It was a busy meeting for the Sedalia City Council, as Monday’s meeting included swearing in a new Ward 4 council member and the announcement of a new business in Sedalia.
The council meeting began with a public hearing for an annexation petition regarding the annexation of property, in the vicinity of land behind Tractor Supply, owned by Sylvia G. Thompson Charitable Trust and Thompson Hills Investment Corp. Council heard from Dianne Simon, Vice President of Property Management for the organizations, who announced the land will be home to a new Hampton Inn.
She said it will be four stories with 74 rooms, but other specifics aren’t available at this stage in the project.
“We’re excited because it’s a quality hotel name so it brings another quality place for people to say, which helps the fairgrounds and other events that are being held in town,” Simon told the Democrat after the meeting. “I know of several instances people have had to stay in Warrensburg instead of in Sedalia because of the lack of hotel rooms.”
The public hearing was the first of two steps to accomplish the annexation. Council will vote on annexation of the property at its Oct. 3 meeting. Simon said the new business will also come before the Planning and Zoning Commission during Wednesday’s meeting for a height variance. She added that she doesn’t know when construction will begin, but that “it’s my understanding (the buyer) wants to get moving very quickly.”
Council also welcomed its newest member, Ward 4 Councilwoman Mary Merritt. Council approved Mayor Stephen Galliher’s appointment and she was sworn in immediately, taking her place next to fellow Ward 4 councilman Tollie Rowe. She will serve for the remainder of Collins’ term, set to expire April 2017.
“I’ve thought about (running for council) before, I just never put myself out enough to do it. At times when there’s been a vacancy in my ward I’ve thought about it but I was busy with other things,” Merritt told the Democrat after the meeting during a reception hosted to recognize both her and Collins. “When (Galliher) called me this time I thought if I’m ever going to do it I better get at it.”
Merritt previously chaired the Citizens for a Clean Sedalia Committee, serves on the Public Works Board and is an active member of the Pettis County League of Women Voters. Even with all her experience, she said she’s looking forward to learning more about the city.
“I need to learn more about how the city operates and runs. Conceited, I think I probably know more than a lot of people, but I feel that often I don’t quite know what’s going on. And if you just came and sat at this council meeting, you don’t know what’s going on,” she said. “And I think we have a lot of problems in government at all levels, but I think that government starts at the grassroots, which is the city. If you want to start change, that’s the place you start changing or working at it.”
Merritt was recently appointed to the new Rental Inspection Committee, and council approved appointing JoAnn Martin to replace Merritt on the committee.
Council also approved an increase to the city’s sewer fee, including a residential monthly increase of $1. A public hearing was hosted during the Aug. 15 council meeting and no public comments were heard in favor or against the fee increase. According to the meeting packet, the fee increase covers improvements to the city’s sewer system.
The ordinance passed 6-2, with Ward 2 Councilwoman Bonita Nash and Ward 3 Councilman Bob Cross voting against. During the pre-council meeting, Cross offered his thoughts on the matter.
“The sewer use bill was raised last October $2, trash pickup was raised just here recently to $2 and now we’re talking about a $1 increase on the sewer use,” Cross said. “I understand that after the $30 million debt payments (for the city’s recently-completed sewer project), we still have maintenance and employees to pay, but I just think it’s too soon for any pay increase.”
During the meeting council also:
• Approved a resolution authorizing the Sedalia Police Department to act as an agent for the city in the application process for the Missouri LESO Program administered by the Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services, Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) and authorizing the mayor to sign said application.
• Approved an ordinance granting a rezoning application by Jason VanNatta for property located at 420 W. 16th St. with restrictions and reversion. The ordinance was approved 7-1, with Merritt voting no.
• Approved a bid of $102,455 and an ordinance approving and accepting an agreement with JR & Co. Inc. for the replacement of the Vehicle Maintenance Building roof.
• Approved an ordinance approving and accepting Addendum Two to the Solid Waste Disposal Agreement and Waste Corporation of Missouri LLC for the processing of recyclable materials.
• Approved an ordinance adopting a future land use map and roadway framework for the West U.S. Highway 50 Commerce Corridor and incorporating said map and framework into the city’s Comprehensive Plan.
• Approved an ordinance approving and accepting Amendment No. 1 to the State Block Grant Agreement with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission regarding improvements at the Sedalia Regional Airport.
• Approved bids for the demolition of structures located at 207 S. Grand Ave., 1504 E. Fifth St., 1215 S. Ohio Ave., 820 N. Moniteau Ave., 534 E. Fourth St., and 114 E. Jackson St. City staff recommends the low bid for all structures from Schultz Wrecking.
• Approved an ordinance approving and accepting an agreement with Wallace Engineering Structural Consultants Inc. for engineering services related to downtown Sedalia building inspections.
• Approved a records destruction request from the Personnel Department.
• Approved a records destruction request from the City Clerk’s Office.
All council members were present.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.