July 11, 2002
Positive Progress Report Helps Council Finalize Light Plant Closure On Weekends
For the third month in a row the Memphis City Council took action to close the city's light plant during weekend hours. The aldermen voted 3-0 to permanently close the facility on weekends after hearing a positive progress report from plant Superintendent Mike Ahland.
Ahland informed the council the doors and windows at the electric plant had been secured and the site had experienced no problems with the new automated security system. He recommended finalizing the plant closure on Saturday and Sunday.
Aldermen Mike Stone, Teresa Skinner and Patty Simerl voted to approve the permanent closure. Alderman Ron Gardner was absent from the meeting.
The council also considered Ahland's request to close the light plant on holidays but agreed the site should be manned, not necessarily at full-power but should have staff on hand.
Ahland also asked the council to approve the purchase of a phone answering machine for the water plant, which is responsible for fielding calls to the light plant on the weekend. Ahland stated the water plant employees have duties that take them out of the office at times. He said the machine would insure no calls to the light plant would be missed. The purchase was approved.
The council also agreed to discontinue the contract with Regulatory Compliance Services which had done annual testing on the city's electric system for PCB, a substance that has been proven to cause cancer. Ahland stated the city system has switched to PCB-free oil for transformers meaning it no longer requires the service.
The aldermen approved a closing audit by the company to insure no PCB remained in the system. The audit will cost $1,900 per day plus expenses. The city then will discontinue its $395 annual retainer fee to the company. The council motion approved the audit on condition the company guaranteed its final report and assumed any liability for the conditions.
Hughie Cline was present during the citizen participation portion of the meeting to request an extension on the fireworks ordinance. He proposed an extension to allow fireworks sales inside city limits to go beyond the normal July 4 deadline to include the weekend. The council agreed to extend the sales period until midnight on Sunday, July 7.
Superintendent Dave Kittle informed the council he had been contacted by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regarding a chemical spill that occurred at the city light plant several years ago. Kittle stated the spill had been contained and cleaned up at the time of the accident. However the DNR official stated records indicated the clean up had never been completed.
After further review of the case Kittle learned the file had been officially closed by the DNR Hazardous Waste Program meaning any additional action on the city's part would be strictly voluntary.
Kittle requested and received council approval to offer for sale the city's old chipper as well as a handmade box cover used in the past to cover transformers. Both items will be sold by sealed bid.
Superintendent Roy Monroe reported the street department had spent June working on curb and gutter projects as well as replacing tubes and repairing the storm drain at the city's truck parking lot at the junction of Highway 15 and 136.
City Marshall Steve Snodgrass reported the police department had investigated one theft, one domestic dispute and one case of vandalism during the month of June. The MPD made three DWI arrests and one drug arrest. Officers made 16 traffic stops and investigated seven accidents. The office received 309 telephone calls, including 28 animal complaints. There was one officer meeting and two officers attending training. The depart-ment made 47 community security checks and assisted at the scene of two fire calls and one ambulance run.
Mayor Ron Alexander indicated the police department's lease on the Law Enforcement Television Network fiber optics training system did not expire until January 31, 2004. The city had the option to buy out the lease at 50% of its remaining value. The council voted to consider the buyout option next month after one current training session is completed by the officer.
Alderman Stone requested information on the city's policy for filling open wells on residential properties. Monroe stated the well has to be filled according to DNR policies and the process requires a work permit.
Alderman Skinner asked Howard if he had met with the fire department regarding the city's water hydrants. Howard indicated he was still working on the project and would meet with the firemen when all the information was available.
Skinner asked about the design of the new swimming pool. The Mayor stated engineer Ron Shy would be in Memphis July 10 to discuss the project and more would be known regarding the plans after this meeting.
The aldermen also submitted several citizen complaints regarding unkept property. Alderman Simerl asked that letters be sent out regarding mowing as there were six or eight properties that were not in compliance with ordinances governing weeds and tall grass.