Sweet Springs Board of Aldermen talk taxes, trout fishery

Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Following various street repairs earlier in the year, loose gravel has become a problem on Sweet Springs city streets. City officials discuss options for a clean up at monthly Alderman meeting.
Lee Jasper/Democrat-News

Sweet Springs Board of Alderman address city revitalization, Transient Guest Tax and possible trout fishery

The Sweet Springs Board of Aldermen held its regular monthly meeting Monday, Oct. 14.

Aldermen present were Wyatt Lea, Boyd Jones, Rodney Heaper, Larry Looney.

Consent agenda was the first item of discussion and included the minutes from the Sept. 9 meeting, financial report dated September 2019, and bills and transfers in the amount of $42, 557.30. Motion was made and seconded to approve the consent agenda with the motion carried 4-0.

During the meeting, Albert Hartman, with Sweet Springs Revitalization, presented information concerning the upcoming Winter Weekend which will be held Dec 14. Hartman provided the board with a flyer that will be displayed for the event at area locations. Hartman informed the board that the Oktoberfest the Revitalization group had planned had been cancelled due to lack of vendor availability due to late notice of the event. Robert Ekstrand informed the board that plans for next year’s Oktoberfest were already underway. Hartman asked the board if the Transient Guest Tax monies that had been marked for Oktoberfest could be transferred to fund Winter Weekend and the Lighted Christmas Parade. After some discussion, Alderman Heaper stated he felt that the Transient Guest Tax Committee should be the ones to finalize that decision. The board agreed to pass the matter on to the committee for further discussion.

The Transient Guest Tax for 2020 was the next order of business and Clerk Michelle Fuehring stated she needed the permission of the board to put the applications out for pick-up at this time. Fuehring asked if there were any changes to the applications the board required prior to distribution of the forms. Alderman Jones suggested that the date for receipts to be turned in should be highlighted, which Fuehring stated she would do. Motion was made and carried that the applications were approved for distribution, 4-0.

Mayor Franny Vaught then stated the city had received its first Develop Saline County Sales Tax check for $100,000. Vaught stated the council had voted to give the Sweet Springs Restoration Foundation $20,000 from the sales tax funds. Vaught then presented a check to Bill Koch of the restoration foundation. Koch stated the money would be used to continue the restoration of the McKeage and Mattingly’s buildings. The funding, Koch told the board, would finance new roofing for the buildings. Some discussion followed concerning the possible closing of Main Street during the roofing work. Koch stated the roofers had assured him they would use the alley behind the buildings to avoid any necessity to close Main Street during the repairs.

Also during the meeting, Larry Hawkins, with the Sweet Springs Historical Society, presented discussion on the possibility of the city applying with the Missouri Conservation Dept for a winter trout- fishing program to tentatively be located in the old reservoirs west of the city. Hawkins stated information had been suggested to him that application would come through talking to the Blind Pony area officials and they would be able to clarify the process. Discussion from the board questioned the probability of keeping trout in the reservoirs due to the lack of running water in and out of the ponds and could the fish be overwintered there. Hawkins replied, according to other locations in the area and the way the fish are managed in those areas, fishermen would be required to follow catch and release prior to the month of February, after which any fish caught could be kept by the fishermen. Hawkins stated the fish would have to be replaced in the ponds seasonally at a cost to the city of approximately $2,500. After some discussion it was decided the Historical Society could fill out a Transient Guest Tax form for the year 2020 relative to the possible fishing areas.

Fuehring reported a city resident stated she would like to have a children at play sign or a “slow traffic” sign at the corner of Bruns and Walnut streets. Fuehring stated the woman said drivers are running the stop sigh at that corner frequently. The council discussed the matter, as to what signs were already in place at that intersection and made a decision to have Public Works Superintendent Nate Lea provide the board with a list of what signs are available.

City Clerk Fuehring presented the board with a quote that had been received regarding insurance on the city pool. Fuehring stated the city has always maintained insurance on the bath house and concession building, but the quote she had received would be to cover the new equipment installed earlier this year. Fuehring stated that with an annual premium for the swimming pool valued at $200,000. with 80 percent co-insurance, actual cash value, $1,000 deductible and a 10 percent earthquake deductable the additional insurance cost to the city would be $341.00. The additional insurance was approved, 4-0.

Nate Lea, Public Works Superintendent, was unable to attend the meeting, and due to his absence, the monthly works reports were included in the informational packet which included: monthly sewer/water test, monthly meter reads, pool drained and winterized, basketball goals mounted at the park, Daisy Street fire hydrant replaced and all hydrants flushed as needed; trimmed trees, ditch cleaned on Miller Street; samples taken and tower disinfected from renovation; training of a new hire.

Sweet Springs Police Chief Tammy Johnson was also unable to attend the meeting, and in her absence, Officer Sloma provided the monthly report, which included: 1 assault, 1 arrest, 1 child endangerment, 1 domestic disturbance, 1 verbal domestic, 1 harassment, 1 peace disturbance, 1 suicide attempt,1 deceased body, 1 property damage, 1 recovered property, 1 stealing, 1 theft, 1 trespass, 4 well-being checks, 4 traffic accidents, 1 DWR, 1 drug paraphernalia, 4 animal control, 1 animal restraint, 1 alarm, 3 agency assist, 2 911 hang ups, 2 911 unfounded.

Mayor Vaught stated that he had spoken with Nate Lea about sweeping rock up off the streets, following street repairs earlier in the year. The gravel applied at that time is beginning to sift into city drains, ditches, and into intersections. Vaught suggested the possibility of renting a street sweeper to remove the excess gravel. The city has an attachment for the bobcat used for other repairs in the city, but discussion followed on the adequacy of that piece of equipment for the size of the job. After some discussion Vaught stated he and Lea would check on prices of the rental of a street sweeper and follow-up with the board. Vaught also stated the Public Works Department would be placing some large rock in the ditch on Miller Street near the American Legion building to stop erosion there.

As there was no other business, Alderman Lea made motion to go into closed session to deal with personnel and legal issues. Second by Alderman Jones. The board moved to closed session, after which the meeting was resumed and as there was no other business the meeting was adjourned.

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