Trenton City Council members, mayor clash over appointment to Trenton Convention and Visitors Bureau board

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On a split vote, the Trenton City Council Monday night made an appointment to the Trenton Convention and Visitors Bureau board, but not until after considerable discussion on who has the authority to make appointments.

Two weeks ago, Mayor Linda Crooks appointed three people to the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Debbie Carmen, Micah Landes, and Jim Norris. The council voted seven to nothing to approve the selections.

It was later learned Norris would replace Megan Pester on the board as her term was expiring. When the Convention and Visitors Bureau board met this month, current members wanted the council liaison, Marvin Humphreys, to see if the council would consider expanding the board by one person and having Pester appointed.

Last night at the council meeting, Chairperson Jordan Ferguson announced Jim Norris had rescinded the appointment, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau board would like to have Megan Pester back as a member since she was willing to continue to serve.

Past chairperson Cara McClellan requested Mayor Crooks provide a valid business reason that Pester should not be appointed. In response, Crooks said she had her reasons but did not elaborate. Councilman Humphreys read from a copy of the ordinance establishing the Trenton Convention and Visitors Bureau board which states any vacancy is to be filled by way of council appointments. Crooks stated, and some others on the council agreed, that as Mayor, she makes appointments to boards and commissions with council consent. And in recent memory, that has been the case for the various city boards and commissions.

Since Norris informed Crooks he was resigning two days after being appointed, the mayor said she wanted to find someone else from the college to serve on this board.

An effort last night to clarify wording in the ordinance as to how members are appointed failed on a six to two roll call vote among the council. After getting some guidance from city attorney Tara Walker, it was determined a vacancy existed on the board since Norris withdrew.

A motion was made from the council to appoint Megan Pester and this passed on a five to three roll call vote. In favor were Marvin Humphreys, Robert Romesburg, Duane Urich, Glen Briggs, and Danny Brewer. Opposed were David Mlika, John Dolan, and Lou Fisher.

This was the first meeting for William Louis Fisher with the current council after he was sworn in earlier last evening as 1st Ward Councilman to fill a vacancy left by the December resignation of Lance Otto. Fisher fills out the term until the April election where he is the only candidate on the ballot for the first ward position.

The Trenton City Council unanimously approved two ordinances involving agreements with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission. One ordinance leads to new lighting on the north side of Highway 6, in front of the new Dollar General Store at

the west edge of Trenton. Three poles with lights are to be purchased and installed at the city’s expense. The purchase was previously approved by the council but the poles and lights could not be ordered until MoDOT agreed to be responsible for maintenance and traffic control devices.

The other agreement allows the city of Trenton to accept a $22,000 ARPA grant at the airport with the city planning to use the money to buy fuel.

City Administrator Ron Urton announced the Trenton Police Department has been approved for a $9,700 grant to purchase heavy coats and high visibility vests for the officers. Chief Rex Ross said no local match is required. He noted the money comes from the federal government as a “pass-through” grant from the state. Urton thanked Lieutenant Larry Smith for writing a successful application.

The council authorized Administrator Urton to sign an access consent form allowing for soil sampling at the former USDA grain storage site in Trenton. The DNR is requesting a follow-up soil sampling to confirm the presence or absence of what it called “volatile organic compound constituents of concern” at 1712 Harris Avenue, the current location for the fire department’s burn training center. Soil sampling is to be done this spring at three locations on the site which was used for grain storage from the late 1950s to approximately 1972. Work will be done by the Bluestone Environmental Group from Pennsylvania.

The council consented to the selection of Grant Harse as an attorney, when and if needed, from the Lathrop-GPM LLP office in Kansas City. Urton said the city of Trenton currently does not have a need for the attorney but he could be called upon if necessary in the future.

The council also reviewed five proposed locations for street overlay work, the net metering report for ten customers, and the effect the cold temperatures before Christmas had on Trenton Municipal Utilities.

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