With only five items on the agenda, a surprising number of citizens attended Monday night’s Sedalia City Council meeting, and they soon found out they had been misinformed.
The Mayor’s Conference Room in the Municipal Building was packed for the pre-council meeting and city staff had to bring in additional chairs to accommodate the large crowd. Rumors have been circulating that council was planning to approve a rental inspection ordinance during Monday’s meeting without consulting the public — despite it not appearing on the meeting agenda — which caused a large number of landlords, realtors and a few renters to turn out for what was scheduled to be a short meeting.
City staff has been researching the rental inspection issue for about a year, but has not presented anything to council and an ordinance has not even been drafted.
Mayor Stephen Galliher took some time after committee reports to address the rumors.
“Normally I don’t say too much about political activity during a council meeting, but this evening I think something needs to be brought up, because with the current city council campaign there’s been a lot of misinformation put out that directly impacts our city government,” he told the audience.
“Some of the misinformation is tonight (council was) going to pass the rental inspections — nothing further from the truth. It’s not going to happen tonight, it’s not going to happen for a while.”
Galliher then asked City Administrator Gary Edwards to offer some insight into the timeline regarding a possible rental inspection ordinance.
“At the very earliest, anything to come to (council) for discussion purposes only would be during the month of May,” Edwards explained. “We’ll also have input from all the parties concerned — from the public, from the landlords, from the real estate agents, from the renters, homeowners; all that will happen first. We’re talking about a process that’s going to take months, maybe a year. This is nothing new, we’ve been saying this publicly for many months now.
“Also I anticipate we will be visiting various cities to see how they handled their inspection project, if they have one. Maybe it’s something (council) will end up not wanting to do, I don’t know. But it needs to be looked at.”
Galliher gave one final remark before moving on to another topic.
“As the mayor, you have my word we will not pass anything without first involving the realtors, the landlords, renters and everybody involved, I give you my word on that,” he said. “When we pass a piece of legislation it’ll be something we all can live with.”
During the meeting, council approved an ordinance approving and accepting an agreement with Wilson & Co. Inc., Engineers & Architects for engineering services related to the preparation of construction plans and bid specifications documents for the proposed construction of improvements at the intersection at Oak Grove Lane/Main Street/U.S. Highway 50.
“We’ve had an engineer look at long-term and short-term. We believe both need to be approached and we’re looking at long-term, but short-term improvements are also needed — that’s what we’re talking about right now,” Edwards told the Democrat after the meeting. “In this (Fiscal Year 2017) budget is $335,000 for improvements to that intersection. What the council approved (Monday night) is the design work and preparing the specs and getting ready to go out to bid for that.”
Edwards said an exact date for construction has not been set, but the work will happen during FY17 during construction season, so the work is expected to happen between now and this fall.
“What we’re talking about are things that are going to make the intersection more visible with relining and curbing and some type of median in there, on which side of the road remains to be seen,” Edwards explained. “The design is not complete so that is open to change. Repaving that area, all that will make it much easier to maneuver and navigate. Right now you don’t know what lane you’re in.
“Concurrently, we’re going to be working on long-term also, and that is going to take many years. But this will get the whole process started.”
Council approved three appointments:
• Jim Fischer to the Board of Appeals, completing Donna Heembrock’s term, to expire in June 2017.
• Donna Heembrock to the Board of Appeals, changing to alternate, to expire in June 2019.
• Michael Bell to the Board of Appeals, as an alternate, for a five-year term to expire in June 2021.
During the meeting council also:
• Approved an ordinance accepting a quit claim deed for sections of Main Street and Oak Grove Lane and accepting the streets for city maintenance from Pettis County. According to information in the meeting packet, the county is in agreement that the city should accept these street sections, which are in the general area where the above mentioned improvements are planned.
• Approved an ordinance amending Section 2-310 of the Code of Ordinances relating to composition of the Board of Appeals.
• Approved bids for hauling of trap rock. City staff recommends the low bidder, H&M Trucking LLC of Hughesville for $25.50 per ton.
• Approved a records destruction request from the Personnel Department.
All council members were present.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.