Vandalia Leader

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New city council members are sworn in

Posted on Thursday, April 20, 2023 at 8:25 pm

By Woodrow Polston

The board of alderman of the City of Vandalia met for the first regular meeting after the municipal election on Tuesday, April 11, at the Lange building. Items on the agenda included the receipt of the certified election results and the swearing in of newly elected aldermen. Sworn in for Ward I alderman, was Teresa Wenzel, Ward II, Larry Holt, and Ward III, Christy Lowrance.
The next item on the agenda was the nomination of a new mayor pro-tem. A motion was made by Teresa Wenzel to nominate John Weiser as mayor pro-tem. The motion was seconded. The semi-annual financial report was presented for approval as required by law. All members voted in favor.
City Administrator Darren Berry explained to the board that the appointment of the new fire chief was necessary during this meeting.
“Back in December of 2022, Rusty Strother expressed interest in becoming the new fire chief,” said Berry. “We needed a fire chief, and we appointed Strother as interim at that time. According to city code, a chief shall be appointed by the city administrator by and with consent of the board of aldermen at the first regular meeting of the board after the city election, which is tonight. Rusty has done a good job and I am asking that you approve Rusty Strother as fire chief for the city of Vandalia,” he added.
A motion to approve Strother as fire chief was made and seconded. All voted in favor. Also, during the meeting, Berry explained the options for insurance plans for city employees.
“Last year we were expecting an increase of about 10% and we only saw an increase of 3%. This year, I was informed that there may be a 12% increase but as it turns out, it is actually 16%. We budgeted for 12% according to the previous year’s estimated difference. We looked at other plans and we have decided to present a new plan that can be chosen along with the current plan. So, employees will have the choice for the renewal plan or the new one,” said Berry.
A motion was made and seconded to approve the plans as presented. All voted in favor.
Other items included discussion about updating the city’s website for a more user-friendly experience. Berry shared examples of better options that the city could utilize, and the cost of the proposed option.
“In the Capital Improvements Fund, line item 7127-95-1119 Undetermined Council Approved Projects, there is a balance of $35,650. This fund is what I am recommending we use to pay for the startup fee for Apptegy at $9,400,” said Berry. A motion was made, seconded and passed to approve the recommendation to obtain the services of Apptegy. Other upcoming projects were discussed including the construction of an all-inclusive playground at Tri-County Park. The plan would allow handicapped children to access all playground equipment and would be the first of its kind in Audrain County. Discussion was also had concerning the detailed process of approving demolition of more than 30 homes and one business.