The El Dorado Springs City Council met in regular session on Monday, Aug. 7, with all council members present: Mayor Brad True, Jim Luster, Randy Bland, Nick Bland and Jerry Baldwin. City Manager Bruce Rogers was present as was Glenda Baker, Jackson Tough, Marge Vance, Gary Gray and Kimball Long from the El Dorado Springs Sun and Robert Jackson from the Cedar County Republican.
After the regular opening of the meeting with the pledge, roll call, review of the previous minutes and written reports and communications, the floor was opened up for the Public Forum.
Publisher’s note – some of the issues brought up in the public forum were discussed after the public forum participants had left the council meeting. That information and additional information obtained after the meeting are included after the initial question. That information is set in parenthesis.
Glenda Baker asked two questions: What is progress of paying bills online? She said that Sac Osage, Nevada and Stockton have online bill pay.
Rogers said the city was not considering online bill pay, but had discussed accepting payment by credit and/or debit cards.
(Nevada and Sac Osage have on-line bill payments as well as automatic draft on a checking account or credit card. Stockton accepts credit or debit card payment in person or over the phone for a 5% transaction fee.)
Baker asked the mayor and city council members about what properties were scheduled for demolition and within what time frame. Rogers sad that he was compiling a list but wasn’t ready to publish it. Baker mentioned that she had asked the question of the mayor and city council. Mayor True said the Rogers deals with the day-to-day operation of the city and he has the answers. (He later said the Rogers is the city’s employee and is paid to handle city business.)
Cedar County Director of Economic Development Marge Vance said she had spoken with a man at the Picnic who lives in Arizona and has a couple of houses in El Dorado Springs. He would like to rehabilitate those houses but can’t afford to stay in a hotel. He would like to park his RV on the property while he works on the houses. Vance asked the council to consider waiving the ordinance prohibiting people from staying in recreational vehicles. Rogers said that there would have to be time constraints as to how long someone could stay. True said that he had talked to a mayor in another city that would not allow that. Luster said he wouldn’t want something like that next to his house. Baldwin said they could review the ordinance, but “you have to be careful.”
Jim Gray, 307 S. Grand, asked about running four wheelers on the city streets. He said he was concerned about kids riding four-wheelers in yards and streets. He said they were riding around their house and the one next door like it was a track. He said he had complained to the police but they have been unable to catch them and said they can’t do anything about it.
Gray said that they run up to 9:30 – 10 o’clock at night. He also said that the house at 300 S. Grand looks like a pig sty.
Gray also complained about tractor trailer rigs parking in front of the old shirt factory. Luster said the council would have Rogers look into his concerns. Luster also said, “the things you are talking about are improper. Keep calling and keep complaining.”
While Gray was talking, two women came in and sat on the back row of the council chamber. They were followed by a man that sat at the other end of the row of seat. The women began talking.
“Our whole town has a lack of enforcement,” one of them said. They mentioned dirt bikes and speeders. Randy Bland asked if the people doing these things were teenagers. The women said no. They also said they were tired of going by the Cop Shop and seeing police cars parked in the lot.
Luster, a former El Dorado Springs Police Chief said, “I take exception to your statement. I don’t think its fair to say there is no enforcement only that’s it not to your satisfaction.” (He also said later that when an officer brings someone in to the police station, they have to stay and do the paper work before going back out on the street.)
They also said there was no fear of or respect for law enforcement in El Dorado Springs.
Long asked for the women’s names and addresses. They refused to give them stating that when they complained in May about the same issue their names and addresses were on the front page of the paper. They felt they had been targeted by people in their neighborhood for complaining.
They asked how many police there were. The city of El Dorado Springs has seven police officers including the police chief.
One of them asked if there could be a sales tax issue put on the ballot for more law enforcement officers and clean up.
“Woods rate hikes us. We all know it – Woods won’t sell his empty store to another grocery store,” one of them said.
(Rogers contacted the Missouri Municipal League and asked if here is a law enforcement tax available for cities like there is for counties. There is not. Rogers did say that some cities have had one through special legislation.)
The women turned to the man in the black shirt. “What did Ty Gaither say about how Stockton solved their problem with run down properties?” Without necessarily attributing it to Gaither, the man said that Stockton had convince their slum landlords to raise the rent.
Long was recognized by the council and told the women that she understood their dilemma of not wanting to state their name and address. However, the council meeting was a public meeting. They said that if the rest of the public was interested that they should be at council meeting. Long said the she and Jackson were there to inform the public of what was going on. Long then turned the to the council and reminded them that several years ago they set the rules that would require someone speaking during the public forum to state their name and address and that there was a time limit of five minutes for statements that could be increased at the discretion of the council. She reminded them it was set up to eliminate chaos that ensues when everyone talks at once.
Mayor Brad True said the council had been lax in enforcement and immediately ended the public forum. Baker, Vance, the two women and the other man left the council chambers.
During the mayor/council report Luster stated that concerns with people speeding and driving recklessly are legitimate. He said it is also true the Police Department is undermanned and can only be expected to do so much. They need the manpower and equipment to do their job. Luster sympathizes because he can sit on his deck at night and hear vehicles driving too fast in his neighborhood and run stop signs neat his house, Rogers reported the city usually has one officer on duty in the evenings and over night. The officers have approximately three square miles to cover. They cannot catch every traffic violator. They handle a wide variety of calls that takes a large percentage of their time. The city has budgetary constraints that will not allow for more officers. (Rogers said that to hire, train and equip a new officer would be in the $85,000 range and then salary and benefits would be around $50,000 a year.)
In other council action Frank Haynes was appointed as a member of the City of El Dorado Springs Planning Commission.
During the City Manger’s report Rogers told the council that Picnic revenue was down slightly this year and that the Picnic would lose a little money.
Rogers told the council that the water tower painting contractor has submitted a contract, bonds and insurance certificated for review and approval and that work should begin sometime in Sept.
Rogers mentioned that DNR had approved the proposed well site and that Anderson Engineering is preparing documentation regarding easement acquisitions for the sidewalk project to present to MoDot.
The council went into executive session. There was no report from that session.