Trenton City Council approves putting 5% lodging tax for motels/hotels to public vote

City of Trenton Website

With just five members present Monday night, the Trenton City Council decided to let the public vote next year on a proposed five percent lodging tax.

If approved by a simple majority in the April 7th election, the additional fee would be imposed on guests who rent sleeping rooms of hotels and motels within Trenton. Proceeds are to fund a convention and visitors bureau with the purpose of promoting Trenton. A nine-member board would be appointed and serve without pay. The city administrator and one councilman would be ex-officio, non-voting members.

Among discussion before the vote was taken, a member of the public suggested information be gathered as to how much revenue could be expected to be generated by the new fee. It was pointed out that only persons staying at the motel/hotel will pay the fee, not citizens of Trenton.

Others stated voters will want to know exactly what will be done with funds in promoting what Trenton has to offer. A visitor’s guide was presented for review. It lists points of interest, parks, eateries, and events in Trenton.

Voting in favor of putting the lodging tax to a public vote were Glen Briggs, Danny Brewer, Brad Chumbley, David Mlika, and Larry Crawford. Absent for the council meeting were Lou Fisher, Cathie Smith, and John Dolan.

The council routinely approved an ordinance calling for the election of four council members next April 7th, one per ward. Expiring then will be the terms of Lou Fisher, Brad Chumbley, Dave Mlika, and Larry Crawford. Candidate filings for the city council begin December 17th and conclude on January 21st.

A representative of the Missouri Intergovernmental Risk Management Association, Kelly Beets, presented two grant awards designed to minimize exposure for employees. One is for $2,925 to pay 65% of the cost of a police dashboard camera. It was accepted by Chief Rex Ross. The other is for $1,114 to cover 50% of the cost for power crimpers for Trenton Municipal linemen to use. It was accepted by Mayor Linda Crooks.

The council accepted a recommendation from the finance committee regarding the new, higher rates for employee health insurance. It will be obtained through a pool of cities belonging to MIRMA. There are two plans in which the city will pay 100%. One plan has a premium of $733 per month and the other has a premium of $603 monthly. The increase for the 2020 calendar year is described as up 14.7 percent.

Two bids were submitted for hay ground at the Trenton trap and skeet range described as about 35 acres. After discussion, the council voted four to one to reject both bids and refer the hay ground to the administrative committee for possible inclusion with future bidding on city-owned crop ground.

Councilman Glen Briggs voted against rejecting bids, calling it unfair to request bids, then reject them because the council wanted to do something else. Bill Zang had the high bid of $12.80 per bale. Other councilmen felt the city would receive more money in cash rent if the hay ground was converted to grow crops instead.

While a committee had recommended no additional specialty signs for residential neighborhoods, Councilman Brad Chumbley voiced concerns for those who operate daycare centers and for persons with disabilities who may benefit from having a special sign to alert the motoring public. He called it terrible to reject consideration of a sign because the city quote “doesn’t want to mess with it.”

After discussion, the proposed written policy was tabled and is to be re-considered by the administrative committee. There’s been no policy on citizen requests for signs other than being referred to the police chief and street supervisor.

The city council approved a request to charge bed and breakfast establishments a $50 fee, instead of the previous $100, by February 15th each year for the annual inspection in order to have an occupancy permit from the city. The inspection fee on rentals remains at $35 each time an address is rented.

The street department shop building will be getting two overhead bay doors from CSI Overhead Doors of Trenton at a cost of $5,200, which is under budget.

Norris Quarries was approved to supply asphalt sand at $8.25 per ton and half-inch rock at $16.50 per ton. Both prices are up $1.50. The asphalt plant has closed for the season.

A summary shows a thousand more tons were sold by the city this year when compared to last year. Sales to MoDOT and private companies were 11,763 tons. The city used another 3,755 tons on its own projects.

Four scouts from Troop 97 attended the meeting for their citizenship badge.