The Sedalia City Council met for the first time in 2024 Tuesday night, leading off with a couple of awards presented to residents.

Special awards went to the winners in the City of Sedalia's 2023 Christmas Light Contest, including first place winners Roger & AJ Davis, 1612 W. 4th, $100; Second place winner Kevin Walker, 700 W. Broadway, $50 (not present); and third place winner Linda Meek, 1908 E. Broadway, $25.

Under Finance and Administration, EDSPC Executive Director Jessica Craig gave her annual report to Council. The City currently provides $140,000 to EDSPC annually.

Craig highlighted some of the major economic development progress that was made in Pettis County in 2023 during her 10-minute presentation.

EDSPC own offices moved from the US Bank building on West 50 to downtown Sedalia to the Lamy's building, 108 West Pacific, Suite 203.

EDSPC is searching for a replacement for Economic Specialist Sydnae Cavness after she resigned her position last month.

Craig, who noted that Tuesday night was her eighth annual appearance before the Council as executive director of EDSPC, said that in recent years, EDSPC has worked with existing and new companies to produce 1,028 new jobs, retain 1,698 jobs, with $418 million in capital improvements, with an average salary of $46,674.

Some of the major success stories from 2023 include a $45 million, 115,000-square-foot expansion of Prysmian Group, which created 60 new jobs, while retaining 215 jobs.

Simcote Inc., began construction on an $18 million, 67,000-square-foot manufacturing facility near Nucor, hiring 35 new employees.

Allen Industries transformed a 96-000-square foot warehouse at 1001 North Grand into a new, expanded headquarters and manufacturing facility, with 48 retained jobs and 48 new jobs. Allen's original location was on Wingate Road south of Sedalia just south of Route F.

Tri-L Manufacturing, 800 Market Street, underwent a merger with Precision Manufacturing to keep the company open and operating in Pettis County. Tri-L purchased Precision, Craig explained. They are located in Allen Industries' backyard near Grand and US 65 Highway, she noted. An open house is planned for Tri-L.

In 2023, EDSPC facilitated 19 meetings with businesses in Sedalia and Pettis County, responded to 21 requests for proposals from businesses seeking to relocate, possibly to Sedalia, and led 10 site visits for prospective companies.

EDSPC honored 23 companies observing five-year milestones in the fall with a Manufacturer's Milestone Banquet at the Sedalia Country Club. Also at that event, David Curry was honored for his dedicated service to economic development over the past 50 years.

Craig teased that three more projects will be announced soon by EDSPC. She thanked her “Eco Devo” team for their ongoing support for economic development in the area.

Council then heard from Community Development Director John Simmons, who presented for the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Foundation. The City currently provides $10,000 to the Joplin Foundation annually. Simmons is the president of the Foundation.

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During his seven-minute presentation, Joplin Foundation Board President Simmons noted that the annual ragtime festival is the largest of its kind and is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024.

The 2023 live music festival attracted over 30 performers, and generated $162,108 in economic impact. The foundation now owns its own pianos, having purchased five new ones this past year, negating the need to rent them for the four-day festival, scheduled for May 29 through June 1.

Simmons noted that the top-notch performers don't charge their normal fee, but rather a discounted one, when attending the Scott Joplin Festival. “They want to be in Sedalia, they want to soak up the history and walk the streets that Scott Joplin walked,” Simmons told the Council. “So we're very lucky to have them here.”

He also credited the volunteers who work very hard every year to make the festival happen.

With generous donations from a certain individual, Simmons said the music festival is “very well positioned to continue our mission.”

The festival attracted music lovers from 26 states, and last year sold 947 tickets. The year before only saw 643 tickets sold, due to a lingering effect from the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival was canceled in 2020 and 2021. Simmons said the 2023 festival saw near-normal sales figures once again.

Council then passed a resolution concerning the 2024 Pettis County Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan. EMA Director Trisha Rooda coordinates the efforts of several organizations that help mitigate the effects of these hazards. Grants are an essential part of the process, which includes a cooperative agreement with Pettis County. Council approved the adoption of the updated plan.

Under Public Works, Sedalia Parks & Rec Director Amy Epple gave her strategic planning presentation to Council.

Epple spotlighted the top 10 achievements of Parks & Rec in 2023. She said she and her staff originally had a list of 30, but had to pare it down to 10.

Epple also shined a spotlight on the Heckart Community Center, noting that Parks and Rec always did well from April through October, but with the addition of the Heckart, activities are well attended throughout the year. She noted that the Heckart now has a little over 7,000 members.

Light Up Liberty continues to be a huge success, with more displays added this year.

All are lit by LED lights, which are left on 24/7 for practical and security reasons. The lights help keep the ground moisture at bay, and also helps prevent vandalism of the displays at Liberty Park, which was a problem in previous years when they were turned on & off via timer. “This year we haven't had any issues (with vandalism),” Epple told the Council. Plus, the LEDs use much less electricity overall than the older style of Christmas lights. “It's much cheaper for us to keep them on.”

Parks & Rec is in the process of phasing out the older style of lights at the various parks & replacing them with LED, Epple said during her 15-minute presentation.

Completion of Liberty Park Stadium improvements is expected this fall, with paved parking, dugout improvements and artificial turf over the entire baseball field.

The new Liberty Flyer train is expected to be delivered by the end of January.

Parks & Rec currently employs a little over 175 people, Epple noted. And that reflects the growing numbers of participants in programs and activities. A total of 20 new programs were added to the offerings this past year, and over 100 trees were planted in the parks system.

Plans for 2024 and 2025 include breaking ground for a new outdoor aquatics facility, encouraging more corporate membership at the Heckart, hiring a grant facilitator, more parking on Liberty Park Boulevard next to the Heckart, remodeling Convention Hall, and adding a program coordinator.

Council then approved the rental of a trailer-mounted belt press at a cost of $20,000 per month.

The City was placed under a consent order by the DNR to help bring the City back into compliance at the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant due to an ongoing of an essential function at the plant over the past two years. It is anticipated that the belt press will be needed for between eight months to a year, potentially costing the City up to $240,000 as a result.

To buy a new one would cost around a half million dollars, City Administrator Kelvin Shaw said, in response to a question from Third Ward Councilman Bob Cross.

Under Public Safety, Council approved an amendment to the City's overtime compensation policy, specifically pertaining to OT for police officers, who earn 1.5 times their normal rate. Available grants would increase that amount to double their normal rate to entice more officers to participate in overtime duties.

One liquor license was renewed Tuesday night for Mary J. Stewart dba American Legion Post 642, 2016 W. Main Street, for Sunday Liquor Sales, $300.

Under Good & Welfare, Senior Center rep Rene Vance approached the Council about sponsorship money in the form of $2500, in addition to the $500 she asked for at the last Council session. The reason is to help celebrate the Senior Center's 50th anniversary in 2024. Vance noted that former Sedalia Mayor Jerry Jones attended the grand opening in 1974.

Vance also noted the Senior Center's monthly fund-raising dinner, this time featuring fried chicken at a cost of $12 per person.

Upon completion of Vance's presentation and request, Impact Signs owner David Goodson stood up & offered a $500 donation to the Center for their meals program. Vance graciously accepted.

Second Ward Councilman Chris Marshall was absent from Tuesday night's proceedings. Fourth Ward Councilman Steve Bloess was 22 minutes late arriving Tuesday night.

Council then adjourned after their 50-minute meeting, with no closed-door session this time.

A yearly strategic planning session is scheduled for this Saturday in the Council Chambers starting at 8:30 a.m., and continuing to around 2:30 p.m. The public is welcome to attend and listen to this “major workshop.” All department heads are required to attend the session.

Council meets again on a Tuesday (16th) due to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday on Monday, the 15th. The public is invited and the meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.

Council Jan 2

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