The Sedalia City Council made a few last-minute changes or amendments and adopted a budget for Fiscal Year 2024-25 at its March 18th meeting.

The vote was seven yes and one absent (Councilman Tom Oldham).

A five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) was also adopted Monday night as well.

The exact placement of a proposed new fire station in Sedalia was of utmost concern for several individuals, including Second Ward Councilwoman Tina Boggess, who said that with the adoption of a new budget, which includes funding for a fire station, it does not indicate where it will be located.

“I just want everyone to know that I am 100 percent behind discussing where that next station will be at,” she said emphatically, adding that approval of the budget “is not the final word on where that fire station will be at.”

In fact, there is a meeting scheduled for April 3 at the Lincoln-Hubbard Building, Boggess noted, starting at 3:45 p.m., to discuss where the new Sedalia Fire Station should be located.

During a chance for the public to comment on the proposed budget, Alona Boggess-Reid expressed her concerns about the Washington Street Railroad Bridge, which remains closed (due to rusted support beams) and cuts off access to the north part of Sedalia, leaving only Ohio and Limit as open thoroughfares, provided there is no train on the tracks at the Ohio crossing.

She also spoke about the new fire station.

“We do need one on the north side of town, especially now with the viaduct being closed. If a fire happens, how is the fire department going to get there in time, before we lose our property or even our families and our lives?” she asked Council.

“My mother's house, the house I was born and raised in, was destroyed by fire about four or five years ago, and that can happen again, because the homes are old over there. I just want to give another example. Most of you know Loretta Emerson, she's very special to me. She's 95 years of age. She lives alone. She lives on Jefferson Street, just a couple of blocks north of the railroad tracks. And from Moniteau all the way to Washington, there is absolutely no homes there at all. Her house is the only one,” Boggess-Ried said.

If her house caught fire ,”she could lose her life, because the viaduct is closed and no one could get to her in time, you know, you have to go way around town, probably on South Limit … and that is a lot of time that is wasted, so we're just pleading and begging you, and on behalf of the residents on the north side of town, and I also speak as president of the NAACP, we really, really need your help, and we deserve to be safe, too.” Boggess-Reid concluded, to the sound of applause by a packed gallery of onlookers.

During the Good & Welfare portion of the meeting in which citizens are allowed three minutes each to address Council, downtown business owner Harry Hoefert also expressed his concerns about the Washington Bridge closure.

“How come we can't tone out the county fire department out here, just on the other side of Main Street and work together?” Hoefert asked, suggesting that Pettis County Fire respond from its headquarters on North 65 Highway for any fires north of the bridge until the bridge is repaired.

He also said he was tired of the bickering between the county and the city. “It don't make us look worth a hoot,” he told Council.

Nancy VanBurnen also expressed her concern about Washington Bridge being closed, and how first responders have to take the Highway 65 Bridge to reach victims on the north side, which affects response time.

“If someone can't breathe, or have overdosed, or children get hit by a car, and we're waiting 10 minutes for an ambulance or police officer to come down Highway 65 and around, somebody's going to die,” she told Council.

Estella Frazier spoke on tornado safety now that twister season is upon us. “The people in the north part of the city have no place to go when a tornado comes, to be safe. So I would like to see the tornado shelter (at 200 East Clay) used,”Frazier said, adding that water had seeped into the facility on previous occasions. “It was locked, you couldn't get in it, and also, it has no chairs in it for people to sit on.”

There are a total of nine tornado shelters in Pettis County.

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Ernestine Fletcher asked Council if any road work is planned for the east side of the Sedalia, particularly East Howard, noting that some streets are in desperate need of attention.

Kevin Lujin, President of the Pettis County Pachyderm Club, said he also works for the Windsor Review and is looking for stories he can cover. One future session for the club involves the Sunshine Law and how to access public records. The club meets every Friday at noon at the Heckart Community Center.

David Goodson said he wants feedback or dialogue from the Council when citizens address Council members during Good & Welfare. He also said that he is working with one of the best engineering firms in the state on his project at Main and Highway 50, and quoted the owner saying “We don't care if we ever do another job in Sedalia, Missouri.”

“That's the kind of thing we have going out there in the construction world and it really isn't good. I want each one of you to consider the decisions we're making and how we're making our city, our code enforcement and getting buildings built, because we are running businesses off. And I want to see Sedalia grow, I think everybody here does,” Goodson told Council, adding that he wants to see open dialogue happening in an open forum.

Goodson concluded that he is opposed to a four-year Council term, adding that he has plenty of “Vote No” signs available for anyone who wants some.

Gary Smith asked for more open discussion on proposed ordinances that are voted upon by Council at every meeting.

David Covington asked Council what the City's infrastructure goals are.

“We're looking for feedback,” Covington said. “What are your goals, what are your guidelines, where's the money going towards?”

Paula Walter told Council she is concerned about how everything east of the Post Office looks like a third-world country. She added that she would like to see a development plan for what that part of the City should look like in the future. “It's just horrendous, the way it looks,” Walter said, asking “what will be done about it, if anything.”

Walter, who is a native of Sedalia, said she is also concerned with the way South Kentucky and South Ohio looks south of Broadway.

“At one time, these main thoroughfares were super nice streets to travel,” Walter said, adding that degradation has since occurred in those areas.

Janet Mizansky, a 20-year resident of the very area Walter was speaking of on East 5th Street, expressed her concerns about people roaming the streets late at night.

She also is concerned about east Sedalia looks as you drive through town. “Why can't we give a little attention to the east and north side?” she asked, stating that most new development takes place on the west or south side of Sedalia.

“And another thing is, people are getting their properties taken away from them, because they can't remodel,” Mizansky said, adding that many residents are elderly and don't have the means to make needed repairs.

She said she would like to see a solution to the lack of development on the City's east and north side. Mizansky said she is pleased to see the proposed aquatic center coming to the old Sutherland's lot. “It used to be a homeless camp, before they cleaned it up,” she told Council. “We need to get some pride back in our area.”

Hal Krueger expressed his concerns and frustrations about vagrants living in vacant houses, making a mess. Krueger said he owns several properties in Sedalia. He wants to see law enforcement have more “teeth” to deter vagrants and the homeless from destroying other people's property.

Becca La Strada requested that a list of the City's monthly expenditures be published for residents to see, including credit card purchases by department heads for transparency's sake.

Dianne Simon, who lives in Cole Camp, but owns properties in Sedalia, questioned a $972,615.50 to last year's budget.

“So is this year's budget based on the newly-revised current budget?” she asked Council, adding that since sales tax revenue was down last year, what is the City expecting this coming year as far as sales tax. Simon said she is concerned about adding over $900,000 to the budget this late in the year.

Council meets again April 1. The public is invited.

-- In the top photo, Sedalia resident Estella Frazier speaks to Council March 18 concerning tornado shelter safety on the north side of town.

March 18 Council meeting

Gallery Credit: Randy Kirby

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