SFD Adds New Firefighter to Ranks
Monday night's City Council meeting led off with awards recognizing three firefighters and two water department employees.
Battalion Chief Kenneth Schleselman has served 30 years with the Sedalia Fire Department.
Senior Operations Technician David Murray has served 30 years at the Sedalia Water Department.
Filtration Plant Operator Bryan Allen has served five years at the Sedalia Water Department.
Andrew Allen officially became a firefighter after a badge-pinning ceremony performed by his wife Leslie.
Firefighter Donnie Sattler (30 years) was not in attendance Monday night.
Also not in attendance was Sedalia Mayor Andrew Dawson, and City Administrator Kelvin Shaw. In their place Monday night was Mayor Pro Tem Rhiannon Foster and IT Director Monte Richardson, who presided over the one hour, 42-minute meeting.
Under Public Safety, Dannelle Lauder then gave Council a presentation on the upcoming Pettis County Joint Communications budget.
Lauder said that her department is fully staffed, but not yet fully trained.
Joint Communications receives an average of 2,000 calls per week, between administrative calls and 911 calls, which makes her department a very busy one for a small community like Sedalia, Lauder noted.
Response time for answering a 911 call at Pettis County Joint Communications is 3.9 seconds, she said.
Lauder made a pitch to Council for the purchase and implementation of a NexGen 911 platform. The current system was built in 1968 and parts are no longer available, she said.
Lauder also proposed a wage increase in her department, adding that the last increase occurred in August of 2022. The increase would be no more than three percent.
There are a total of $435,202.43 in total proposed expenditures for 2024, which will leave a deficit of $30,216.19, with the current projected revenue stream, Lauder told the Council.
SPD recently received a donation of $1600 from Sonny Broyles of Preuitt Insurance to pay for lighting for the department's bike patrol unit. A budget amendment was approved to formally appropriate the funds for that use.
The SFD received an Assistance to Firefighters grant recently to purchase dual-band radios and repeaters for the department to allow for communication with other departments. Council approved the grant Sept. 5.
A budget amendment is based on a total project amount of $101,006.54 and a maximum grant award amount of $91,824.12, which was derived from a quote for the equipment prior to making the grant application. In the meantime, however, the quote expired, along with a price increase announced by the manufacturer. Therefore an increase of $7,908.70 is needed to make the purchase, as the grant amount will stay the same, making the grand total of the purchase $108.915.24.
SPD Chief Matt Wirt has identified yet another grant opportunity through Missouri's Homeland Security that can be used for communications equipment. The cost of the equipment is around $81,000 and the grant, if it is ultimately awarded, would offset half of that cost. Council approved a resolution authorizing application for the grant through the American Rescue Plan Act for the SPD.
Fire Chief Irwin located another grant opportunity through the Department of Public Safety that could be used to offset half the cost of a new fire station, as Central Fire is at the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced, it was noted. The new facility will be used for training firefighters as well.
Under Public Works, Council heard from department head Chris Davies for strategic planning purposes concerning, street, sanitation, mowing and alley maintenance.
The City applied for and was awarded a “Safe Streets For All” grant through MoDOT. The grant will cover $200,000 of the estimated $250,000 cost of a project to provide expert transportation consulting and design work to gather data, analyze it and prepare designs to mitigate dangers to the driving public.
Public Works recommends using Wilson and Company at a cost of $239,605 for their services, which is under the budgeted amount.
The City has been working hard to bring the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant up to standards as required by the DNR. In 2019, the City refinanced the debt issued in 2010 and were able to add $5M of new money, without increasing payment amounts.
Upgrades to the plant will cost $2,500,000. Since then, the plant has experienced more equipment failures. Staff recommends moving forward with a design-build contract with Burns and McDonnell for $2,967,949. Another half million will be spent for other needed equipment with long lead times, it was noted.
Mayor Andrew Dawson declared an emergency purchase for a boiler system that has failed at the water filtration plant. A local vendor was located that said it could find a replacement system for $56,000. Council approved a budget amendment for this purchase.
Only one firm responded to a request for qualifications for an on-call engineer arrangement at Sedalia Regional Airport. The consulting firm, H. W. Lochner, is the same one the City has worked with for years, it was noted.
Staff recommended adding the position of “Asset Management Director” who will report directly to City Administrator Kelvin Shaw. Much of the duties the new person will perform is now being contracted out. So the new position will ultimately save money and cause less downtime, it was theorized. The person currently being looked at has extensive experience and knowledge handling public safety vehicles, most notably fire apparatuses. A salary for the new position was not mentioned.
Under Finance and Administration, a general election was called for April 2, 2024 for one Councilman to be elected from each of the four wards in the City.
In addition, a bond election was called for Feb. 6, 2024, to help fund the North Sewer Plant needs. The plant was built in the 1940s, and the technology there will simply not meet the state and federal standards for cleaning water before discharging it. A combined capital budget is not to exceed $60 million, it was noted.
A State Revolving Fund is available for grants and low-interest loans for these types of projects, City officials noted. Tax-exempt bonds would charge roughly half of the current market rate, but voters must approve the borrowing. A deadline of March 1 is set for submitting an application.
A clarification for City policies concerning sick leave buy-back qualifications was discussed Monday night. For employees to qualify, they must not have used more than five days of sick leave over the past year.
Policies concerning purchasing requirement for federal grants was also discussed and updated.
Under Community Development, Council approved an ordinance concerning abatements that occur when property owners fail to comply with property maintenance standards. The costs associated with that work are then charged to the property owners as a special tax bill that is collected the same way other Real Estate taxes are levied on the property. The Pettis County Collector will issue and collect the special tax bills. This year the grand total is $153,806.51 to be reimbursed to the City for abatement work.
In May of 2021, Council gave mobile food vendors the option to purchase three-day permits for special events, etc., rather than buy a permit good for a whole year. An annual license costs $160, while a three-day license is $25. The amount was inadvertently not added to City Code at the time, so an updated ordinance was approved by Council.
One new liquor license was approved. Paige Shearer dba "The Local Tap" (Craft Beer Cellar) 700 South Ohio, for liquor by the drink, $450.
Two renewals were approved, including Cathy Goetz dba Break Time #3084, 318 W. Broadway, for packaged liquor, $150; and Phillip Sherman dba Dollar General #19535, 4215 E. Broadway, for packaged liquor, $150.
Council then adjourned to closed-door session for discussion concerning legal advice, Real Estate, Personnel, Negotiation With Employee Groups and Negotiated Contracts.
In the top photo: Sedalia Firefighter Andrew Allen is pinned by his wife Leslie during a brief ceremony held Monday night at the Municipal Building, 2nd and Osage.
Sedalia City Council
Gallery Credit: Randy Kirby
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