September 13, 2001

City Council Places Water System Grants Ahead Of CREP

After approving a 15% price increase on municipal electric rates and finalizing the 2001-2002 fiscal budget the remainer of the September 6 Memphis City Council meeting may have seemed anti-climatic.

Public Hearings

The council discussed the property at 420 S. Knott Street, which had received a 30-day extension at the August meeting. Police officers Mike Steeples and Steve Snodgrass were at the meeting and reported significant progress at the site. The council granted another 30-day extension.

CREP Program

The council voted 3-0 not to participate in the CREP conservation program at Lake Show-Me.

"We have a couple of pending grants that necessitate federal funding," stated Mayor Ron Alexander. "If we go forward with CREP we lose the possibility of receiving these two grants."

The city is seeking funding from the Department of Natural Resources for assistance on a new water plant as well as additional work on the supply line from Lake Show-Me.

"We must look at the whole picture," said Alderman Patty Simerl. "CREP helps a few people, the other grants help a few thousand people so it's a choice we have to make."

Cemetery Rates

The council addressed a variance in lot rates at the Memphis Cemetery. Some lots had cost $150 while other sections were priced at $200.

The council voted 3-0 to set all cemetery lot costs at $200.

Camping Fees

The council also agreed to raise the fees charged for camping on city property. Effective January 1, 2002, it will cost $10 per day to camp at Lake Show-Me.

Airport Costs

With fuel costs well below the five airports in the region, the council considered raising the aviation fuel costs.

Currently the airport charges 20-cents over cost for the fuel, the equivalent of a $2.00 per gallon rate.

That is well below the next cheapest fuel, which can be found at Kirksville airport where they charge $2.15 a gallon. Bloomfield, IA, charges $2.35 per gallon and Centerville charges $2.38.

Considering the area rates, the council agreed to increase the fuel price to 30-cents over cost, still making it the cheapest fill-up in the region at $2.10 per gallon.

The price increase will help pay for the new fuel pump installed at the airport. Under the previous price schedule it would have taken six years to pay for the pump.

The council also approved a $5 increase in monthly hanger rental fees effective January 1, 2002. The rental fee will now be $35 per month.

Council members also discussed adjusting the policy for keys to the fuel pump. There is a limited number of keys, creating a waiting list for pilots who would like to have their own key for the pump. Those without keys must contact the city to unlock the pump to allow fueling.

Alderman Ron Gardner suggested switching the system from a $5 deposit to a $5 annual fee and possibly implementing a minimum usage amount to retain the key. He asked that the issues be addressed at the next airport meeting and brought back to the October council meeting.

Department Reports

Light Plant - Superintendent Mike Ahland reported a normal month of August. He noted that the DNR inspection of the plant was completed on August 24 and the plant passed without problem.

Ahland presented bids for waste-oil furnaces to be installed in the city shed where the light crew equipment is stored. Currently the site is under-covered by the current heat system. (The waste-oil furnaces are more important as a system to use the waste oil from the light plant, which the city currently is paying to have hauled away. The city currently has 1,200 gallons of waste oil on hand.)

The council voted 3-0 to purchase a #175 Shenandoah unit for $3,600 dollars. The purchase of an air compressor ($429 from Harbor Freight) unit was also approved. The furnace requires compressed air. The unit will also allow the use of impact tools by the crews working on trucks and other equipment in the building.

Light Crew - Superintendent Dave Kittle reported Solomon had reviewed the city's faulty transformer, and could not find reason for short returns. The report indicated the lining conductor in the transformer may have been bad because of coating on the lining. Kittle said the lining will be rewound and repaired under warranty, replacing enamel covered wire with paper covered wire. The transformer will be returned sometime in October.

Street - A report was read from Superintendent Roy Monroe. City crews cleaned the city square four times. A new storm drain pipe was installed on Johnson Street. The new box culvert was completed on Ridge Street. The report stated the city saved more than $5,000 by having the street department construct the structure.

Monroe's report indicated the tennis court had been reviewed and was not in need of cement repair. He also noted the WHIP program had been reviewed and the city was in complete compliance.

Water - Superintendent Bob Ellicott reported the dredge had been removed from the light plant and the clean-up process had removed approximately 1.5 million gallons out of the backwash waste pond. The process also involved washing down the banks of the structure.

Police - The council appointed officer Mike Steeples as the city's new building inspector. He was instructed to make an appointment at the Bob Briggs property near Casey's after a complaint was filed by a neighboring landowner.

The department will begin to send out letters on tall grass complaints. Approximately a dozen complaints have been received.

The MPD investigated one vandalism, three thefts, two cases of stealing, and one DWI. Officers assisted on two ambulance or helicopter runs, made two animal calls and investigated four motor-vehicle accidents.

Alderman Reports

Gardner - Alderman Gardner presented a request from Mike Doubet and Cub Scout Pack 97 to donate a swing set for Lake Show-Me to be placed near the new shelter. The request was approved.

He also presented a request from a landowner on Johnson Street for the placement of some rift-raft on the drainage ditch on the corner of the street where runoff was eroding around a fence and gate. The site would be reviewed by the street department.

Gardner praised the work of the police department and the SCR-I senior class for the way the annual "senior chase" was handled on the first day of school.

He noted that the MPD would begin cracking down further on noise coming from vehicles after numerous citizen complaints. Warnings have been issued for loud stereos and other noise. He indicated tickets and citations are the next step.

Garrett - Alderman Cindy Garrett reported a pair of complaints regarding sewer problems along Jefferson Street.

Superintendent Ellicott indicated there is a problem in a half-block area along the street and his crew would be reviewing the situation along with the city engineer.

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