The Gower City Council met on Monday, March 8, and approved two major purchases. One was a generator for the city’s wastewater treatment plant, and the other was a new patrol car for the police department.
The generator approved by the council will cost $43,780. According to City Manager Carroll Fisher, the company, Power Systems, will deliver the generator, but the city will need to make arrangements to have it offloaded and placed. Fisher said the city’s equipment will not handle the generator (which can weigh up to six tons) and he will be checking with some area individuals to see if they can assist with this issue. The council approved this purchase by a 4-0 vote.
The other purchase was a 2021 Dodge Durango for the police department. The vendor is Airport Chrysler at a cost of $30,359. Chief Hill said he would need to get decals as well as a new light bar for this vehicle. He was asked by Alderman Pottier why he was looking at the Dodge and not a Ford. Chief Hill stated it had to do with cost, quality and reliability. He said the department has had trouble with Fords in the past, needing numerous repairs. He said the Dodge costs less and was being chosen by other departments, including the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The purchase was approved unanimously by the Council.
Ms. Crystal Baird addressed the council, asking that they consider adopting an ordinance requiring citizens within the city limits to make sure that their dogs have adequate shelter, food and water, if left outside in extreme weather. She made some suggestions as to what the ordinance needed to include.
The council discussed this matter for about 15 minutes and the aldermen appeared split over how to move forward.
Alderman Paul Pottier cautioned the other aldermen that, “You really go down a slippery slope when you start writing ordinances to deal with common sense issues.” He asked Chief Hill for his input and Hill stated he would like to see some basic guidelines dealing with this issue. Alderman Jameson said he agreed with Paul.
Mayor Holman asked City Attorney Joe Gagnon his opinion and if animal abuse state laws would address this issue. Attorney Gagnon said he could check out the city’s ordinances and bring some recommendations to the council for their consideration at the April meeting.
Mayor Holman informed the council that East Buchanan Superintendent Dr. John Newell had contacted him about the possibility of the city vacating Allen Street, which is one block long and runs from Highway 169 to Smith Street and separates the elementary building from the bigger gravel lot to the east of the street. City Administrator Carroll Fisher was asked for his opinion. He said he had no problem with this possibility but there is a waterline running down the middle of the street and he recommended the city get an easement prior to vacating the street.
Mayor Holman asked City Attorney Gagnon how the city could best accomplish this, and Gagnon said once the city vacates a city or alley it’s a done deal. He recommended the city try to come to an agreement and write a contract allowing the district to consider paving the entire area to the east of the elementary building to use for parking and bus loading and offloading. He felt this would serve both entities best, but he cautioned the city officials not to vacate the street and give it to the district. (The school district currently partitions off Smith Street to through traffic in the mornings and afternoons for students arriving on buses in the mornings and leaving via bus in the afternoons).
The most significant time spent at this meeting was discussing the issue of homeowners having chickens in the city. This discussion included how many chickens, if roosters should be excluded, and if they could free range in secured yards or needed to be cooped.
According to Alderman Zack Craft, he had been contacted by a dozen citizens wanting to have chickens in the city limits. Alderman Jameson was definitely opposed to allowing this due to smell and the enticement of having chickens in town would lead to more raccoons prowling the neighborhoods.
After about 50 minutes of discussion back and forth, the aldermen were split on the issue and ultimately voted to table the item.
One other motion was placed on the floor for the council to consider. This was a motion made by Alderman Craft to have decals on the rear of police cars stating “In God We Trust” if the cost to do so was donated by private citizens and not to be paid for from public funds. Both Chief Hill and Officer Joseph Winterer were asked their opinions on this issue and neither had any problem with this idea.
The council has scheduled a budget workshop for March 29 at 6:30 p.m. at city hall and the next monthly meeting is scheduled for April 12, 7 p.m.
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