Water drainage and maintenance big topics
Shown above is one of the drainage areas off Welch Dr. As heavy rains come in, the debris flows into the pipes, clogs them and in turn overflows the drain.
It was a full quorum on Tuesday, July 9 as Elsberry Aldermen and officials met for their monthly meeting. However, it seemed to be more of a table talk, as several items on the evening’s agenda were left for further review.
The evening began as usual, Elsberry Mayor Terry Martin called the meeting to order and everyone rose for the Pledge of Allegiance. The board approved the reading and acting upon unapproved minutes of previous meetings and unpaid bills, which included any Lakeview invoices. With the Jay Gourley, with Boonslick Regional Planning Commission absent, it was left up to Ken Woods of MECCO Engineering to provide updates on current projects.
“In regard to Wehmeyer Farms, the final inspection was done with Steve Wilch present, as well as [Martin] and Marshall Suddarth [with Alliance Water Resources],” said Woods. “There are seven items that were notes that either weren’t done or need to have work done and one of them, that I noticed, is the fire hydrant located at Seventh Street and Bailey is pointing north, and it just needs to be spun around so it’s pointing south.”
According to Woods, simply swinging it around would make it easier for the Fire Department and property owners. As it sits, the hydrant points into the direction of residents.
“There is some additional work yet to be done,” said Woods.
Also in attendance was Rodger Wehmeyer with Wehmeyer Farms who took a moment to address some of the issues the city was concerned with. Some examples were South Second Street hurricane did not relay to center of the street as discussed, Kaiser Plaza needs to be restriped, re-asphalt crossing was skipped and a several other items.
“We definitely try to address all these issues,” said Wehmeyer. “As far as I’m concerned, we will try to get all these done as quick as possible.”
The City approved the final payment to Wehmeyer Farms pending the completion of listed items and according to Martin, most of the work has been done, they just need to finish the rest. As part of their contract, Wehmeyer Farms is responsible for any erosion issues for the next year, in selected areas.
Following a little more discussion, Woods then updated that McGuire Iron has completed their portion. However, Woods said there were a few items that need to be touched up and he would take that up with them, such as hauling away some loss lumber, fixing a couple valves and some other miscellaneous items.
“We’re going to give this list to McGuire Iron and hopefully we can get it taken care of,” said Woods.
Next on the agenda was from Allen Mills regarding some drainage issues. According to him, just a few years ago, the city was responsible for the cleaning of the ditches and whatnot throughout the city.
“I asked [former Alliance Water Resources Manager Ron Conger] who was responsible and he replied saying it was the city’s,” explained Mills. “Now I stand here and ask [Elsberry City Attorney] Rob Guinness, who is actually legally responsible for storm water run off?”
Mills went on to explain how over the years the city has made a lot of different changes near David Street and in the process diverted a lot of water into people’s properties. Mills said he had water in his home three times and it all has to do with a lack of the city maintaining their storm water run off.
“Now if you all aren’t going to do the job, or if there isn’t any guidelines to what’s to be done, then I’m going to fill my ditches in and make a levee myself,” said Mills to the Board of Aldermen. “I look at it as that is the city’s responsibility to maintain proper drainage ditches, especially when they’re the ones that came in, whether it be subcontracting or what not, and diverted water from one area onto other people.”
Mills further explained that at one point and time David Street had two really good ditches that divided the street to run in down a natural drainage way, and that is now diverted.
“When I and my neighbors have ditches full of gravel, I mean where did that come from?” asked Mills. “It either came form your contractors or from the city putting rock in the alley ways, because it sure didn’t come off my property.”
After a little bit of discussion, Suddarth intervened stating that according to city ordinances, ditches in front of homeowners’ homes are the responsibility of the homeowner.
“It is possible the gravel could of flowed out of the alley ways but I can’t say for sure that’s what happened,” said Suddarth. “My concern is, if I do his, or somebody else’s, then we’ll have to do everybody’s. If it was a crossing under the street, then yes it ours, but I’m not a hundred percent on this matter.”
According to Alderman Matt Hartley, some changes have to be made.
“We have a very great image of having the cheapest water in the state and doing so much for our community. Now I think we could help in out and help some others as well and I don’t think it will cost the city a great deal of money to do so,” said Hartley. “I’m just saying we need to take care of the people that take care of us. I’m tired of hearing about people coming into complain and nothing ever gets done.”
The board agreed to go look at the situation and see what kind of resolution could be had.
Next on the agenda was lightning damage to the city’s communication equipment. According to Suddarth, the last bad storm that swept through the area took out part of the communication equipment between the wells and the water treatment plant.
“We have filed an insurance claim, but along with that, we also lost an auto dialer, some lights and a few other things,” explained Suddarth. “We were able to add all of that into our claim.”
Keeping pace, Elsberry Police Chief Robert Bodley addressed the board asking if he would be able to use his personal vehicle to patrol on days where there was more than just one person on duty. According to him, the benefit is simply a tax write off.
“All I’m asking is if the city insurance would cover anything if something were to happen while on duty using my personal vehicle?” asked Bodley. “If so, could I use mine when I have other officers on duty. This would keep the miles down on our current vehicles and I would maintain all the servicing maintenance on my truck. All I would ask is if the city may be able to help here and there with gas?”
The board seemed to entertain the thought and simply said they would look into it further and get back to him, possibly next month.
After a few other items, the board voted and adjourned into closed session. The next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 13 inside the Elsberry City Hall Meeting Room.
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