Alcohol continues to be a topic before the Trenton City Council. Last night, it became more personal.
The Trenton City Council, by split votes the past 2 years, approved requests by the North Central Missouri Fair Board to be able to sell beer at the fairgrounds grandstand area during the fair as a means of raising more money for the fair.
Technically, the Council in June of last year, and in March of this year, suspended the City's open container law at the fairgrounds grandstand area during the fair. The law prohibits persons from drinking alcoholic beverages or beer, or having an open container of alcoholic beverages or beer, in public places.
The Council, last month, in another split vote, amended the City's open container law in public places. It also prohibits persons from drinking alcoholic beverages or beer in public places---except within the fenced in grandstand event area at the fairgrounds during the North Central Missouri Fair. In effect, the action means the Fair Board does not have to seek Council permission each year.
Last night's City Council meeting opened with a co-owner of Black Silo Winery of Trenton, Jennifer Hottes Urich, claiming Councilman Jim Bush asked Trenton Police to have her removed from the fairgrounds.
Later in the meeting, Fair Board President, Rick Hull, explained a license was obtained that allowed for beer and wine to be sold. It was explained during the discussion, the Fair Board purchased the wine and Mrs. Hottes Urich was there to sell it.
Mrs. Hottes Urich charged Councilman Bush with abusing his elective position. She also called for his resignation and for him to publicly apologize.
Bush called her comments unjustified. Later, when Councilman Mark Robinson noted Mrs. Hottes Urich asked for Bush's resignation, Bush said he has no need to resign.
Mrs. Hottes Urich indicated legal council could be sought if necessary. Bush also mentioned legal possibilities. He also said no request had been made to the City Council to be able to sell wine. And, he indicated around 400 persons have contacted him in opposition to alcohol sales.
Councilman Chuck Elliott said wine will be allowed to be sold at the fair---but he'll never vote to allow hard liquor.
Fair Board President Hull said there were no incidents at the fair this year---and some 600 to 800 persons went through the gates. Police Chief, Tommy Wright, also said he's not aware of any incidents at the fair.
At the end of the meeting, Hull presented the City with $1,000. It was the 2nd year of a 5 year commitment by the Fair Board to provide funds towards the cost of the bleachers that are used at fairgrounds. The commitment is $1,000 a year for 5 years. The bleachers were purchased in the past by the City.
The City Council meeting also included a sizable period of time on public questions and comments regarding the Trenton Municipal Utilities electric rate increase. That's the hike which first showed up on bills sent to customers a few days ago. The increase was effective with the June usage. TMU Director, Chad Davis, gave several explanations.
TMU Board of Public Works Chairman, Robert Day, and Board member, John Kennebeck, also participated in the discussion.
A portion of the discussion regarding the TMU electric rate increase included steps the City of Trenton and its Municipal Utilities have done to hold down costs.
Later, when the Council was asked to consider a contractor to replace poles for a transmission line, the Council rejected the agreement. Jim Bush and Alan Quilty were the only councilmen voting yes. Travis Elbert was absent.
The ordinance defeated by the Council involved an agreement with RS Electric Utility Services of St. Joseph. The company was to be paid nearly $224,000 to replace wood poles with concrete ones for a transmission line to the north substation.
The Board of Public Works last month approved the work, and sent the topic to the full City Council for its consideration. The Board of Public Works, last month, also approved an expenditure of slightly over $29,000 for materials for the project. The agreement is with Fletcher-Rhinart of Bridgeton, Missouri.
The work is scheduled to be funded with borrowed money via Certificates of Participation. Approval was made in the past to borrow the money for various projects.
2 other council votes were approved by all 7 councilmen in attendance. 1 of them establishes a fine of at least $100 for owners of properties who do not provide the Code Enforcement Officer with their name, address, and address of each rental property by October 1st.
The other ordinance approved by the City Council involved an ordinance granting a conditional use permit to allow Mark Ledbetter to attach a 4 by 8 foot business sign on his house at 1618 Mable Street.
Councilman Bush asked the Council to reconsider its vote on July 28th to have gates open to the reservoirs in western Trenton to allow easier access to the reservoirs for fishing. Bush based his request on financial and security reasons. However, no Council action was taken.
Bush gave some general reasons why public drinking sources should be made secure to guard against terroristic attacks. When he asked Mayor McHargue if the Mayor wanted him to talk more on the topic, Dr. McHargue said not really.
The gates have been closed in the past after working hours, because TMU has experienced vandalism and thefts.
The Trenton Council also met in closed session regarding personnel.