Trenton welcomes new city attorney and prosecutor

Trenton City Council Meeting News Graphic
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Trenton officially has a new city attorney and prosecutor. Kenton Kinney of Kearney accepted the job, replacing Tara Walker, who chose to leave the position to devote more time to private practice. The Trenton City Council, Wednesday evening, unanimously adopted an ordinance to accept legal service agreements with the law firm Murphy, Kinney, and Sumy of Kansas City. The contract signing ceremony involved Kinney, Mayor Jackie Soptic, and City Clerk Cindy Simpson. Attending the City Hall event were Kinney, his wife, daughter, mother, and sister.

Compensation Details for Kinney’s Law Firm Agreed Upon

Compensation for Kinney’s law firm was approved last month by the Council. It’s a $2,000 monthly retainer for 13 hours of legal service; thereafter, $150 per hour for additional hours. As the city prosecutor, the firm is to be paid a $3,500 monthly retainer for 20 hours per month; then $175 per hour for legal services in excess of 20 hours monthly. Mileage will be paid by the city to and from Kearney at the IRS-approved rate. There’s also a one-time equipment stipend of $1,700. Kinney is a former Trenton resident and graduated from Trenton High School.

City Council Boosts Wages for Water and Sewer Distribution Department

In City Council business last evening, approval was given by voice vote to increase wages for workers in the Water and Sewer Distribution Department. It had been recommended that an increase of one dollar 83 cents an hour be given to all employees within this department. The council last month had increased just the two newest and lowest paid employees of the department by a dollar-83 per hour. That makes their wages $18.57 per hour. There’s one vacancy that Underground Supervisor Kenny Ricketts said has existed for two years. Increases approved by the council set the wage of an underground utility worker with two years of service at $18.84 per hour; the utility worker with nearly five years of service and a D S 3 license at $23.68 per hour; the foreman with almost 16 years service and D S 3 license at $26.08 an hour; and the underground supervisor (Ricketts) with a salary of $66,114. Approval of pay increases for the water and sewer distribution department workers passed on a 6 to 1 vote. Glen Briggs was opposed. Marvin Humphreys was absent.

Finance and Utility Committees Focus on Employee Retention

Discussions by the finance and utility committees in recent weeks have focused on increasing wages for the underground department to attract applicants and to help retain employees. Councilman, attending a Finance Committee meeting last week, noted that Ricketts had offered to forgo his pay increase to allow funds for other workers in the department. It was stated last evening by several on the council that the finance committee will focus on adjusting wages for other department heads and their employees. Budget discussions begin next month. Some believe increases should involve merit pay and consider employee years of service with the city.

New Installations and Policy Updates in Trenton

An ordinance was approved with the Double Check Company LLC of Kansas City to install a fuel master credit card reading system at the Trenton airport. The cost is $15,417 and is a budgeted item. Clerk Cindy Simpson noted this allows the airport to disconnect a phone line that previously had been used for credit card payments.

Revisions were reviewed in a 2005 policy regarding inserts with TMU bills mailed to customers. One provision increases the fee (from $75) to $350 to cover TMU’s additional cost to send a brochure. A suggestion was made to include a sentence that bill inserts pertain only to the business of TMU, the city, or their contracted agents; and to be for informational purposes – not a solicitation. With the additional wording, the policy will be revised and presented at a future city council meeting.

Councilman Briggs previously expressed his anger when TMU bills that arrived in December included a flier that Hope Haven at Chillicothe was offering residential curbside recycling pickups in Trenton for customers willing to sign a submitted agreement (the insert) and pay a minimum annual fee of $60. Mayor Jackie Soptic has said Hope Haven, at the time of the insert, was a contracted agent for the city. The mandatory monthly recycling fee was eliminated by the city council effective with the end of the Hope Haven contract on December 31st.

Approval was given to specific wording in the unified development ordinance of city code, regarding “land use”. It now includes definitions for a public hearing and a public meeting – such as those involving the planning and zoning board.

City Officials Acknowledge Public Services During Snow Storm

Councilman Briggs, City Administrator Urton, and Mayor Soptic praised the work and publicly thanked the Trenton street crew, electric department, and others who responded to the snowstorm Monday and Tuesday. In preparation for predicted very cold, (below zero) temperatures this weekend and Monday, Urton said the Missouri Public Utility Alliance asked TMU to run generators at the south substation Sunday and Monday to help supply power to the grid. Urton said this qualifies the generators for the first quarter testing.

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