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Council Proclaims “Smokebusters Week” April 7-11

By Crystal Howerton

The Edina Board of Aldermen met on March 10, 2008 for the regular monthly meeting. 
In the absence of City Clerk Margaret Gibson who was attending the annual clerk’s meeting, City Collector Betty Morgret read minutes from the previous meeting and they were approved.
Then Collector Morgret discussed the Collector’s Report, including delinquent taxes and requested that Council members abate the court orders for non-collectible taxes from 2006 and previous years in the amount of $569.22, which have not been paid, in order to balance the accounts.
 City Treasurer Peggy Collinge was on hand to discuss her report and asked Council members to amend a mistake in the budget for the primacy fee from $1350 to $2100.  The primacy fee is issued by the state per water meter.  Alderman Tom Morgret informed Collinge that funding for a grant that the Edina Fire Department had been seeking had been depleted therefore they would not receive any funds.
During Citizen’s comments, Edina Mayor Davey Strickler read a letter from Weldon Woodward, Levasy, MO, in response to the Council’s request for public comment last month regarding Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.  First, Woodward commended the Edina Police Department on the excellent job they are doing and enclosed a check for $25 to be used for the Edina Police Department.  Then, Woodward accused the Council of being "bitter and mean spirited" toward Jack McCauley, the late Chester Jones, and the old Edina School and gym, in their attempts to enforce Ordinance 548 regarding the repair or demolition of derelict properties.  He said those citizens wished to "repair and not destroy."
Cindy Gunter and Brett Bryant approached City Council on behalf of Smokebusters with a request to reserve the East Monticello street, north of the courthouse and south of the 4-H Pavilion, in Edina on the last day of school for a street dance and BBQ.  Smokebusters members are not sure of the exact date yet, but would like to begin setting up at 6:00 p.m. and hold the dance from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m.  It was the consensus of the Board to grant their request.  Gunter mentioned her intention to return to the April meeting to present 40 Assets to Council members.
Gary Parish, vice-president of the Knox County Community Center (KCCC) board announced that the first official meeting had been held on February 28 at the extension office and that officers had been elected.  He stated that members had been given copies of bylaws for Scotland County’s community center and asked to revise and update them for Knox County’s use.  Members of the KCCC are making plans to tour other facilities.
Mayor Strickler read a letter from David Davidson, owner of the old Edina School building, in response to hearing that Council members were not satisfied with his attempt to secure windows at the old Edina School building.  In his letter, he informed members that having spoken with Building Inspector Jim Linville he understood that house wrap was satisfactory to secure the building concerning missing windows.  He assured Council members that the house wrap was a temporary measure until the equipment to properly repair the windows could be set up.  As the letter was read in the presence of Davidson, who was in attendance, he was given the opportunity in which to speak.  The conversation that followed held some discord between Council members and Davidson, but eventually they were able to come to an agreement and Davidson was allotted 60 days in order to make the windows in the old school building comply with Ordinance 548 before revisiting the matter.
Building Inspector Jim Linville updated Council members on the progress made at several derelict properties in town.  He stated that considerable progress had been made at 506 S. Linville and 511 E. Morgan, however the house at 604 N. Fourth, formerly owned by Angela Harper, which has been sold is basically in the same condition as it was when he inspected it.  In regard to the two properties owned by Jack McCauley, he said that some of the brush had been cut and outside debris picked up, but, aside from securing the back door at 302 N. First, no major improvements had been made to the structure.  He mentioned that David Davidson had put plastic on the windows of the old school building and secured the steps with snow fence and no trespassing signs.  However, it was his opinion that "neither one has complied with the ordinance.  He reminded Council members that McCauley and Davidson had been informed in January of their 30-day notice and that penalties could be assessed at this time.
Ron McCauley, son of Jack McCauley, spoke on behalf of McCauley properties.  The group discussed Jack McCauley’s intent to use the properties as temporary personal storage units however Ron did not know the time frame in which the properties
See Council, Page 14
would be used in this manner. Council members questioned Ron on his father’s agreement at the January meeting to return with demolition estimates for the property at 302 N. First street within 30 days.  Ron McCauley admitted that he had no knowledge of his father obtaining estimates.  In light of the circumstances, and lack of progress made by Jack McCauley, Council members felt they had no choice but to proceed with legal action.  Aldermen Tom Morgret, Donnie Davis, Albert Hagerla, Craig Miller and Gordon Edwards voted yes to proceed, Alderwoman Renee Edwards voted nay.
Wastewater Superintendent Brad Eitel reported an uneventful month for February and stated that he and Mike Wreidt had been requested to attend a meeting for the Missouri Rural Water Association on March 18-20, 2008.  Council members discussed fencing at the ball field.  Eitel stated that Tony Snelling, Baring, would be building the fence at a cost of $3,500.  He said that Snelling did not expect delays in completing his suggested deadline of May 1.  Eitel mentioned that DNR had strongly recommended fencing around the booster station and the water tower, as well. It was the consensus of the Board for Eitel to discuss the additional cost of fencing these areas with Snelling while he does the ball field.
Superintendent of Utilities Mike Wriedt commented on the excess material on the city streets because of the cinders that were used during snow and ice.  He stated that it needed to be swept up and could possibly be used for next year.  Wriedt revisited his request to purchase a skidloader, which is in the budget for this year.  It was the consensus of the Board to proceed with obtaining bids for this equipment, as well as the new building planned for this spring.
Edina Police Chief Roger Waibel thanked Weldon Woodward for his donation on behalf of the police department and requested that the money be added to the Halloween fund.  As he has mentioned in the past, he suggested that Council members begin looking into redoing the outdated city ordinances, which no longer apply to today’s society.  Council members agreed that it needs to be done, but no action was taken.  Chief Waibel stated that the police department has picked up 11 stray cats and 8 stray dogs recently using the tranquilizer gun and said that it was just the "tip of the iceberg." He stressed that the department does everything in their power to find homes for these animals, but if they are not claimed or eventually placed in homes, they are euthanized. Chief Waibel mentioned the recent groundbreaking for the two-million-dollar discovery center to be built at Greenley Research Center in Novelty and stated what a huge opportunity it will be for Edina and suggested that now is the time to start thinking of ways to improve the city for the large amount of people this project will bring to the area.
Council members voted to hold the annual Easter Egg Hunt as they have in the past, coordinated by the Edina Police Department. 
Mayor Strickler read a letter from Knox County Relay for Life Co-Chairs Betty Couch and Nena Palmer stating that the Relay for Life committee has plans in motion for the 8th annual event.  They requested the use of two city blocks west of the courthouse on June 6 and 7 to stage the event and expressed their appreciation to the Edina Police Department for their assistance in clearing parked vehicles, roping off areas, and electricity, as well as trash pick-up by the city employees.  The request was granted.