Sedalia Council Hears Five Presentations
Monday night's 98-minute City Council meeting featured five presentations from department heads, including OATS, Finance, Animal Services, Airport and Community Development.
Each explained to Sedalia Council members the need for their service, what level of service is being provided and future strategic plans.
But first of all, a public hearing that generated no comments was held concerning annexation of Highway H Property LLC.
That was followed by a proclamation read aloud by Sedalia Mayor Andrew Dawson marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Municipal Building on Nov. 18, 1973.
“It's been 50 years in this building,” commented John Simmons, “and it's now eligible to be considered historic.” He added that a huge celebration was originally planned to commemorate the anniversary.
The Sedalia Fire Department then took center stage, where four firefighters were presented with Life Save Awards by Chief Matt Irwin. They included Captain Greg Smith, Engineer Kyle Rupe and Firefighters Tim Borden and Tony Turner.
Two SPD officers were then honored with Crisis Intervention Training Awards.
After accepting the Citizens Traffic Advisory Commission minutes and the Planning and Zoning minutes from October, Council heard the first presentation from Tracy Walkup, MBA, CCTM, Midwest Regional Director for OATS, covering 13 counties.
OATS has operated since 1973 as a non-profit covering 87 counties in Missouri, Walkup said.
OATS is not actually a department of the City, but rather an “outside service provider” it should be noted.
Walkup said that the transportation service was originally known locally as Citizens Low-cost Intra-city Carriers. The City began subsidizing the service to the tune of $44,000 per year, and passenger fare was 75 cents. Four federally funded vehicles were put into service.
The fiscal year that ended June 30 saw OATS provide 59,939 local one-way trips in 13 counties. Passenger fare is now $2.50. Total direct cost per mile in Sedalia was $8.37. Direct cost for the service was over $475,000, Walkup said.
She added that 10.9 percent of homes in Sedalia do not have a car.
OATS has been located at the Amtrak Depot since 2009, and makes lease payments to the City for the use of the building.
The City of Sedalia provides $25,000 to OATS for operating subsidies, which is just under 50 cents per trip.
All federal funds require a 50-percent match.
“Sedalia stands out because not very many rural communities have six-day-a-week service,” Walkup said. “We start around 4 a.m., and we run until 6 p.m.”
Finance Director Jessica Pyle then provided Council with an update.
“We are looking at numbers from September sales tax,” Pyle pointed out. “Net sales and use tax for fiscal year to date is up over the prior year of over $222,000, or 1.9 percent.”
“We had budgeted a four percent increase, so I'm comparing those two numbers (fiscal year to date) to our budget variance, and we're off by $249,000, and that's growing, month over month. We're trending down in sales tax,” Pyle told Council.
In December, Pyle expects to see reporting of marijuana tax. Voters approved a three percent sales tax and collecting on that money began in October.
Franchise tax collection over the prior year is up nearly $434,000, and that includes the Charter class action settlement ($377,000). The additional $50,000 is due to electricty tax, Pyle explained.
Transportation taxes are higher fiscal year to date, she noted, due to the gasoline taxes, which is up 13.3 percent over last year.
“We had seen vehicle sales trending higher, but that has flattened recently,” Pyle said.
The bulk of the Property Tax will come in December and January, and Pyle expects that will trend higher than last year.
Council then approved a budget amendment and purchase for detection and remediation services through a grant that IT Manager Monte Richardson secured. The services will make the City's networks more secure, it was noted. Total cost is $9,110.35.
The City agreed to contract with an engineering firm to address environmental concerns at 600 and 125 North Harding, where the railroad shops once operated. The City desires to redevelop the property, but a Phase II environmental study needs to be conducted first. Cost is $35,425.
Animal Services Manager Randi Batson gave Council an update, showing 49 dog kennels and 96 cat kennels at the facility, located on South New York. The building was made possible by the Heckart Foundation and the Hayden family, Batson noted.
Batson said she has two full-time shelter attendants -- Amy Close and Jennifer Alleman – Animal Control Officer Troy Schneider, and Madysen Jefferies, who splits her time between being a shelter attendant and an animal control officer.
“We are open from noon to 5 Monday through Saturday, but we do have employees there seven days a week, every single day of the year caring for the animals,” she said, adding that Animal Control operates a minimum of 1 to 5 p.m., six days a week.
Batson went on to show Council stats from previous years, comparing them to the current year (see slides).
Sedalia Regional Airport Manager Derrick Dodson then gave his presentation, noting that his staff handles 8,000 to 11,00 operations per year, and 22 to 30 operations daily, on average.
Dodson went on to show Council numerous stats on the airport (see slides), including updates and furture plans.
He noted that several local companies regularly fly their executives into Sedalia, companies such as Nucor, Stanley Black & Decker, Owens Corning, Maxion Wheels, WireCo, Primrose Retirement, Packers Sanitation, to name just a few.
Dodson said that SRA can be more competitive than most private operations, due to a lower overhead.
New signs have been installed on the roadway to the airport.
The old terminal, which housed a renter for the past two years, is now empty and remodeling plans are underway to make it into a two-bedroom suite for pilots. It can also be rented during the annual Missouri State Fair.
A Young Eagles Fly-in was held earlier this year, which flew about 86 children that day, Dodson said.
Council then approved the purchase of a remote-controlled lawn mower from RC-Mowers (Wisconsin) at a cost of $67,762.50 for Public Works to use on steep slopes that are too dangerous for personnel to ride on. Examples included the Spring Fork Lake dam, the Nucor Rail Spur, equalization basins and certain drainage ditches.
The dealer is located in Independence, Mo.
Council then approved the purchase of two Chevy 2500 trucks for the Water Division of Public Works at a cost of $67,000.
A new position was added to Public Works as well to conduct utility locales.
Council then heard yet another presentation, this time from Community Development Director John Simmons and Chief Building Official Devin Lake.
Council postponed a special use permit request from Twilight Motors, 204 E. 24th, which is currently zoned for C-1. The owner, Nicholas Dilthey, originally requested rezoning, however, staff recommended a special use permit, which would be more appropriate in this particular case.
Confusion about what was included in a GIS Flyover for the City resulted in a renegotiation for services requested.
Staff thought the $225,900 price included three flyovers in a six-year period, when in fact it was the price of just one.
A lower resolution flyover was agreed upon, with the resulting cost at $305,199 over the next six years.
The company, Pictometry International Corp., dba Eagleview, is located in Henrietta, New York.
The Sedalia Motorcycle Association recently made a $250 donation to the Sedalia DARE program, making the grand total raised this year $21,900.34.
And finally, Fred Gates was named the new director of asset management for the City of Sedalia.
First Ward Councilman Tom Oldham was absent from the meeting.
Council then adjourned to closed-door session.
Council meets again Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited.
Gallery Credit: Randy Kirby