The City of Vandalia officially received a MOPEP (Missouri Public Energy Pool) Grant to be used towards the purchase of a bucket truck and derrick digger during their monthly meeting held last Tuesday inside the Lange Building.
Floyd Gilzow, Vice-President of Member Relations & Governmental & Environmental Affairs at Missouri Public Utility Alliance, was present and presented a check to Mayor Ralph Kuda, in the amount of $18,434, which is proceeds from a MoPEP Power Infrastructure Modernization Grant Program.
According to the drafted city minutes, Gilzow also noted that he has enjoyed working with City Administrator Alan Winders, who has served on the MPUA Board. He added that Winders asked questions that challenged the staff to find answers.
Gilzow also explained the purpose of MPUA as well as how that organization serves electric providers.
The City of Vandalia approved the submission of the grant at the May 12, 2015 meeting. The grant funds are to be used to reduce the cost of a bucket and derrick digger truck, which were purchased at an estimated cost of $134,900.
The grant from MoPEP will cover about 14% of the cost of the equipment, with the other 86% coming from local funding.
This will help the city improve and maintain its electric system.
“The truck and digger will help Vandalia with its power system needs,” said Duncan Kincheloe, President and General Manager of the Missouri Public Utility Alliance in a prepared press release. “Projects like Vandalia’s that help strengthen local infrastructure also bring greater reliability and efficiency to the entire MoPEP partnership.”
The MoPEP Power Infrastructure Modernization Grant Program assists MoPEP municipal utilities to invest in long term capital assets of their local electric systems to improve reliability and efficiency of electric infrastructure for systems supplied through MoPEP. Funds requested under the program must be used for acquisition of capital assets used in the operations of the electric utility.
The Missouri Public Energy Pool (MoPEP) is a group of municipal electric utilities that purchase power collectively through their participation in the Municipal Electric Utility Commission, a non-profit commission established in 1979. The MoPEP group began operations in 2000 and has grown from 19 municipalities to 35 since that time. MoPEP includes the following Missouri cities: Albany, Ava, Bethany, Butler, Carrollton, Chillicothe, El Dorado Springs, Farmington, Fayette, Fredericktown, Gallatin, Harrisonville, Hermann, Higginsville, Jackson, La Plata, Lamar, Lebanon, Macon, Marshall, Memphis, Monroe City, Odessa, Palmyra, Rock Port, Rolla, St. James, Salisbury, Shelbina, Stanberry, Thayer, Trenton, Unionville, Vandalia, and Waynesville.
City Administrator and
Police Chief Positions
Mayor Kuda recommended that the aldermen appoint Debbie Hopke as Interim City Administrator.
Alderman John Weiser asked if the appointment came with extra pay and it was noted that she was to receive an additional $5 per hour interim raise.
The motion carried unanimously.
Aldermen also discussed briefly, through Winders’ guidance, the process for hiring a new city administrator.
There are several steps in any hiring and the City Administrator position is the one which requires the most input from Mayor and Council. Therefore, the process should be agreed upon before it is begun.
A condensed version of the draft process was presented. This draft assumes that a search firm (Head Hunter) is not used.
Discussion was held, regarding the consideration of hiring a head hunter for the position.
City Attorney Amy Rost directed the board’s attention to Vandalia City Code relating to the city administrator position.
Mayor Kuda advised that this item will be on the agenda at next month’s meeting to decide what needs to be done.
Mayor Kuda presented a plaque of appreciation for years of service to City Administrator Alan Winders, who will be leaving employment with the city after 14 years.
Also on the agenda was discussion on the police chief position and possible desired characteristics of a new chief.
At some point, there needs to be a list of desired characteristics and qualities which are agreed upon by the council.
Additionally, a list of questions which could be included in the interview process will be made. Staff has received no potential interview questions from council.
Winders added that he again recommends that the city wait until after a city administrator is hired.
The process of appointing would be that the Mayor recommend a candidate, based on scores/criteria that the board has given.
After there were no ideas given for qualifications, a City Council Questionnaire used in the past for hiring a police chief was passed out. The board was asked to turn in their ideas to the City Clerk by the end of the week.
Pike County Development Authority Update
Pike County Development Authority Executive Director Update Carolyn Wisecarver told the group that she also has enjoyed working with Winders.
Wisecarver continued with an update of what PCDA has been doing in the way of marketing for the city. She noted that there are trade shows coming up that they will be attending, as well as working with Ralls County Electric’s new CEO in getting the Spec building filled.
Winders added that the PCDA markets Vandalia’s buildings and does a great job of reaching prospective buyers.
Possible use for CSI building
Winders told the group that this item was to provide for discussion regarding the circumstances under which the city should rent out the CSI building. This will include uses, rates, terms, etc. The building is owned by the City of Vandalia.
The CSI building has been empty for several years. The city has marketed the building in numerous ways so far without success.
John Wallace has a use for the building (auctions) and proposes a short-term lease (about six months).
Mayor Kuda added that the renter would have to pay for utilities for the building, insurance, mowing, and a set fee for the rent.
Alderman Larry Holt added that he had leased a much smaller building for $500 a month. He suggested that a building of this size should rent for at least $2,000 a month.
Discussion was held concerning fair market value. Wisecarver was asked to help determine comparables for determining a price.
Staff is to gather information regarding a policy for the renting of the building. If possible, a special meeting could be held to discuss.
Limb Pick Up Policy
Winders told the group that this item will allow for discussion to further clarify the desires of the council related to limb pick-up curbside.
Alderman Bob Dunn advised that he did not intend to “make a mountain out of a molehill,” but wanted to implement something that could be tried out.
Ideas for the policy were given:
• Anybody who calls City Hall, or even if they don’t call, limbs would be picked up City employees driving by.
• It doesn’t matter how many times per resident.
• Small amounts of limbs
The list of those attending the meeting included Mayor Ralph Kuda; Aldermen Gabe Jennings, Bob Dunn, Raymond Sutton, Larry Holt, John Weiser and Dempsey Dixon; City Administrator Alan Winders; City Attorney Amy Rost; City Clerk Karen Shaw; Assistant to the City Administrator Debbie Hopke; Utilities Superintendent Aaron Rentfro; Chief Water Plant Operator Darren Berry; Street Superintendent Dave Hamby and Interim Police Chief Justin Landis. Also present was Ben Marshall, Doug Bontz, Carolyn Wisecarver, John Wallace, and Floyd Gilzow.
Minutes from two previous meetings and the Accounts Payable report were approved.
Resolution No. 15-04 Ratifying Ordinance No. 718 was approved. The measure established a procedure to disclose potential conflicts of interest and substantial interest for certain municipal officials.
City Clerk Karen Shaw told the group that the City of Vandalia adopted Ordinance No. 718 in 1993, which requires that each elected official, the City Administrator, and the Chief Purchasing Officer report any transactions with a political subdivision over $500-excluding compensation for employment, as well as naming employers from which they have received any compensation of $1,000 or more during the year. This report must be filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission yearly. Ordinance No. 718 must be ratified through a resolution every two years. Aldermen approved the measure unanimously.