Trenton City Council Holds Lengthy Meeting
Date 2014/6/10 9:31:25 | Topic: News
|The Trenton City Council last night voted to ask Grundy County to pay $1100 a month rent and 25% of the utility costs to house the county ambulance service at the City's fire station building.|
The vote was 7 in favor and Councilman Mark Robinson opposed. Robinson said he favors $1200 a month rent and 25% of the utility costs.
The amount requested by the City is less than what was sought in a letter from City Administrator, Kerry Sampson, in April, but it's more than what County Commissioners offered to pay when they met with city officials late last month.
The County currently pays $1150 a month rent, but nothing extra for utilities.
Grundy County Commissioners are offering to pay $1200 rent, with the utilities continuing to be included in that amount.
The City says the County occupies 25% of the space at the fire station building, so the City is asking the County to pay 25% of the utility costs.
Utility costs during a recent 12 month period were around $16,000. 25% of that amount is $4,000 a year---which averages about $333 a month.
Fire Chief, Rick Morris, last night said he does not want the ambulance service to move, but he's seeking help with the energy costs. Morris also said he does not want the
ambulance service to move when Morris attended the meeting late last month when County Commissioners offered to pay an extra $50 a month rent to house the ambulance service at the fire station.
The Trenton City Council last night discussed, but took no action, regarding money transferred from Trenton Municipal Utilities to the City. However, after several minutes of discussion, Councilman Chuck Elliott said he wants the Council's Administrative Committee to look at the topic. Elliott is a member of the Administrative Committee.
The discussion was originated by Councilman Mark Moore---who's a Council Liaison to the Trenton Board of Public Works.
The Board of Public Works has been expressing concern for some time about the TMU electric department's declining reserve fund. During the Board of Public Works meeting late last month, Chairman Robert Day said the City Council needs to reconsider its policy of transferring funds from Trenton Municipal Utilities to the City's general fund.
The City Council, last year, passed an ordinance calling for the transfer from TMU, to the City's general revenue fund, to be 1% of the charges for services from the electric, water, and wastewater funds as stated in the most recently completed audit of TMU. The ordinance also says the amount from the electric fund is less street lighting revenue.
Councilman Chuck Elliott said TMU is the City's utility, and TMU is financially struggling---so how is the City going to help it? He also questioned whether the transfer should be based on TMU profits rather than gross amounts. Elliott said TMU was not struggling when the Council approved the money transfer. Elliott mentioned he was among the councilmen approving the transfer. He said he now regrets the City taking money from TMU.
Councilman Travis Elbert also said he does not like the City taking money from TMU. Elbert, like Councilman Moore, is a Liaison to the Board of Public Works.
City Clerk, Cindy Simpson, said the transfer from TMU to the City this year is around $118,000. She said it goes to the City's general fund and the capital projects account.
Trenton Mayor Nick McHargue mentioned the City also is no longer paying around $100,000 a year in street lighting costs.
TMU Director Chad Davis explained wholesale costs account for 80% to 85% of TMU's electric budget. Some of the increased cost TMU has faced to buy electricity is attributed to power plants being off-line longer than anticipated, unplanned outages at power plants, and other higher than anticipated costs. There are capacity costs that still have to be paid even when a plant is off-line. In addition, extra expenses occur when the power has to be purchased elsewhere.
The cost to purchase power this year is expected to be similar to last year. Davis indicated the electric rate increase that went into effect this month for TMU customers
is reasonable, but it will not allow TMU to quickly recover reserves.
Davis indicated the proposed federal emissions standards for coal fired electric plants would take 3 to 4 years to have an effect on rates.
Davis was questioned briefly about the Board of Public Works last month approving the purchase of a bucket truck costing slightly over $97,000 with a trade-in instead of making repairs. Davis did not have the comparison figures. He did mention the necessity of having an available truck when needed.
Councilman Elliott suggested TMU needs to closely watch its costs. Davis indicated it already does.
The Trenton City Council's Administrative Committee is to be asked to examine the City's policy for inspections of rental housing.
The Council last month defeated an ordinance that would have raised the inspection fee. There have been complaints from some landlords about the size of the increase, the need to have another inspection when the renter moves out after a short period of time, and some landlords ignoring the requirement to have inspections while other landlords obey the rules and pay the costs.
A landlord request was made last night to suspend the existing inspection requirements until they can be rewritten to make them more fair. No action was taken on that request.
Councilman Larry Huffstutter said he's not in favor of suspending the current requirements.
City Attorney, Tara Walker, indicated the City files charges against those disregarding the requirements—but said you're not going to catch everybody. Several landlords attended last night's City Council meeting.
The Council agreed to return a surtax payment from County Collector Treasurer, Barb Harris, so she can send the City the correct amount.
The Council approved a request from Mayor Nick McHargue for an off-duty City employee to use a City motor grader to make preparations for Gooseberry Festival events. Dr. McHargue is to pay the labor expenses.
The Council approved an ordinance relating to increased business license fees for itinerant merchants. The rate increases from $50 to $100. Itinerant merchants
are persons not maintaining a permanent place of business in Trenton, and who travel from place to place selling goods or performing services.
The Trenton Council approved a pole attachment agreement involving Trenton Municipal Utilities and Wanrack LLC.TMU is to be paid $10 a year for each TMU utility pole Wanrac uses for Wanrac's local fiber optics service. The agreement is 15 years. The fiber optics service is between the Trenton R-9 schools. Approximately 100 poles are to be used. The Board of Public Works approved the agreement last month.
The Trenton Council approved budget adjustments for the past fiscal year.
The Council approved Seth Rorebeck moving from part time to full time in the Police Department.
The Council discussed, but made no changes in higher airport fees contained in the budget for the fiscal year beginning May 1st.
Mayor McHargue called the airport very expensive for the citizens of Trenton and said aviation people should be paying for it. Dr. McHargue also indicated he's not seen airport economic development benefits. However, Councilman Jim Bush indicated communities do benefit from having airports.
Dr. McHargue said North Central Missouri College should pay the fencing repair costs at Burleigh Grimes Field if it wants to have screens on the fence which lead to the
Fence blowing down. He did acknowledge North Central is paying $500 toward the latest fence repairs.
Dr. McHargue asks the public to turn off the lights after using ballfields, and for the Police Department to turn off those lights when officers see the lights on with nobody using the facilities. The Mayor says it's expensive to leave the lights on. He cited an example of lights being left on at Mark Griffin Memorial Ballfield.
City Administrator, Kerry Sampson, said the 3/4 of a cent state sales tax proposal voters will decide would mean an estimated $412,000 to Trenton over a 10 year period if the tax is approved. That's $41,000 a year.
Sampson said the Missouri Department of Transportation is considering street lighting on Highway 6 in the Highway 65 overpass area. He said the City would be responsible for the costs.
Police Chief, Tommy Wright, discussed MoDOT plans in the next few months for colored signs to help guide truck drivers on truck routes. He talked about trucks currently winding up in neighborhoods.
Chamber of Commerce President, Debbie Carman, mentioned efforts by a group to obtain donations from the community for a fireworks display July 4th.
Councilman Mark Robinson talked about an update on the 17th Street bridge replacement project was scheduled this morning. He also said the railroad is considering the possibility of having another rail line at Trenton for storage. A decision was expected in 4 to 6 weeks.
The Trenton Council also met in closed session regarding personnel.