Monday night's City Council meeting led off with four public hearings.

The first hearing dealt with the proposed Fiscal Year 2023-24 Budget. One man spoke of the need for a black history museum in Sedalia. "Black history is American history," he said.

The second dealt with the City of Sedalia Midtown and West 50 TIF (Tax Increment Financing) Plans. Community Development Director John Simmons provided Council with a progress report on each of the TIF plans currently in use.

Simmons noted such businesses as Big O Tire, Aspen Dental and Scooters that have opened since 2019, and Slim Chickens will be opening for business in April as well.

Additional land is still available at the intersection of West 50, Main and Oak Grove, he said.

"The assessed valuation added to the redevelopment project is $402,630. This figure  will increase with the addition of the Slim Chickens valuation," Simmons said.

As for the Midtown TIF, the JA Lamy building was added in 2018, and the Trust Building construction is expected to be completed in the next 30 to 60 days. The Broadway Arms demolition, Ohio Streetscape and Liberty Center, as well as new businesses such as The Chubby Hairstylist, From Bleak To Chic, Happiness Handcrafts, Wild Jade and Syndicate Armory, are all part of that. The Midtown TIF has added $3,959,170 to the assessed valuation of the district.

The Midtown TIF district has received payments in lieu of taxes since its inception of $1,446,482.

The third hearing concerned the raising of City sewer rates by 9.5 percent and water rates by 5 percent. It was noted that most of the increase is due to the need to replace aging infrastructure, including the North Wastewater Treatment Plant. DNR has given the City a deadline to bring the plant into compliance within the next couple of years.

Speaking against the rate hikes was Cheryl Lange, 3401 Anderson Ave.

“I have a question for you guys. Do you want to clean up this town?
Do you want to make it look better? Well we have to start with our trash department. For one, our trash cans are absolutely the worst eye sore in this town. You guys think that getting those trash cans made this town better? It does not … they're the ugliest things around,” Lange told the Council.

“You want to charge us more money. You want to raise the rates. That's fine, but I want better service. Right now, my neighborhood is trashed up the street from the trash cans to the hydraulic fluid that is coming out of the trucks,” Lange said. “I pay a lot in taxes, and I keep my house looking extremely well. Okay? I probably have one of the nicer houses in that neighborhood, and I want to keep it that way. But you guys are devaluing our property, and I'm tired of it.”

The fourth hearing was an annex petition for Deer Brook Villas, Phase 4. Council is required to wait at least 14 days after the hearing to consider adoption of the ordinance.

Dianne Simon, representing EW Thompson Investments, which filed the petition, updated the Council, saying that 38 units are being added to the already existing 122, for a total of 160 at Deer Brook Villas.

Ezra Steinmeyer then took center stage in a badge-pinning ceremony for the Sedalia Fire Department. He was pinned tonight by his sister after completing his probationary packet and required certifications.

Council then accepted the meeting minutes from the Citizen's Traffic Advisory Commission from Feb. 15.

Final budget amendments were considered by Council for FY 2023-24.

New sewer usage fee rates were then approved by Council by a vote of 6-2, with Council members Boggess and Cross voting no.

New water usage fee rates were then approved by Council with Council members Boggess and Cross voting no.

The new rates become effective April 1.

Council then adopted the final budget for FY 2023-24.

A five-year Capital Improvement Plan was then adopted by Council.

Council then adopted a revised financial management policy and repealed Ordinance 11519. One major update concerns preventing and investigating fraud, and the other raises the limit from $10,000 to $25,000 before a formalized bid process is required for purchases.

Council then approved a $140,000 donation to EDSPC, an annual appropriation for economic development for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2024.

Council then approved a $10,000 annual appropriation to the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Foundation for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2024. This year's festival is scheduled for May 31 – June 3.

Under Public Safety, Council accepted bids for four SPD vehicles and one SFD vehicle, for a total cost of $209,866.00. Mayor Dawson authorized the use of emergency purchase procedures to allow the purchase of replacement vehicles for both departments.

Under Public Works, Council approved a $108,184 agreement with Micro-Comm, Inc., for an upgrade to the SCADA System for Water Treatment and Distribution. The current package has been in use for 22 years and needs to be replaced  and upgraded. The software monitors water production and delivery, and sends alarms to the operators when anything is out of the specified limits.

Community Development had no report Monday night.

In other business, Council accepted the resignation of Jan Summers from the Sedalia Park Board, effective immediately. For the past several months, Summers had not attended the monthly Park Board meetings in person but rather took part by speaker phone. March 9 was her last meeting. Former Councilman Jeff Wimann was appointed to complete Summers' term, which expires June of 2025.

Four liquor license renewals were approved Monday night:

*Mandeep Kaur dba Sedalia 66, 120 E. 16th, for packaged liquor and Sunday sales, $450
*John Swearingen dba JA Lamy Manufacturing Co., 108 West pacific, for liquor by the drink, $450

*Scott Hewett dba Colton's Steakhouse and Grill, 4101 West Broadway, for liquor by eth drink and Sunday sales, $750

*Daniel S. Fox dba Smoker Friendly, 1700 West Broadway, for packaged liquor and Sunday sales, $450.

Under Miscellaneous Items, Councilman Chris Marshall said he would like to see improvements made to the City's alleyways, in particular the ones with gravel that have numerous potholes and washouts from rain. "It's a big concern for a lot of our residents," he said.

Mayor Pro Tem Tina Boggess noted that illness has taken Marge Harlan away from running the Rose M. Nolen Library on a daily basis. "It does need some type of assistance in order to stay open," she said.

Under Good & Welfare, Steve Zimmerly, 22735 Highway T, complained to Council about not being able to use the Materials Management site on Highway U to dump his brush. He said he felt he was being discriminated against. "We can't use the brush dump any more. I got a real problem with this the way it's been rolled out," he told Council. "But there's three contractors that are still dumping out there."

Cheryl Lange, 3401 Anderson Ave., in the Katy Trail Estates, complained to Council about the fiber optics companies digging up residents' lawns. "It is utterly repulsive to drive down our city streets and see what these companies have done. In my personal neighborhood, for six months, there have been piles of dirt laying on tarps in people's yards, holes that are open for anybody to fall in, whether it is a child, a person, a dog, whatever it is. Why? You guys brought 'em in," Lange said.

Mayor Dawson jumped in at that point and said, "Let me stop you right there. By state law, we have to give them access to our right of way. We didn't ask for any of them to come here."

Dan Lowe, 510 West 4th, complained to Council about dogs in his neighborhood running loose. "I myself have been attacked by dogs on five different occasions, and bitten twice by dogs in Sedalia, and once by a dog in Green Ridge. In each case, I was always on a public sidewalk or right of way or at my home, standing on my own property,": he said. "I had a right to be there, the dog did not. All five attacks were unprovoked."

Council then adjourned to closed-door session for legal advice, Real Estate matters and negotiated contracts.

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