Contentious budget fails to pass at Trenton City Council meeting

Trenton, Missouri

On split votes among seven councilmen present, budgets for the city of Trenton and TMU received approval, then vetoed by the mayor then veto override attempts fell one vote short of having enough to pass.

Voting was done last night on proposed city ordinances for the fiscal year beginning May 1. Each of the votes was five in favor and two opposed. However, a veto override required passage by six of the eight elected council members. One member, Jennifer Hottes Urich, was absent last night leaving seven councilmen to vote. The five voting in favor of the new budgets and favoring the veto override were Travis Elbert, Allan Quilty, Glen Briggs, Larry Crawford, and David Mlika. Opposing the budget ordinances and the veto override were Brad Chumbley and Larry Porter.

The attorney for the city, Tara Walker, said failure to pass the 2017-18 budgets means the city and TMU will continue to operate on the current budgets once the new fiscal year begins. It is possible though that a special called meeting of the council could be scheduled with at least 24 hours public notice.

In recent meetings, Mayor Nick McHargue has voiced objection to the new budgets having $20,000 from both the city and from TMU to go toward a new economic development group. With the current city of Trenton budget still in place, it includes $74,000 for economic development. Wages for city employees also remain the same with no increase recommended in the new budgets.

Six other ordinances were adopted unanimously by the city council.

One of them authorizes an agreement for Burns and McDonnell engineers to prepare a preliminary engineering report on the sanitary sewer improvements. This initially includes the disinfection treatment portion of the bypass elimination plan for the wastewater plant. The agreement cost is not to exceed $118,000.

Jeff Barnard of Burns and McDonnell updated the council on a recent meeting with the DNR to review the bypass elimination plan – focusing first on disinfection efforts, then other elements as sewer rates and debt service allow.

The council approved a 20-year agreement for the city of Trenton to continue selling water to the Grundy County Public Water Supply District. Also adopted were three ordinances amending traffic codes and adding a section on three wheel auto cycles to comply with legislative updates in state law.

City administrator Ron Urton reported a meeting with Olson Associates, a financial planner, and others are Wednesday morning regarding the 17th street bridge replacement project.

Economic Developer Ralph Boots said proposals have been sent to eight prospective businesses interested in locating at Trenton.

Martin Schieb noted the milling contractor will resume work this morning on selected streets – then the city will follow up with the asphalt.

TMU comptroller Rosetta Marsh reported 158 customers have registered so far for the new online bill pay service.