Public can Comment on Opening the Outer Continent Shelf for Oil and Natural Gas

State Representative and professional engineer Bart Korman (R-Warrenton) this week lent his support to an ongoing national effort to open up the Outer Continent Shelf to additional leasing for oil and natural gas exploration.  The Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) has opened a docket for public comment and has received over 7,000 comments from supporters who believe that this expansion will continue to ensure America’s global leadership in the production of oil and natural gas.

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New Melle Board of Aldermen Highlights from 02/13/18

The New Melle Board of Aldermen met Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 at City Hall. Present were Mayor Richard West, Aldermen Don Hendrich, Nik Bradley, Gary Schneider and Janet Karrenbrock, City Clerk Karen Hotfelder, City Attorney Steve Martin, City Engineer Kurt Cutter, and Building Inspector Bob Barclay. P&Z Chairman Ken Birk also attended.

There were no comments in Open Forum.

Finance Report:  January Balance Sheets as well as yearend financial reports were reviewed and approved. The city is still awaiting reimbursement from MoDOT for their portion of the sidewalk project costs, but no other comments were made. The 2016 audit report is complete and there were no deficiencies noted.

Engineering Report:

·         The Highway Z/D sidewalk project is essentially complete, with the exception of weather related items such as seeding. Cochran Engineering discussed the possibility of a guard rail in front of Maracas Restaurant with MoDOT, but doesn’t expect MoDOT to approve cost sharing for that. A final answer from MoDOT is expected Feb. 14, 2018.

·         Bids to address a drainage problem at the corner of Schutzen and Peter Street were opened January 23, 2016. There were two options available. Option 1 involved leaving the ditches open. The lowest bid for that option was $21,390 by JTL Landscaping, LLC. Option 2 called for a storm water inlet and underground drainage. The inlet and underground option was chosen because it could be retained in the event any major street construction was eventually done in that area in the future.  The lowest bid on Option 2 as was Southern Ditching and Excavating Company at $30,465. The bid was awarded to the lowest bidder contingent upon a background check, and easement acquisition from the affected property owner.

·         Regarding the Dollar General Site plan, the engineering review is not yet complete, but so far, approximately 38 items had been identified to be addressed before approval could be granted. (The building inspector said he had not yet had a chance to review the Dollar General building plans.)

Building Report:

·         One new permit application had been received during the month – for a detached accessory building in Sycamore Creek.

·         The Quarry Wine Garden passed its final building inspection. A few outdoor engineering items remain but were not expected to delay opening.  The business owner plans to open on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 4 p.m. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Mon-Sat, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays.  All construction expenses that have been processed for payment through an escrow account held by the city have been paid and the account has been zeroed out.

Budget: Bill 421 to amend the budget to include the cost of updating the City’s Comprehensive Plan was tabled until a more specific estimate could be provided by Cochran Engineering – which was expected within the next few days. The aldermen agreed that work on the plan could begin in the mean time.

Old Business:

·         Purchase of City Owned Property. A few months ago, Mayor West had proposed that the city consider buying six acres of land at the corner of Hwy. D and Z with proceeds from the sale of the city’s cell phone tower. The owner of the six acres offered to sell the parcel to the city for $500,000 (Approx. $83,333/acre.)  In the mean time, instead of selling the tower, the city continued its lease agreement which provides approximately $25,000 in annual revenue.  The board then contemplated using the cell tower annual revenue to make payments on the property. At the January 9 board meeting, some of the aldermen expressed hesitation about pursuing the purchase.  On February 7, the property owner contacted the mayor and asked that a decision be forthcoming one way or the other. On Feb. 13, Alderman Karrenbrock again expressed hesitation, saying she thought the city would probably need that money for street improvements in the future. (Up until 4-5 years ago, St. Charles County maintained all the streets in New Melle. Now New Melle must pay for asphalt and other maintenance of a portion of Foristell Road, plus all other streets in the city.) Aldermen Bradley wanted the city to have the property professionally appraised.  Mayor West also wanted to have the property appraised so the city could make a more educated decision. West said three acres of residential property along Hwy. Z had recently appraised for $187,000. It was agreed that an appraisal would probably cost a couple thousand dollars. Alderman Hendrich said he was not in favor of paying that much to have an appraisal done if the price was going to come in that high.  Alderman Schneider said he would like to see the city have the property, but he was not interested at the $500,000 quoted price, which the property owner had indicated was firm. In the end, the board agreed to tell the property owner they were not interested in purchasing the property at this time at the proposed price.

·         The city agreed to a quoted price from Cuivre River Electric of  approximately $540 installation costs to place a new streetlight at the intersection of Foristell Road and Hwy. Z. Operation of the light will add about $16 per month to the city’s Cuivre River electric bill.

New Business:

·         An expenditure of $875 was approved to install some turn warning signs on Foristell Road where it curves toward the new Hwy. Z intersection.

·         Election cost: Attorney Martin will investigate whether a new state law would allow the city to forego the cost of an election if there are no contested races.  For the April municipal elections, no one filed to run against the three incumbents (Mayor Richard West, Aldermen Gary Schneider, and Alderman Don Hendrich.)

·         The city agreed to prepare a formal resolution against a proposal that would allow longer tractor trailer rigs in the state of Missouri.

The meeting adjourned at 7:59 p.m