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All-new Mtn. View City Council is sworn in, holds first meeting


MOUNTAIN VIEW — A brand new Mtn. View City Council was sworn in at Tuesday's regular monthly meeting and got down to business catching up on several agenda items left unresolved after shakeups over the last few months left council short of a quorum. Other items were tabled while members take the time research and review them.

The council is now Mayor Charry McCann, East Ward Alderman David Bauer and Alderwoman Judi Colter, and West Ward Alderman Calvin Perry. That leaves one seat still open after Brenda Colter was removed from council in March for voting in favor of Judi Colter's appointment in December, as they are cousins by marriage. At that point Judi Colter had her name placed on the ballot, and attended one meeting as a council member before it was decided to she would sit out until she was elected. That left Brenda Colter's seat vacant, too late to be added to the April 2 ballot, but likely to be appointed soon.

Jessica Smith is acting as interim city clerk, filling in at the job previously held by Sara Chowning, and was affirmed by council as the first order of business before roll call was taken. The council will hold a special meeting this Tuesday evening, which includes a closed session usually set aside to discuss personnel issues.

Missouri Municipal League training will be in the council's future, including a session on the Sunshine Law that will take place April 23 in Mtn. View and a two-day training event in June in Columbia. The Missouri Municipal League is a statewide not-for-profit organization that provides training opportunities to city councils and administrators that cover relevant topics, including legal requirements, ethics and leadership.

McCann thanked the audience, which filled council chambers and asked for patience as the council gets up to speed on procedure and other administrative duties.

As such, some requests were tabled until council members could learn more about them, including a suggested 10% increase in annual municipal golf course membership fees presented by Golf Course Superintendent Ty Lewis to help offset increasing operation costs and bring memberships more into line with comparable municipal courses.

The memberships are usually renewed each April, but council voted to extend the current rates another month to give them time to review Lewis' proposal and make a decision at the May 14 regular meeting.

Tied to the request was a mention that a tractor used to pull a mower for the course may be an expense that will have to be considered soon.

One of the items voted on and passed was a change to Mtn. View city ordinance regarding the mayor's involvement in meeting a quorum. Previously, it allowed the mayor to be part of the quorum if there were only two council members present; now the mayor will not be part of the quorum, a change that brings the rule in line with state statute.

A consent agenda that included the payment of bills and monthly department reports was approved subject to review and published reports of bank statement reconciliations.

Similarly, a request was made to have the interest from an endowed fund earmarked for the upkeep of the Mtn. View Community Center transferred to an account managed by the city, with the remainder invested in certificates of deposits (CDs) per the conditions of the endowment.

Previously, the funds were managed by the Mtn. View Community Betterment board, which was released from management of the account. The change will require an ordinance to be drawn up and voted on, so that action was tabled until council members have a chance to look over CD rates.

Another action tabled was the approval of a lead services project required by the Department of Natural Resources and partially funded with grants. Operations Manager Eddie Owens said the city had reviewed bids ranging from $320,000 to $1.1 million, and the previous administration had approved the lowest bid but it still left the city about $120,000 short in funding it.

A solution was reached in meeting the shortfall by using city workers to do the excavation work for testing city-owned water pipes for lead, Owens commented, but a recent request by an employee to be transferred to another department left them with two workers and that will probably need to be discussed as well, he said. The DNR has a tentative Oct. 16 deadline for project proposals, and a contract will be drawn up by City Attorney Deedra Nicholson for review before vote.

Among the items that passed unanimously were amendments to an agreement with the Missouri Public Utilities Alliance, which represents a group of 14 cities and negotiates utility costs on behalf of those municipalities. The amendments included a project that is estimated to save Mtn. View about $100,000 in utilities costs over 15 years.

Council members passed the repeal of three ordinances regarding the collection of court costs and fines that hadn't been enforced for many years and were outdated according to state statute, and a resolution was passed authorizing the mayor to accept a grant agreement for airport runway lighting and the removal of a fuel tank. The project will be funded entirely with grants at no cost to the city.

Another resolution was passed to allow Mtn. View Assistant Police Chief Stetson Schwien to apply for Missouri Department of Transportation highway safety grants to reimburse funds for the purchase of three portable breath testers to be used during DWI enforcement and $3,000 for officer overtime during enforcement events, and another that will provide reimbursement for two new radar units and $4,000 in overtime related to hazardous moving violation enforcement. The grants, if awarded, will go into place for 2025.

At the conclusion of the meeting, McCann announced the retirement of Mtn. View Library Director Beth Smith by reading a letter from Smith expressing her gratitude for the opportunity. The letter also mentioned the hire of Sabrina Cornman as a librarian and Smith's review of Cornman's qualifications for that position.

The mayor also thanked all who worked to make the Mtn. View eclipse celebration weekend a success and again asked for patience while council reviews "a lot of things" moving forward and establishes procedures for comments and questions from the public and the media.