0 to purchase the Saltdog in the amount of $3,900.

Other reports from Public Works included monthly water tests, replacement of a valve at the West Street lift station, and repair of a water main break on Highway 127.

Police Chief Tammy Johnson stated the recently ordered Tasers had arrived and her department would be going through the training/certification process. Johnson also stated the new police car is scheduled to arrive within the week.

Vaught praised the Public Works department and stated they did “a great job” with the streets during the “last batch of winter weather.”

Alderman Lea said he would like to see other groups in the area apply for the Transient Guest Tax funds. Lea stated he felt it would be nice to promote new events in town.

As there was no other business, the board went into closed session to deal with personnel and legal issues. There were no votes taken in closed session.

The next meeting of the Board of Alderman is scheduled for 6 p.m., Feb. 10, at the Sweet Springs City Hall.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: