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COUNCIL MEETING 08 28 17 (Fire Grant, Clay Street Sale, Taters Garden, CPRR Trailer, Battle Badges, Street Dept. Hire)
CT 08 30 17

Grant to Fund New Fire Equipment - A $168,000 federal grant will help the Chillicothe Fire Department upgrade its self-contained breathing apparatus equipment as well as buy other equipment. Fire Chief Darrell Wright said that the city received a FEMA grant that will be used to purchase the SCBAs, bottles, masks with trackers and chargers. Chillicothe City Council members on Monday evening unanimously approved the lowest and best bid for the equipment from Municipal Emergency Services. The total bid amount is for $180,872 and will include the city's $8,000 required grant match and additional funds for extra equipment and upgrades. The local funding will come from the fire department's tax fund in the amount of $20,872. The fire department's tax fund balance (generated through a quarter-cent sales tax that voters passed in 2003) is at $1,057,000. Wright said the grant money will fund purchases that the department would have needed to make anyway. The department's 10-year projection of the tax fund had the fund balance at about $740,000. Although the balance is ahead of what was projected, Chief Wright stated that the department doesn't necessarily have "extra" money and that the it will continue to seek grants when possible.

In other business Monday evening, the council discussed a request from Arch Hasler to purchase a section of Clay Street Park, approved the recommendation by Mayor Chuck Haney to reappoint Martha King to the Housing Board, discussed the acceptance of equipment from Canadian Pacific Railroad, and approved the clearing of the Pass the Taters community garden project.

Arch Hasler first made his request to buy a portion of Clay Street Park, an approximately half-acre at the west end of the park, at a previous council meeting. This section of land is not used by the park and is difficult for the city to maintain according to city officials. City Clerk Roze Frampton told the council on Monday that she did not find anything on the deed that restricts the sale of this part of property. City Attorney Robert Cowherd stated that city would need to place a fair market value on the tract of land and publish a notice of intent to sell the property before the land could be sold. He stated that the city should maintain an easement on the property.

Also Monday, the council discussed the future of Pass the Taters, a community garden located at the west end of the old prison property on Third Street. The garden has not been maintained and is overgrown with weeds. The council approved City Administrator Darin Chappell to proceed with the process of mowing the plot. "This just really needs to be mowed," Chappell told the council. "It's causing water retention, causing places for vermin to be able to hole up, and it's causing an eyesore for the neighborhood. I'm sure it was the best of intentions at the time it was established; but, sometimes, the best of intentions appear to go awry and this appears to be one of those sets of circumstances." The council gave a general consensus to have the plot mowed.

What began as a community garden a little over two years ago has become overgrown and the city now has plans to mow the plot of land. The Pass the Taters Community Garden project was formed in 2015 to provide healthy food and education to anyone in Chillicothe and surrounding communities and to provide a space for individuals and families who do not have land on which to plant a garden. The community garden is located on city-owned property at the west end of the old prison property on Third Street. Chillicothe City Council members on Monday discussed the garden's current condition and agreed to have it mowed, citing concerns about water retention, a habitat for vermin and it becoming visually unpleasant. C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

The council on Monday also discussed storing an oil spill response trailer belonging to Canadian Pacific Railroad. By agreeing to store the equipment, the fire department would have access to use the equipment in case of a hazardous materials spill. The trailer is mostly designed for hazardous materials spills in the water and includes a boat and boat motor. In exchange for housing the trailer, the fire department would be able to use the equipment with no cost or financial responsibility.

The next meeting of the Chillicothe City Council will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, September 7. This will be a meeting that is rescheduled from Monday, September 11, due to several city officials attending the Missouri Municipal League Conference.

Comments were made at the end of the meeting regarding the Battle of the Badges, a fund-raising softball tournament with the Chillicothe Fire Department playing against the Chillicothe Police Department. Police Detective Jon Maples expressed appreciation to the city for its support of the event which took place on Saturday. Proceeds from the event benefit YMCA's Backpack Buddies Program, which provides food to local youth in need. Maples stated that it takes $150 per year to provide food for one child through the Backpack Buddies program, providing food for a child each weekend. This is the third year for the charity tournament and more than $2,000 was raised, surpassing a first year total of $1,300 and a second-year total of $1,400.

The Chillicothe City Council unanimously approved the full-time employment of Elizabeth Osbon as a street department employee on Monday. The action to approve the request by Street Commissioner Barry Arthur occurred in an executive session following the regular city council meeting. Arthur said that Ms. Osbon will officially begin her full time duties with the department on September 4, 2017.

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