The Sedalia City Council has a new member and a new mayor pro-tem after its meeting Monday.
After adjourning sine die, city clerk Arlene Silvey swore in incumbents Ward 1 councilwoman Jo Lynn Turley, Ward 2 councilwoman Becca La Strada and Ward 3 councilman Bob Cross as well as new Ward 4 councilman Larry Stevenson, who replaces longtime council member Ken Norton. Cross was also voted mayor pro-tem.
During its pre-meeting council heard from city staff about a proposed ordinance to approve a contract between the city and the Missouri Department of Corrections for the use of inmates to assist the airport, cemetery and street departments seasonally. The inmates would not be used for skilled employment, would be supervised at all times by a city employee and would not include major crime offenders, City Administrator Gary Edwards told council.
“This would be a standard one-year
contract, which we can get out of with a simple 30-day notice,” he added. “The State Fair uses this program and other cities such as Tipton and Versailles have had great success with the program as well.”
Inmates would be used mostly during the summer for grass work, including trimming weeds at the airport and cemetery, as well as picking up litter, clearing ditches and working with the street department’s brush crew. The cost for the city would be approximately $7.50 per inmate per day, versus a regular seasonal employee wage of $7.50 per hour.
“Overall we’re looking at between $25,000 and $30,000 in savings,” Edwards said.
Councilmembers liked the idea but wanted to make sure no regular workers would be losing their jobs.
“No,” said public works director Bill Beck. “Part of the problem with seasonal employees is retaining them. These workers would just eliminate the need for extra hours or overtime pay.”
Airport director John Evans said with more than 600 acres of land, the airport is in constant need of mowing and trimming.
“Right now we have two full-time and one part-time employee out there and with business going the way it is, they’re just too busy taking care of customers that fly in to get to mowing,” Evans said. “Cost-wise we’re paying around $96 a day for our part time guy to go out and mow, we’d only pay $39 for five inmates to do the same thing. Even if we only had them working one day a week, the inmate program would save us $400 a month.”
During the regular meeting council voted to approve the measure.
During the meeting council also voted to:
• Amend the city’s current snow routes.
• Purchase a new dump truck with snow plow and material spreader; $125,105.
• Approve bids for rock salt; $61.54 per ton.
• Approve the purchase of 10-foot snow plow blades; $150 per blade.
• Approve a resolution accepting amendments to the Memorandum of Understanding between the city and Sedalia Firefighters Local 103 authorizing changes its sick leave procedures and accrual.
• Approve an application for a driving while intoxicated grant between the Missouri Department of Transportation and the city.
• Approve ordinances authorizing an agreement between the city and the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for a $246,354.75 infrastructure grant and a $20,992.30 noninfrastructure grant for the Horace Mann Elementary Safe Routes to School program, and a $23,967.30 non-infrastructure grant for the Parkview Elementary Safe Routes to School program.
• Approve an ordinance accepting a three-year agreement between the city and Tim’s Tree Service LLC to use property to grind up material to be used in the city’s compost facility.