By Woodrow Polston
The Vandalia Board of Aldermen met for regular session on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at the Lange Building. Mayor Ralph Kuda called the meeting to order. After roll call and approval of the agenda, November minutes and accounts payable, City Administrator Darren Berry discussed a proposed appointment for the position of interim fire chief.
“Rusty Strother is wanting to step down from his position as fire chief, and I am recommending the appointment of Brandon Straube as Interim Fire Chief,” said Berry. “According to Section 205.040 regarding Fire Chief Appointment and Term, the chief shall be appointed by the city administrator by and with the consent of the Board of Aldermen at the first regular meeting of the board after the City election. The chief shall hold office for a term of one year and until his successor is appointed and qualified. If the Board approves the Interim appointment of Brandon Straube, then after the city election in April, I will bring back a recommendation to reappoint Brandon Straube as Fire Chief,” he added.
After some discussion, Alderman Weiser made a motion to approve the appointment of Brandon Straube as Vandalia’s interim fire chief. Alderman Turner seconded the motion which passed unanimously. Other discussion during the meeting included the re-zoning of a property that is being purchased by Glenwood Equities. Berry explained the details to the board.
“Glenwood Equities LLC is wanting to purchase 1.97 acres located at 905 East Hwy. 54 to build a new retail establishment. In order for Glenwood Equities to move forward with their project, the property needs to be rezoned from R-1 Residential to C-1 Commercial. Vandalia’s Planning & Zoning Commission is recommending this change in zoning. In order to make this zoning change permanent, the Vandalia Board of Aldermen also needs to approve the change,” said Berry.
After some discussion, Alderman Weiser moved to hear the bill the first time. Alderman Hopke seconded the motion which passed unanimously. Mrs. Rost read the bill the first time. Alderman Weiser moved that the first reading of the bill be approved. The motion was seconded by Alderman Shaw and the votes to approve were unanimous. Alderman Wenzel moved that the second reading of the bill be heard. The motion was seconded by Alderman Weiser which passed unanimously. Mrs. Rost read the bill the second time. Alderman Weiser moved that the second reading of the bill be approved. The motion was second by Alderman Wenzel, and the votes to approver were unanimous. Bill 22-1235 was duly passed and approved and the same shall hereafter be known as Ordinance No. 22-1235.
Berry explained that the city is in the process of hiring two people for the openings in the utility department.
“As soon as their background check and physicals are completed, they will be good to go. This will leave one position remaining open at the utility department. The Street Department is ready for winter. They have all the plows installed on their trucks and we have an ample supply of salt and beat juice. Staying on the topic of winter, Carl Donaldson, Vandalia’s emergency management director, met with Jeffrey Kroner, MoDOT district engineer, to discuss MoDOT’s winter weather plans for 2022-23. MoDOT is currently down 30 percent in its employment with most of those numbers falling in the urban areas. With these shortfalls in staffing, MoDOT does not have enough people to cover more than one shift in a statewide snowstorm. According to a release from MoDOT: “If a widespread storm lasts more than one 12-hour shift, we will not have enough employees to fill all the trucks on the second shift and it will take longer to clear the roads,” said Berry.