Sedalia Council Hears Six Presentations
A total of six presentations were on the Sedalia City Council's agenda Monday night at the Municipal Building, 2nd and Osage.
The presentations included Tracy Walkup from OATS, Financial Director Dawn Jennings, Sedalia Regional Airport Director Derrick Dodson, Community Development Director John Simmons with Chief Building Official Devin Lake, John Tiedt and Sarah Beth Thornton with Retail Strategies, and City Administrator Kelvin Shaw.
Walkup noted in her presentation that OATS is a 501 (c)(3) corporation founded in 1971 and covers 87 counties. Section 501 (c)(3) is the portion of the US Internal Revenue Code that allows for federal tax exemption of nonprofit organizations.
OATS is currently working at 75 percent of what is considered normal, post-COVID. And 75 percent of OATS employees are vaccinated, Walkup said, adding that she is having issues with buses. Most of them are 2019 models and she has eight new buses on order for 2022. Walkup said what she really needs is 40 new buses.
“It's a long road to get back to where we need to be,” she told Council.
TSA requires drivers and riders to wear masks while on the bus, Walkup noted. “It's been a rough 18 months,” she said of the lengthy COVID period.
“We are hiring,” Walkup noted. “I need five new drivers.” Drivers who apply must have a Class E (chauffers) license as a minimum requirement. “A CDL would be nice,” she added.
There's also a new OATS app available called “Where's My Ride?"
In her presentation, Jennings said that sales tax revenue for November was up 8.3 percent over the same time period last year.
Use tax is up 30.7 percent over last year, while transportation tax is down 32. percent.
Through October, a total of $13,386,130 in taxes have been collected so far by the City of Sedalia for Fiscal Year 2022, a 10.9 percent increase over last year.
In his report, Dodson noted that Sedalia Regional Airport sees between 8,000 and 11,000 operations annually. Daily operations vary between five and 50, he said.
A new 5,000-gallon Jet-A fuel truck that came online in September of 2020 has come in handy, Dodson told the Council, citing an instance in January when 11 Apache helicopters from Whiteman Air Force Base landed at Sedalia Regional and requested fuel. About 3,000 gallons were purchased, he said.
In fact, fuel sales is by far the number one revenue generator at the airport.
To date, fuel sales have reached $245,578 this year. That compares with $90,862 in 2020 and $215,263 in 2019.
A distant second place for revenue generators at the airport is maintenance at $44,115 so far this year, and $28,057 in hangar storage rental fees.
Dodson noted that pilots frequently look at fuel prices, which are posted online for airports around the country, as the number one factor in deciding where to land, followed by online comments by other travelers to Sedalia, followed by quality of service and accommodations.
Sedalia Regional is considered an FBO airport.
A fixed-base operator is “an organization granted the right by an airport to operate at the airport and provide aeronautical services such as fueling, hangaring, tie-down and parking, aircraft rental, aircraft maintenance, flight instruction, and similar services,” according to Wikipedia.
Sedalia Regional is currently in the construction phase to build a 65-by-65 box hangar.
The next project will be maintenance on the existing taxiway surface, followed by a new parallel taxiway for runway 18/36, and restoring runway 5/23.
Future plans Dodson would like to implement involve making rental planes available, in addition to starting up a flight school as well as a flight club for beginning students and experienced pilots.
The Sedalia Police Department established its own drone program in 2021. “They did a fantastic job,” Dodson commented.
The former Pro Energy building that the City bought in March is now full. Dodson provided photos in his presentation that showed the building at capacity, as well as photos of some of the expensive private jets that stopover in Sedalia for refueling, with some overnight stays.
A ground power unit has been used several times to power up aircraft, especially in the cold winter months, Dodson noted.
“We are more competitive than a private facility,” Dodson told the Council. However, there is currently no commercial air service offered at Sedalia Regional. But the way things are progressing, it's possible that could change in the future.
According to an old survey done in 2012 by MoDOT, Sedalia Regional Airport has a $3.63 million economic impact on the area. “I'm sure that's grown,” Dodson quipped.
Dodson encouraged anyone with an interest in the airport to come out and “take a look.” Call 826-4128 for more information.
In their presentation, Tiedt and Thorton from Retail Strategies said their ultimate goal is to bring more tax revenue to the City.
Retail Strategies currently represents Maryville and Moberly. The two will attend a conference in Vegas soon that focuses on the commercial Real Estate industry.
Downtown Sedalia received a "walkability" rating of 65 from Retail Strategies. With their help, they said they could raise that to 80. The firm plans to catalog every available commercial Real Estate property in Pettis County.
An ordinance amending the Personnel Regulations manual of the City of Sedalia was approved, which affects disciplinary hearings, the City Ward Map and victims of domestic and sexual violence. Justin Meyer read the ordinance Monday night in City Clerk Arlene Silvey's absence.
Council awarded a bid to Williams Keepers, LLC, of Columbia, for audit work for the next three years. They were the low bidder out of four.
Council approved an agreement with Epoxy Coating Specialists to resurface the walls and floors at the Sedalia Animal Shelter in the amount of $53,800.
An epoxy coating will be applied to the floors and walls where the dogs are housed. The coating is a much more durable surface than concrete floor and painted block walls, it was noted, due to the dogs' scratching. The epoxy also covers the porous building materials to help facilitate more effective and efficient disinfection at the animal shelter, it was noted.
Epoxy Coating Specialists were the lone bid received after the City sent out requests for proposals. Only $50,000 was budgeted for this procedure. City staff worked with the vendor to reduce the square footage coated, to the most critical areas where dogs are housed regularly, subtracting the lobby and cat areas. The coating has a five-year warranty, Shaw said.
The City was awarded a grant to purchase a thermal imaging monocular for $4,999 for the Sedalia Police Department. The device will assist officers responding to terrorism. It was noted that the SPD participates in a training program through the Missouri Office of Homeland Security.
Council approved extending Autumn Avenue from Liberty Park Boulevard to Main Street to accommodate the increased traffic expected when the Heckart Community opens in March.
Engineering Surveys and Services has agreed to grant the City the right-of-way needed to complete the street construction.
Council approved a $22,200 bid from Martin Energy Group for preventive maintenance and checks of generator equipment to keep the City running during a power outage. Martin Energy was the low bidder of three.
Wilson and Company was approved by Council for on-call engineering services for $13,700 concerning the new Katy Trail Community Health facility currently under construction at Main and Kentucky. Voids under the sidewalks were found, therefore a solution is needed to upgrade the sidewalk and curbing, and prevent damage to area buildings.
Council granted a special use permit to KGI Wireless on behalf of Verizon Wireless, to install a 150-foot “monopole” tower at 1807 W. Broadway, to enhance cellular and broadband services through Verizon.
The proposed project “would be consistent with the surrounding land use and is similar to other towers that have previously been approved.”
Council approved a re-zoning request for property located at 1300 E. 24th which will go from R-1 (single family) to R-3 (apartment house).
The agenda noted that the majority of the property is already zoned R-3, but a small triangle of land on one corner overlaps into R-1 zoning.
City Administrator Kelvin Shaw presented a plan from the Sedalia Redevelopment Corporation's Board of Directors concerning the “opportunity to provide tax abatement incentives to remove blight on properties within the redevelopment area,” referred to as Chapter 353.
One new liquor license was approved by Council for Herschel Whited dba VFW Post 2591, 121 South Ohio, for a picnic license, $37.50.
One liquor license renewal was approved for Cathy Geotz dba BreakTime #3084, 318 W. Broadway, for packaged liquor, $150.
Council adjourned to closed-door session for legal advice and Real Estate matters.
According to the agenda, Council was scheduled to return to open meeting to approve a right-of-refusal ordinance.
In the top photo, Tracy Walkup with OATS gives her presentation to Sedalia City Council Monday night.