The Trenton City Council, by a 5 to 3 vote, has approved an ordinance amending the City's open container law in public places.
It prohibits persons from drinking alcoholic beverages or beer, or having an open container of alcoholic beverages or beer, in public places. The exception would be in the fenced in grandstand event area at the fairgrounds during the North Central Missouri Fair. Voting in favor or the ordinance were Councilmen Mark Moore, Allan Quilty, Mark Robinson, Chuck Elliott, and Larry Huffstutter. Opposed were Kenneth Ewing, Travis Elbert, and Jim Bush.
The vote was taken after discussion on the topic abruptly was ended. In all, about 9 minutes was spent on the topic.
During that time, Elbert said he believes information in a message to Trenton citizens regarding the topic was misleading. That's the flyer paid for by Jim Bush. Part of the information in the flyer read, the City Council would vote last night to give authority to the Fair Board to decide if alcoholic beverages can be sold during future fairs. Elbert said nothing was being given to the Fair Board. However, Councilmen Ewing and Bush disagreed with Elbert. Councilman Chuck Elliott said if anything happens, the Council would cancel the agreement immediately.
When a question came up about whether the fair could be extended, Les Spickard---who's been associated with the fair several years---mentioned fair officials are not looking to expand, they're trying to exist. He indicated alcohol can be found elsewhere in the park system, and the fair is not a drunkfest.
Councilman Bush, before the meeting, presented Council members with the flyer to Trenton citizens, which Bush described as a petition. During the City Council meeting,
Bush began to talk about that flyer and wanted it read. He also noted E. J. Barnes, the Director of Missions of the North Grand River Baptist Association, was in attendance.
Barnes was among the several ministers and faith based directors listed as providing the message on the flyer. However, Councilman Mark Robinson called for the question, which is an effort to end discussion.
Although the flyer, which Bush described as a petition, was not on the agenda, attorney Tara Walker indicated it could be read at the discretion of the Mayor. However, Mayor McHargue declined. E. J. Barnes was not called on to speak on the issue. However, later in the meeting, when Police Chief, Tommy Wright, was giving a report, Barnes asked Wright about the major problems facing the Police Department. They included traffic, drugs, and domestic violence.
The ministers and faith based directors listed on the flyer said they do not believe it's in the best interest of the community to approve and encourage the sale of alcoholic beverages during fairs and in the parks. The flyer asked citizens to contact the Councilman in their ward, and the Mayor, to let them know how they wanted to be represented through their votes on the issue. The flyer also encouraged citizens to attend the City Council meeting.
The only members of the public to speak on the alcohol matter were Robert Allen who asked a question, and Les Spickard from the North Central Missouri Fair. The Councilmen did not say anything about citizens contacting them.
In other action, the Trenton Council unanimously voted to amend an ordinance dealing with speed limits in Trenton. It reduces the speed limit on Highway 65 through Trenton to 45 miles an hour. It's among efforts to reduce accidents, and the severity of accidents, at the 28th Street and Highway 65 intersection. Other steps to be taken involve changing the alignment on 28th Street to provide better vision of Highway 65. Changes in road signs also are planned, with funding via the Missouri Department of Transportation.
The Council unanimously voted to show support for efforts by Trenton/Grundy County LP to obtain financing through the Missouri Housing Development Commission for the
rehabilitation of 40 units at Trenton Heights Apartments. Tax credits are to be sought via the State Housing Development Commission. The tax credits would be sold to investors. The breakdown shows spending $40,000 a unit.
If approved by the Missouri Housing and Development Commission, the renovations would begin next spring or summer. Local subcontractors would be sought, and bids for materials would be sought locally. Existing tenants would be relocated during the work. A spokesman for the proposed work indicated about 35% of the applications are approved by the Missouri Housing and Development Commission. The apartments still would be subject to local property taxes.
The Trenton Council also voted to have gates open to the reservoirs in western Trenton. This is to allow for easier access to the reservoirs for fishing. A gate has been closed in the past after working hours. That was because of vandalism and thefts. The Council vote came after Mayor Nick McHargue again raised the topic. The Mayor suggested boats with up to 10 horsepower be allowed, but the vote last night only involved the gates.
Mayor McHargue voiced criticism for Wright Memorial Hospital efforts to avoid property taxes on its physicians building . He also wants a fair share of tax money returned to Trenton from Trenton Township and Grundy County. And, Dr. McHargue expressed opposition to paying an $8,000 match to obtain a $153,000 airport grant.
On another topic, Mayor McHargue voiced support for Ian and Ali Gray's citizenship efforts. A Council resolution is to be prepared showing that support. Ali's father, Colin Withers, attended the City Council meeting and expressed thanks for past and current support. He noted the process has been frustrating.
The City of Trenton and its municipal utilities have a hiring freeze until its known whether governor Jay Nixon's vetoes of tax cut legislation will be sustained or overturned. Departments are being asked to come up with 2% cuts should the tax cut legislation take place.
City Administrator, Kerry Sampson, said Trenton is to receive about $40,000 a year if the 3/4 cent state sales tax if approved by voters next Tuesday. That's amendment 7. Councilman Jim Bush questioned how much money would be taken out of the local economy by persons paying the sales tax. One estimate was around $200,000.
Trenton Street Department Supervisor, Larry Griffin, mentioned what were described as expensive breakdowns.
Trenton Municipal Utilities Director, Chad Davis, noted residences are to be given a couple of days of advance notice about smoke testing in their neighborhood.
The Trenton Council held a closed session regarding personnel and real estate.
The Trenton Building and Nuisance Board met prior to the City Council meeting and took action on several properties. They involved nuisances, and certificates of dangerous buildings. The Building and Nuisance Board also wants bids sought on several properties to determine how much it would cost to tear them down. The Board then is to decide which properties to demolish with available funds.