November 14, 2002

Ordinance Establishes New Rules For Memphis Cemetery

After several months of discussion the Memphis City Council voted to enact a new ordinance governing the city cemetery during the council's November 7 meeting.

Bill No. 02-5 Cemetery Rule and Regulations, outlines the rules governing the cemetery. The ordinance states that upon full payment to the city for the grave space, the owner will receive a cemetery deed. The ordinance states "The deed vests in the owner an interment right to bury a deceased human body only." That had been a question posed to the council earlier this year.

The ordinance also states that if any tree, shrub or plant standing on or adjacent to any cemetery lot becomes detrimental to any adjacent cemetery lot, road, walkway, feature, improvement or fixture, the City Council may (but is not required to) remove such obstacle to remedy the problem.

The law also addressed mowing and maintenance issues at the cemetery. The ordinance states the cemetery may remove and dispose of any and all decorations "at such time as the cemetery maintenance contractor deems necessary in order to mow or otherwise maintain the cemetery."

Each warranty deed issued by the City of Memphis Cemetery Corporation shall contain restrictions giving the City of Memphis exclusive control and management of the cemetery and all improvements within. No person shall be permitted to place upon or remove from any lot or grave space any improvements of any description whatsoever, including trees, flowers, shrubbery, etc., without the consent of the Memphis Board of Aldermen.

The deed also notes that no concrete, masonry, rock or other type of urns will be permitted on any lot and that no burial will be permitted unless in at least an approved concrete box, vault or mausoleum.

Election Notice

Filing for city offices will open on Christmas Eve for the April 7, 2003 municipal election in Memphis.

The council approved an official notice of election at the November meeting. One alderman for the east ward and one alderman for the west ward will be elected along with the city tax collector. The terms of Aldermen Ronnie Gardner and Patty Simerl will conclude following the election. Michele Drummond is currently serving as city tax collector.

Candidates interested in filling any of these positions may begin filing for the office December 24 at 8:00 a.m. at the Memphis City Hall. The filing period will remain open, during regular business hours, until January 21 at 5:00 p.m.

Resignation

Police Chief Steve Snodgrass informed the council that officer Mike Steeples had submitted a letter of resignation from the force effective December 1.

Citizen Participation

Memphis residents Alan and Tammy Adams were present at the council meeting to request action be taken on a nuisance problem in their neighborhood. The couple told the council they have filed numerous complaints regarding a barking dog and also had signed a complaint with the police department.

Marshall Snodgrass asked the parties to contact him directly in the future. He indicated the PD would issue a nuisance ticket to the dog's owners and that he will also call the health department to visit the home as there are other nuisance and sanitation issues at the residence.

Surplus Property

The council received bids on two pieces of surplus property. Three sealed bids were received for the old road oil distributor truck. The City of Downing had the high bid of $2,250. David Kirkpatrick had placed a bid of $254.99 and Larry Remley offered $150.65.

Two bids were received for a poly storage tank. Remley placed a bid of $150.50 and Kirkpatrick submitted a bid of $106.59.

The council voted 3-0 to accept the high bid from the City of Downing for the oil distributor as well as Remley's high bid on the surplus tank.

City Hall Renovations

Superintendent Roy Monroe addressed the council regarding plans for renovating the exterior of the City Hall building. The city had received bids for nova brick at approximately $0.70 per piece.

Monroe recommended the council consider using regular brick and vinyl siding for the project. He stated brick would likely cost $0.30 to $0.50 per piece. He also noted that he was unsure if the front of the building would support the weight of the nova brick.

Department Reports

LIGHT - A recent test ran at the Memphis City Light Plant will significantly increase the purchase credits the city receives for its power generation capabilities. As a member of the MoPEP cooperative between other municipal power suppliers in the state, Memphis purchases power jointly with all MoPEP members to secure better buying power.

Previously the city was receiving credits based on a 6.7 megs rating. The recent test secured a 9.3 megs rating for the city power plant, meaning Memphis will earn approximately $30,000 more in the credits earned per kilowatt hour generated.

Superintendent Dave Kittle stated the line crew has been installing a new tin roof on the department's warehouse with the assistance of the road crew. The linemen also have completed installation of the city's holiday decorations.

STREET - Superintendent Monroe informed the council of a request from Sandra Swearingen for a children playing sign in front of her residence where she runs a day care. The speed limit is 20 mph and is posted near the home. The council instructed Monroe to discuss the issue with her.

Monroe stated concrete had been poured at HUD housing and the entrance was to be reopened to the public November 11, 2002.

The street superintendent also talked with the council regarding regulations that will likely force the city to adopt an emergency spill plan for areas on city property where storage tanks are maintained.

Tri-State Construction Equip-ment Co. offered a 2002 Hypac series three ton roller for purchase by the city. Monroe stated the roller had been leased to MoDOT last year for $10,000. The piece has accumulated 83 hours of service and was priced at $24,250, less a $2,500 trade in and would include a full warranty as well as zero percent financing. Monroe noted the city had rented a roller during the summer at the cost of $1,350 for one week. He quoted the price of a comparable roller, a model with 400 hours and five years older at $19,500. The council voted 3-0 to purchase the roller utilizing a 24-month financing package.

WATER - Superintendent Dennis Howard provided the council with copies of a video tape regarding a proposal for cleaning and repairing the interior of the city's water tower. Howard said divers go inside the tank and clean the inside by scrubbing and vacuuming the sediment in the bottom of the tank without increasing the turbidity. Howard said the estimated cost of the job is $3,000. The council agreed to review the video and asked Howard to discuss the project with the city engineer.

POLICE-Snodgrass presented two bids for a copy machine for his office. After reviewing the $900 bids the council asked Snodgrass to seek bids for a smaller, tabletop copier in the $200 - $300 range.

Alderman Reports

Alderman Teresa Skinner presented a request for a special parking sign in front of Treasured Moments for elderly customers. The owner indicated the store's parking frontage is often taken by employees of area businesses leaving her elderly customers no place to park and preventing them from accessing the business. The council voted to place a handicapped parking sign in front of the store.

Skinner also presented information from the fire department regarding replacing the three overhead doors at the fire station. The department had already replaced one door, which had become inoperable. The council agreed the department should seek bids and have the other two doors replaced as well.

The alderman requested that Marshall Snodgrass speak with the property owners at the corner of Lincoln and Lover's Lane requesting they trim a tree which blocks the view for traffic to the east.

Mayor's Report

Mayor Ron Alexander presented the council with information from City Attorney John Slavin regarding a state statute change involving collection of delinquent taxes. County collector Kathy Becraft provided the city information that the rate for collecting delinquent accounts had increased from five percent to seven percent. Slavin recommended the city make a change to reflect the price increase, changing the contract with the county to reflect the seven percent charge. The council voted 3-0 to approve the contract change to seven percent for collecting delinquent accounts.

Alexander also presented information to the council regarding the Citizen Corps group, which organizes various community involvement activities such as neighborhood watch programs, and volunteers in police.

Executive Session

The council voted to end the four p.m. to midnight shift at the light plant effective immediately.

In other business the council agreed to advertise for openings with the police department.

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