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The Lake News Online
  • Lake Ozark ends special events fee

  • Lake Ozark residents who may be applying to the city for a special event can breathe a little easier after a recent board of aldermen decision.

    They won't be charged a $125 fee that is required by city ordinance.


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  • Lake Ozark residents who may be applying to the city for a special event can breathe a little easier after a recent board of aldermen decision.
    They won't be charged a $125 fee that is required by city ordinance.
    Inconsistency in how the ordinance has been applied brought the matter to the table along with a concern that the increasing number of events is taxing the Police Department. It's a "good news, bad news" type of problem, as one city official noted.
    Alderman Tony Otto asked Police Chief Mark Maples how many of the estimated 22 annual events require police overtime. Maples estimated from six to eight, wondering also why the city requires the fee for some events and not others.
    "The good news is that we haven't had any problems at any of the events, but the larger ones can be a challenge," he said.
    Non-profit groups can apply for a waiver, but aldermen struggled with how to define not-for-profit.
    Alderman Larry Buschjost shared a concern that has been raised before.
    "I don't see why we don't follow our ordinances," he said. "We have ordinances, but we follow them willy-nilly. I think these rules and regulations were put in place for a reason."
    City Administrator said under the ordinance the city is obligated to charge the fee unless the organization asks the board for a waiver.
    The discussion ended when Otto offered a motion that no fees should be charged for special event applications. His recommendation was approved unanimously.
    Greasy situation
    The board also discussed at length an existing ordinance that regulates how grease is discharged into the sanitary sewer system.
    The issue has been on going as the city works with restaurants to help them reduce the amount of grease that enters the system.
    There have been issues of blockages and even damage to the sewer system because of improperly disposed of grease.
    The board recently approved a waiver for Wise Guys Brew Pub, LLC, allowing them to install a grease recovery unit rather than an outdoor grease interceptor. Wise Guys owners told city staff recently their type of operation does not require the more costly and complex interceptor equipment.
    Aldermen Buschjost said while he understood the issue, he was most concerned with his belief that the city changes ordinances on a whim without giving serious thought to how the long-term impact of their decision.
    Alderman Don Langley said he thinks the existing ordinance needs clarity and is deterring entrepreneurship on the Strip. He said some type of formula should be developed so businesses have specific guidelines.
    Alderman Jeff Van Donsel said the ordinance isn't being enforced equitably and should go back to the Utility Commission for review.
    Page 2 of 2 - "The ordinance needs to be more specific so we don't have to re-write it every time someone comes in," he said.
    But Buschjost took a slightly different approach, saying he doesn't want an ordinance written so strictly that a business has to have an engineering study done.
    City Attorney Roger Gibbons interjected, saying the ordinance provides flexibility for different types and sizes of businesses, and has exemptions built in as well.
    Matt Michalik, Public Works director, said the DNR has an established formula that he uses as a guide in determining a business's need.
    "You can do with the ordinance as you want, but I think the code is okay," he said.
    While Van Donsel said the ordinance is too arbitrary, Buschjost said he felt it's too complicated.
    "The ordinance is too vague and arbitrary," Van Donsel said. " A new business has to come to the city for guidance. It should be black and white as to what to do."
    Ultimately, aldermen voted unanimously to table a decision.
    Leaves
    Lake Ozark resident Laura Edwards returned to the podium during the citizen comment portion of the meeting to reiterate her concern that the city needs to do something about leaves in the ditches.
    She also said she'd like to live in a town with warning sirens, but is aware the city has to consider its budget as well. A resident of Ward I, Edward said she is alerted by an Osage Beach warning siren during storms.
    "At least make a start," she suggested. "At least do a siren on W Road."
    The city later voted 4-2 to proceed with a lease-purchase agreement with U.S. bank to finance two sirens -- one at the main fire station on Bagnell Dam Blvd., and the other at the Fire Station on The North Shore.
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