The first meeting in October of Sedalia City Council began with two public hearings Monday night.

Chief Building Official Devin Lake provided Council with an update concerning changes in City Code pertaining to updated flood zone maps that are used to provide public information regarding areas that are subject to intermittent flooding through GIS. Property owners can then participate in a program that allows for flood insurance and adjustment of rates.

Lake showed on maps where the flood plain has shrunk slightly in Sedalia since the last update.

Time was given for public input. No comments were received. Later in the meeting Council passed an ordinance to adopt the updates in City Code.

The second public hearing concerned an annexation for land owned by Midwest Landing LLC along Cambridge Drive. A previous public hearing on the matter was held. However, it was later discovered that the legal description for the property was changed, therefore the process was repeated for clarity and transparency, it was noted by legal counsel. A waiting period of 14 days then takes place after the hearing to consider adoption of an ordinance to finally conclude the annexation of this property.

Under Finance and Administration, Bothwell Regional Health Center CEO Lori Wightman and CFO Steve Davis presented their required annual audit report to Council concerning the City-owned hospital, organized under Chapter 96 of State Statutes.

Bothwell was listed only once in the stable category, and is currently facing about $13 million in debt.

"We have to deal with the financial reality," Wightman told Council members, adding that the hospital is constantly searching for more FEMA and grant money.

Davis said the biggest change Bothwell has made is in its Margin Improvement Plan, which saves $6400 a day.

Bothwell now has a K9 unit patrolling the grounds in the form of "Ringo" and his handler Mike Van Deusen. Ringo and Mike have been on the job for about three weeks after receiving four weeks of training in Ohio.

Wightman noted that the K9 unit helps reduce aggressive behavior at Bothwell, where health care workers have been assaulted and weapons confiscated. There was also a bomb threat at the hospital a few months ago.

A presentation from IMA concerning a self-funded health insurance program then took place. Staff has been working with insurance brokers to determine if self-funding City employees' health insurance would be prudent and what options are available. The City is now ready to move forward with self-funding. The process will take three years to complete. There was no opposition voiced by Council members.

A memorandum of understanding was then adopted between the City and BRHC. The goal was an agreement with pricing based off Medicare 's published rates for services. This will provide the City with direct pricing at a discounted rate from the hospital's retail rates, referred to as "Direct Bill Services" it was noted, according to Shannon Ramey-Trull, HR.

Under Public Safety, Council heard a presentation from Sedalia Police Chief Wirt and Cpl. Andrew Silvey concerning a desire by the SPD to implement a SAFE (Safety Advocates For Everyone) coalition in Sedalia. Cpl. Silvey told Council he has a good relationship with MoDOT, and added that MoDOT is eager to fund programs that are successful.

Mayor Andrew Dawson suggests that the City move forward with the SAFE program.

Under Public Works, Cemetery Director Roger Waters presented his strategic planning projections for the coming year.

One idea he would like to see implemented is a Committal Service Shelter. The shelter would be a covered pavilion over a concrete pad that could seat 20-25 people, designed to provide temporary shelter from the elements during an interment service, he said.

Since Crown Hill Cemetery was founded in February of 1866, there have been 24,824 burials there through September, 2023. And so far this year, there have been 102 burials. Waters has sold 59 grave lots and 17 niches this year.

This was the first of several presentations that will be delivered by department heads that will lead up to a strategic planning session by Council on January 6, when they set budget priorities for the City. Budget work sessions will then follow in February and March, until a final budget is adopted at the last Council meeting in late March.

Council approved the purchase of a 2020 Ford F-250 for the Street Department at a cost of $34,000 that is being sold by the MSHP. SPD Chief Matt Wirt did the research and located the pickup, it was noted.

The City has secured a $10,000 TRIM grant through the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Council formally accepted the grant Monday night.

Under Community Development, five items were considered:

Council approved the annexation of property located at the corner of 16th and Water Tower Road. The Property is owned by Jeff Redford, managing member of Helaman Drive, LLC.

Council approved updates in City Code concerning flood zone maps that are used in flood insurance programs.

Council delayed discussion about a petition submitted at the last meeting asking for angle parking downtown and one-way streets (a la Marshall Square and Clinton Square). The idea, presented by downtown business owners Tim Keele and Chris Paszkiewicz at the previous Council meeting, is designed to increase parking capacity and safety in the downtown area. Public Works Chris Davies has been on vacation, so therefore has not had time to study the proposed concept. The matter will be taken up at the October 16 meeting.

Chief Wirt has located a used 2020 Ford F-150 "Responder" with under 50,000 miles on it for the facilities maintenance department. The cost of the truck is $31,500 and being sold by the Kansas Highway Patrol. A resolution and two ordinances were passed by Council to make the purchase.

Community Development Administrative Assistant Jilene Streit resigned, after marking her 10th year with the City at the last Council meeting, and Community Development Director John Simmons has requested more help with grant writing and management duties. Council said it wants to review and formally approve any new job descriptions, such as a "permit technician." A draft of the new job description, along with a budget amendment, was submitted to Council. A resolution and two ordinances were passed by Council to make it happen.

City Clerk Jason Myers noted that Chris Rupe has resigned from the Tree Board. Also, Ann Graff was appointed to the Planning & Zoning Committee with a  term ending June of 2027.

Five liquor license renewals were approved Monday night, including:

Janice Ulmer dna Sedalia Elks Lodge 125, 320 South Kentucky, for liquor by the drink and Sunday Sales, $750

Paul Beykirch dba County Distributing Co., Inc., 1800 Eagleview Drive, for wholesale beer, $50

Kevin Laong dba Loyal Order of Moose Lodge 1494, 119 Winchester Drive, for liquor by the drink and Sunday Sales, $750

Jennifer Edwards dba End Zone Sports Bar & Grill, LLC, 3129 West Broadway, for liquor by the drink and Sunday Sales, $750

Minerva M. Perez dba El Tapatio LLC, 3000 South Limit, for liquor by the drink and Sunday Sales, $750

Under Good & Welfare, Sedalia Senior Center volunteer Renee Vance noted that the senior center, now starting its new fiscal year, now serves 5,000 meals a month. A fund-raiser lasagna dinner will be held Oct. 15 from 11 to 1. Cost is $12 for adults and $5 for kids.

Third Ward Councilman Bob Hiller reminded everyone that Thursday, Oct. 26 is the date for the annual Crimestoppers spaghetti dinner at Parkview Church on East 16th Street across from the old Centennial Pool. Serving begins at 5 p.m. The public is invited.

Councilmen Jack Robinson and Bob Cross were absent from Monday night's 127-minute meeting.

Council then adjourned to closed-door session for legal advice, Real Estate, personnel and negotiated contracts.

Council meets again Oct. 16. The public is invited.

Council Oct. 2

Gallery Credit: Randy Kirby

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