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City of Vandalia Board of Alderman discuss array of issues

Posted on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at 10:20 am

The City of Vandalia’s Board of Alderman listened to a passionate plea from a local citizen to address the issue of dilapidated houses in town. According to meeting minutes, Larry Peery told the group that there are dilapidated houses and structures all over the town.  Peery also referred to the condition of the old garment factory.  He stated that he doesn’t know how the City would expect people to move to the town with all of the dilapidated structures.
Discussion followed, (although the item was not on the agenda) and City Attorney Amy Rost agreed to review code to see if anything can be changed to speed up the abatement process.  Rost stated that she has checked with a few other cities but codes look similar to Vandalia’s due to state statute limitations for due process. Rost also reminded the group that the item was not on the agenda and should not be discussed further.
Accounts Payable Discussion
Alderman Bob Dunn asked questions regarding the business done with the three hardware stores by the City.
Another question was directed to the amount of dollars spent for police equipment. Interim Police Chief Justin Landis responded that since July 1, all equipment provided by Vandalia PD is left with the department if the employee leaves employment.
Mayor Ralph Kuda also commented that the payment to Hansen Tree Service for brush grinding at the Street Department, in the amount of $6,000, should have been put out for bid.
Street Superintendent Dave Hamby added that this service has been bid out in the past, however, this company is one of a very few that can perform this service, and the only one that is close enough that they can bring equipment to perform this service. Interim City Administrator Debbie Hopke added that this service is a budgeted item and a cost estimate was provided by Hansen Tree service prior to work beginning.
After discussion of these items, Alderman Larry Holt seconded the motion to approve accounts payable, which carried unanimously.
Hopke introduced Ky Nichols and Eddie Trower from Charter Communications, who were present to answer any questions they might have concerning this matter.
Hopke continued that Charter Communications is seeking an easement on property located on the NW corner of Vandalia’s Water Plant, located on West Washington. The easement is needed for installation of an OTN-an environmentally controlled cabinet to house Charter equipment for fiber cable being built to Louisiana.
The immediate need for the placement of the OTN is a place for the optical amplifier equipment or fiber cable being built to Louisiana. The second need is to allow for future growth. This OTN must be in place if at any time Charter was going to provide service in Vandalia. However, there is no promise or guarantee that Charter will provide service, but this OTN must be in place if that were to happen.
The OTN is approximately 6 ½’ wide, 3’deep and 5’ high and will be placed on a 20’ x 20’ concrete pad that is fenced in.  Charter staff would gain access from an exterior gate, which would need to be installed.
There is no cost to the City.  Charter will absorb all the equipment and labor cost for the OTN and placement. Discussion followed. The easement was approved.
Update to Street
Improvement Plan
Hamby told the group that the 2015 Street Improvement plan proposed $50,000 in programmed chip seal; $10,000 in unprogrammed maintenance; and no asphalt overlay.  At least 55 blocks would be addressed.
The total cost for 2015 Street Improvement Plan was $46,722.79, with no asphalt overlay. A total of 57.75 blocks were addressed.
A map was provided, showing proposed, and completed blocks.
There was no action needed on this item, it was for information only.
The Capacity, Management, Operation and Maintenance (CMOM) Plan was approved by aldermen.
Chief Water Plant Operator Darren Berry told the group that as a part of a DNR requirement, the City of Vandalia has developed this CMOM plan to put into place the ideas, concepts and procedures to be used to prevent sanitary sewer overflows and bypasses at the treatment facility to the extent possible and practicable.
The CMOM is a working document and may need to be modified throughout the calendar year. At a minimum, the City will conduct an annual review and modify schedules and procedures in the CMOM to accomplish the goals of the plan.
The preliminary plan has been sent to DNR and meets the DNR requirements. Council approval is the next step. Thereafter, the plans will be put into motion in order to determine what additional improvements need to be made.
Copies of the lengthy document are available at City Hall for review.
Impala Expenses
Hopke told the group that this item provides the council with the fuel and repair expenses for the 2007 Impala plus the mileage costs paid as requested during the October 2015 meeting.
This item was for information only.
Discussion was held regarding voting on the matter at this meeting.  City Attorney Amy Rost reminded the group that the minutes from the October meeting stated that the Board asked that “staff bring back costs for operation of the vehicle for last year and mileage costs”.
Rost told the board that she is just trying to get them to follow the legal procedure to protect the city.
Mayor Kuda added that if necessary, he would call a special meeting to vote on the matter.
Pet Waste Station
Hopke told the group that Rick Omohundro, via email, has offered to donate $400 for the installation of pet waste stations along the walking trail in Tri-County Park. This donation is being made in honor of his dad, Dr. Thomas Omohundro, who was a veterinarian in Vandalia for several years. The donation should cover the cost of at least two stations and the initial supply of bags.  City staff would determine the location of the stations, install the stations, and purchase additional bags as needed.
In return, Mr. Omohundro has asked for a small sign to be placed on the stations acknowledging the donation.
Aldermen approved the measure.
Doug Bontz also added that the City needs to pass an ordinance that includes fines for dog feces.

Appointment to Housing Authority
Mayor Kuda told the group that he was not told about this item in advance, even though it was sent to City Hall staff on October 21.
Hopke asked that the record show that she apologized to Mayor Kuda prior to this meeting for this oversight.
The Mayor agreed to recommend the appointment of LaVonne Jones to the Vandalia Housing Authority Board.
Mayor Kuda added that if he is not going to be told of these things from City Hall, when staff makes a  recommendation for Police Chief, he won’t do that either.
Aldermen approved the appointment.
Selection of Financial Institution for City Banking
Hopke told the group that proposals were sent to both local banks for general banking services for the City’s checking accounts, court account, and occasional grant accounts, and both responded.
This item would approve Central Bank of Audrain County as the City’s bank depository as required by state statute.
Central Bank of Audrain County is the City’s current depository and has been since 2000.
All services were compared and were very competitive. However, Central Bank offers no fees for any necessary services and is offering a better interest rate.
Aldermen approved the selection of Central Bank of Audrain County.