(West Plains) – A possible future restriction on the sale of pseudoephedrine and the retirement of a long-time city figure were some of the topics of discussion at the most recent West Plains City Council meeting, held Monday evening at 7 PM at the council chambers at city hall.
PRE-MEETING TOPICS, POSSIBLE FUTURE PSEUDOEPHEDRINE RESTRICTIONS
After approving the agenda, bills for May, and payroll, the council received a plaque from the South Central Solid Waste Management District, for their work on sanitation and the outstanding job done by city crews.
The council then heard from Russ Gant with Burton Creek Medical Clinic, who proposed the city adopt a ordinance making pseudoephedrine, the common ingredient in the creation of methamphetamine, a drug obtainable by prescription only. Pseudoephedrine is currently used in drugs like Sudafed, Claratin-D and Advil D. Gant says that states, such as Oregon, that have enacted similar legislation have seen up to a 95% decrease in meth lab seizures due to the difficulty of obtaining the drug. Currently, Missouri does not have a law making pseudoephedrine prescription-only.
BILLS INCLUDE AGREEMENT CHANGE AT AIRPORT
The council approved a number of bills at the meeting: Bill 4264, now ordinance 4264, updated the city’s hangar rental and lease agreement with the West Plains Regional Airport. City Administrator Tom Stehn says the new agreement is more specific and current than the previous one, and helps protect the city from liabilities involving the hangar. The council also authorized Mayor Joe Paul Evans to enter into a contract with the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission for airport terminal designs. Stehn says that the purpose of the agreement is to help the city get financial assistance in the preliminary design process for the terminal. Without the approval, the city could not seek the financial assistance. The council also approved Bill 967, which allows the city to hire legal council for lease purchase financing agreements.
GRIZZLY WAY PROJECT BID DENIED BY COUNCIL
On the Grizzly Way project, the only bidder, Stewart Construction of West Plains, came in with a price of $751,133, which was 66% over budget. City Administrator Tom Stehn told the council that one of the issues affecting the price was the timeline of the project, as well as making ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Stehn says that he hopes to work with the company on helping change some aspects of the project and making it closer to budget. The council rejected the bid.
CITY PROJECT UPDATES
On the city project front, Stehn updated the council on the Thornburgh bridge crossing, and says that a project to redo the road from the railroad track to the intersection of Thornburgh and Lincoln is in the works. Stehn also told the council that the bus stop project in the city, which was scheduled for completion on June 12, was completed four days before schedule. However, there have been some recent problems develop: the bus stops on Grace Avenue and at the Imperial Center have been vandalized already. The stop at Imperial Center had been painted on, while someone had etched words into the glass at the Grace Avenue stop. Stehn says the paint has been removed, however the glass would have to be replaced to fix the Grace Avenue stop. Stehn says that if more vandalisms occur, the city will look into security cameras and extra police patrols as ways to curb issues.
Stehn also reported the city transformer, which was believe to have been struck by lightning on August 1, 2011, is now up and operational as of June 5. The total cost of repairs and transportation of the multi-ton transformer was $325,000, with a 10% deductable. The city water project on Missouri Avenue continues, after roughly 350 ft of water lines were put in place from Garfield to Missouri. Another 50 ft is needed. Also, the city is working on water lines on Porter Wagoner Blvd near the Pizza Hut for a new medical clinic that will be built in the near future.
OTHER DISCUSSION ITEMS
Stehn also reported that the city suffered damage in the storms that occurred Monday, June 11 – a storage building in the city’s back lot was destroyed, the antenna at city hall was bent by the 65 mph winds, and a portion of the fence at Evans Field was damaged. Stehn says that all damages have been turned into the city’s insurance provider.
Stehn also recommended the council change the meeting date from the original July 16 to July 23 to allow for more time for the city to work on financial documents.
He also announced that the city has received six responses concerning the possible changing of meeting times from the usual 7 PM. Five were in favor of earlier times, while one was opposed. Stehn told Ozark Radio News that the city will try a three month trial period starting next month, and will hold the meeting at 5:30 PM.
The council also approved the appointments of Amanda Niemotka to the Tourism Development Advisory Council and the Galloway Park Advisory Council, and the reappointment of Scott Cressman to the Park Board and Lisa Cropper to the Tree City USA Forestry Council.
THOMPSON TO RETIRE
During the closed executive session at 6:30 PM, City Public Information Officer Laurel Thompson announced that he would be stepping down from the position, effective June 26. City Clerk Mallory Thompson will be taking over the job June 27, and will be changing the title of the position from Public Information to Public Relations.