With the elections now over, it was time for the new Aldermen to take their places on the board Tuesday, April 9, as the City of Elsberry held their monthly public meeting.
Elsberry Mayor Terry Martin called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. and directed Aldermen and visitors to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance. After making his way through the standard beginnings of the meeting, Mayor Martin then instructed Elsberry City Clerk Jo Ann Cordsiemon to read aloud the official results of the 2013 election before swearing in the new board members.
The official numbers read as such: Terrie Harper, Alderman Ward I, ran unopposed with 37 votes; Rusty Kinion, Alderman Ward II, had a 120 votes while his running opponent Kevin Hill had 42 votes giving Kinion the win with a difference of 78 votes; Ward III write in candidates Bob Kindred had 27 votes, Mike Talbot had 29 votes, Dwayne Tillotson had three votes, Max Rockwell had one vote, Don Marty had one vote and Alan Stonebreaker had one vote, making Mike Talbot the winner and new Alderman for Ward III. City Collector, a one year unexpired term was won by Rachel Heitman-Reed, who ran unopposed, with 254 votes.
After swearing in the new Alderman and Collector, Mayor Martin moved on to appointing those who would take on the rolls of appointed positions, with board approval. Tammy Sharpe was appointed to continue as City Treasurer; Robert Guinness would stay on as City Attorney/Prosecutor, Robert Bodley was appointed to stay on as Chief of Police; Don Slaughter was appointed to the position of City Inspector, Paul Mueller was appointed to remain on as Emergency Management Director, Steve Hillemann was reappointed as Judge, Bill Boswell was reappointed to Planning and Zoning, Blake Wilson was appointed to the Board of Adjustment, Alderman Steve Wilch was appointed as Mayor Pro Temp and Cordsiemon was reappointed as City Clerk.
“I want to thank all those stepping down today,” said Mayor Martin. “You have been a true asset to the community and will be missed. I also want to welcome those coming in and look forward to working with you.”
Moving on, Mayor Martin then announced the 2013 committee members and the committee’s they would be in charge of. The Emergency Services Committee will be handled by Aldermen Brent Rockwell, Matt Hartley and Talbot. Infrastructure will be Kinion, Wilch and Talbot; Cemetery and Parks will be Rockwell, Wilch and Kinion; Economic Development will be Rockwell, Wilch and Harper; Planning and Zoning and Board Representative will be Wilch, as well as Library Representative. The Page Branch Park Committee will be William and Aprile Taylor, Ron Conger, Sarah Hunt, Amy Lowe, Christina Gibbons, Brooke Reller, Cordsiemon and Mayor Martin.
As everyone took their positions and thanked those who voted and appointed them in, the meeting moved on to agenda business, with the first item being updates by Ken Woods with MECO Engineering. According to him, easements for the Lakeview Project are still “kind of dead in the water.” However, he was able to update the board on the water project by stating all the main lines have been installed on Seventh Street, with bacteria samples being sent off and approved. The only thing Woods said still need to be done was the hooking up of services and tying into Ellis and Seventh.
“The Brownsmill tank, as I understand, the interior is totally completed and painted, which is good,” explained Woods. “They are blasting on the outside now, due to some issues with dust, which DNR has been there and has changed the method of what they were doing and is now okay with the way they are doing it now.”
Next item on the agenda was Elsberry resident Gina Tapley, who was there to voice her outrage on the cost of water verse its condition. According to her, she does not feel the quality of Elsberry water is worth the price residents have to pay and is upset at how high her bill is, considering she and her family don’t even drink the water.
“I live on David Street and I would just like to know why we can’t get some clear water?” asked Tapley. “It smells bad, It’s never clear and at times it may be yellow, but never clean and I want to know with all the work being done, or work that has been done, why is it still happening and when can we expect it to be fixed?”
Mayor Martin, in response to her questions, said recently as they begin to shut down the old water tower and begins pumping off the new one, the city is getting reverse water. However, before Mayor Martin could finish Tapley expressed the situation has never been right. At that time Mayor Martin let Mike Dougherty, District Manager for Alliance Water Resources, answer any questions she may have or give a solution for her concerns.
“We will look into it, but is it always kind of cloudy,” asked Dougherty. Tapley responded by saying she doesn’t know if it’s coincidence but since putting her name on the agenda her water quality has been much better. “Maybe I should have done this six months ago, I’m just saying. But there is a smell that is very strong and it’s not chlorine and it’s not all the time,” said Tapley.
According to Tapley, the problem has been there since before the start of the Brownsmill Water Tower and she is concerned about the safety of drinking it or even using it for daily use. Explaining more, Tapley stated how it is damaging her family’s clothes and leaves residue on dishes and other washable items.
“We will have to run some tests and possibly do some excavation to look at the pipes on the property in order to get an idea of what may be happening,” said Dougherty. “I think this would also be a good time to introduce Terry Merritt, who will be taking over as the new Division Manager for Alliance Water in this area. Merritt actually has more certifications than I do and is probably better able to address these concerns.”
Merritt began apologizing to Tapley for the problems she is having and told her that she is free, as is any resident to contact him. According to him, it could be a couple more months for these problems to start diminishing as they are still working on flushing out the system from the old pipes. However, he assured her and all residents there should be a decrease in problems as they move closer to a completed project.
“The issue right now is we are dealing with reverse water, as we have begun pumping out of the new station,” said Merritt. “We are also flushing the system twice a year now, where before we only needed to do it once a year. But as we flush, it stirs up the stuff that has been sitting in these old pipes and it’s going to take a little bit more time to get a lot of that out, but I promise the water is safe to drink. We wouldn’t allow residents to drink it or we would issue a boil alert if we felt the water was harmfully contaminated.”
Not seemingly satisfied with the answers given, Tapley said she would contact him and see what could be done to fix the problems she is having at her location. With no other reports by alderman or officials the only other piece of business voted and approved was the liquor license application for the Sacred Heart Catholic Church Picnic event. Other items discussed but tabled for further review by new alderman were ordinances pertaining to landlord responsibility of water bills following tenant failure and requirements for the use and construction of large vehicle access ways to be changed from 6,000 pounds to 24,000; both items to be discussed at the next meeting at 6:30 p.m. on May 14.
With nothing else, the board voted to go into closed session and adjourned the open meeting.