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CITY COUNCIL MEETING 03/28/16
(2016-2017 Budget Approval, CPD 911 System, Schaffer Concessions, Seasonal Hires)

City Adopts 2016-17 Budget
By Catherine Stortz Ripley
March 29, 2016

Chillicothe City Council members approved the city's 2016-17 budget following a public hearing during their regular 
meeting Monday evening at City Hall. The city's new fiscal year begins Friday, April 1. City Administrator Ike Holland conducted the public hearing and stated that the financial plan calls for estimated revenues of $13,257,974, and expenses of $13,290,923. The budget includes $181,261 in upgrades to equipment, including: a new 911 system ($45,360), the ramp repair at the airport, improvements in the parks department, officer vests for the police department, two radar units, fencing at the parks, a new pickup truck for the parks department, a new patrol car for the police department, two green rollers at the golf course ($25,000). These expenditures will be funded through revenues collected through the sale of property. No one from the public made comments during the public hearing, and the council voted unanimously to adopt the budget. The ordinance adopting the city budget also includes the adoption of the Chillicothe Municipal Utilities budget.

Administrator Holland also presented ordinances authorizing the execution of the following service contracts. The council approved the following contracts: Grand River Area Family YMCA ($13,000), Humane Society ($72,304), Freedom Festival ($4,000), University of Missouri Extension Center ($5,000), Chillicothe Arts Council ($2,000), Chamber of Commerce ($5,300), Main Street Chillicothe ($30,000), Rumery and Associates ($36,000, equally divided among Farmers Electric Cooperative, Chillicothe Development Corporation, Chillicothe Municipal Utilities, and the city of Chillicothe), Greater Chillicothe Visitors Region (hotel/motel tax), OATS, Inc., ($10,000).

Prior to the public hearing concerning the city's budget, City Auditor Theresa Kelly presented an ordinance amending the 2015-16 budget to reflect increases of expenditures over what was budgeted. These areas included $500,000 for land acquisition at the municipal airport, utilizing a state block grant; a $10,000 increase in the street fund due to increased engineering fees; $10,000 in the railroad fund due to engineering costs not budgeted for work on demolition of a railroad bridge; $60,000 in the golf course fund due to property maintenance (done by offenders), merchandise, signage, concessions and irrigation repair; an increase of $6,000 in the facility enhancement fund for engineering costs associated with repairs to the police department building; and other expenses. The parks department fund was increased by $45,000 because the city had purchased park vehicles through funds generated through the sale of property. Auditor Kelly noted that the police department was below its budget because the department was short an employee for awhile during the year. Kelly also noted that the U.S. 65 T.I.F. fund was increased by $115,000, reflecting a benefit to the  city. "Our sales taxes have come in much better in that area," Kelly told the council members. "Plus, we were given some property taxes last year that the county had not transferred over. Once we received it, I sent it to the T.I.F. to make the bond payment. That, along with the increased sales tax, is the reason for the big increase."

In other business Monday evening, the council gave a consensus for Grand River Entertainment to proceed with construction of a building at Shaffer Park to be used for concessions and approved a bid for sidewalk concrete. The selected bid was submitted by Penny's Concrete in the amount of $106.90 per cubic yard. The bid is for the city's sidewalk program through which the city provides the concrete at no charge to the property owners, while property owners provide the labor to pour the concrete. During the public comment period, resident Sue Piggott questioned the council about the T.I.F. District. It was noted that after 2027, the taxes collected from the businesses in the T.I.F. district will go to the various local taxing entities. The taxes currently collected are going to pay off bonds for development of the T.I.F. District. Councilman-at-Large David Moore presided over the meeting, filling in for Mayor Chuck Haney. The full council was present.

An executive session, closed to the public, followed the regular meeting. The council conducted a public workshop prior to the regular meeting to discuss city finances.

CPD to Receive Advanced 911 System That Allows Text, Photos, Video
By BRITTANY TUTT
April 1, 2016

The Chillicothe City Council approved the city's 2016-17 budget on Monday night. The new fiscal year begins today, Friday, April 1. Included in the budget's expenses was a new 911 system for the Chillicothe Police Department, projected to cost $45,360. According to the Chillicothe Police Department's Office Manager, Cindy Hanavan, the police department has not made a final decision on which 911 system to purchase yet but the search has been narrowed down to two options. Hanavan said the options are night and day differences, but the department is leaning toward the less costly of the two. "We're looking to save money because the change over will be expensive. We will need all new equipment," Hanavan said. According to Hanavan, the equipment the department currently has is about eight to ten years old and was given to them used by the Livingston County Sheriff's Office. Hanavan said the age of the equipment is a concern for the department because computers and systems that are on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year wear out quickly. If the system does quit, calls will roll over to the Trenton Police Department as back up.

The system the CPD currently has shows land line phone numbers and pulls the location of the caller up on a map; however, the system only sometimes shows a cell phone number and location. The current system also allows deaf persons to type to the police, but doesn't allow text messages. A new system that will be able to show both number and location for land lines and cell phones, and will allow one to text, send video and photos to 911 would be very useful for the police, according to Hanavan. She said a system allowing one to text and send video and photos would greatly benefit the department and victims. For example, if one had an intruder in his home and he was hiding, he could quietly text the police department instead of risking a call. Videos and photos would allow citizens the ability to take photos or video of a crime being committed and send it to the police department as evidence. If the department goes with the less costly system, it won't always show where cell phones are coming in as of yet, "but that will be coming soon, I hope," Hanavan said. "Depending on which company we go with, one will have all the goodies at once, and if we go with the other, it will give us the choice to add little bits at a time (which would ultimately save the taxpayers money)." However, according to Hanavan, photos and videos are available in some bigger metropolitan areas, but not in the Chillicothe area yet. "Getting the new 911 equipment would help the community and our departments in a sense that it will be more dependable and accurate.," Hanavan said. "Depending on the system we choose, it could also help the dispatchers with sending information to the ambulances via tablet. This would in turn help them by having to only give the information once instead of having to repeat it. We will do our best to choose the right program to benefit both the department and the citizens of Chillicothe."

City Hires Seasonal Employees
March 31, 2016

City Council members approved the hiring of Drew Hinton as the facilities coordinator for the City Parks department during their executive session Monday evening at City Hall. Hinton is a 2009 Chillicothe High School graduate and graduated from Central Methodist University with a bachelor of science degree in biology. He has worked as a seasonal groundskeeper for Green Hills Golf Course since 2007 and has gained experience in horticulture, irrigation systems and landscape design while working for the city. In addition to experience within the city, Hinton previously worked for O'Reilly Auto Parts as well as Lincare as a sales representative. Also during executive session, the council approved seasonal positions within the parks department. This includes 70 seasonal workers at Chilli Bay Water Park, including a manager, assistant manager, four cashiers, 10 concession workers, and 54 lifeguards. The council also approved the hiring to fill three groundskeeper I positions (seasonal mowers), and two groundskeeper II positions (athletic facilities).

Park to Get New Concessions Stand
By Catherine Stortz Ripley
March 29, 2016

The concessions area of June Shaffer Memorial Park will be expanded this spring, with the addition of a building measuring 16 feet by 26 feet. The new building will replace an existing wooden shed. Randy Brammer, representing Grand River Entertainment, and Parks Director Josh Norris attended Monday night's meeting and made the formal request to the council. "They have a need to provide more storage, and provide more selling windows," Norris said. Brammer explained that the GRE has basically outgrown the building. "The building was originally built and they basically sold pop, popcorn, candy bars, flavored ice and that's it," he said. "We have over 50 items on our menu. We have fried food, grilled food... Lines are sometimes really long. Our goal is to provide better service and faster service to the community." He noted that it's not just during Mudcat games that concessions are sold; but also during high school games and American Legion games. He explained that GRE representatives had talked with contractors and could provide sponsorships to them to help cover some of the costs. Brammer said that Generational Buildings of Jamesport has agreed to build the building. "They are donating that in exchange for three years of major sponsorship of the Mudcats," he said. Copeland Construction has agreed to contribute $2,000 in cash. The electric and plumbing work has not been finalized, but GRE is working with Matt Hopper who will assist with the project. If any money is needed from the city, it would come out of what is already budgeted for Shaffer Park, Brammer said. The request was brought to the council because it involves a permanent building on city property. The council gave a unanimous consensus to proceed with the project, with 4th Ward Councilman Paul Howard abstaining.

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