The meeting kicked off with Lisa Officer of Officer CPA Firm, LLC, presenting the findings of the 2016 audit. Of note was an increase of net assets by $69,299, bringing the city up to a total of $7,504,975. The city also saw an increase to its general fund of $18,264, bringing the general fund up to $897,923. Of that, $438,331 is reserved for capital projects, debt service and prepaid expenses. Officer told the board it would likely need to spend some of its reserves on new grinder pumps for the sewer system, but on the whole is doing well.

The Laurie Board of Aldermen had a heavy agenda Tuesday, May 9. Among the items tackled were new ordinances, an audit review and updates to the master plan for sidewalk projects.
The meeting kicked off with Lisa Officer of Officer CPA Firm, LLC, presenting the findings of the 2016 audit. Of note was an increase of net assets by $69,299, bringing the city up to a total of $7,504,975. The city also saw an increase to its general fund of $18,264, bringing the general fund up to $897,923. Of that, $438,331 is reserved for capital projects, debt service and prepaid expenses. Officer told the board it would likely need to spend some of its reserves on new grinder pumps for the sewer system, but on the whole is doing well.
Next the board tackled an amendment to the nuisance ordinance. The ordinance was updated to include the dumping of chemicals into the wastewater system. It had previously protected only the stormwater system. The change was prompted by damages to the sewer system by an unknown individual dumping various chemicals at the Laurie car wash. Before the ordinance was passed, Alderman Herb Keck prompted a discussion by asking if there was some way to hold property owners accountable for chemicals dumped on their property. City Attorney Steve Grantham responded, telling Keck that it wasn’t possible because that would be saying the property owner is complicit in the dumping.
“Ordinance violations are civil in nature,” he said. “But they’re quasi-criminal in that they can bring a fine or jail time. By holding them accountable, you are saying they are a criminal.”
Grantham went on to say that requesting a good faith effort on the property owner’s part to keep chemical dumps from occurring is fine.
Keck also asked if there was any sort of electronic device that might be able to detect chemicals in the sewer system before they reached the treatment plant. Sewer Department Head Steve Holloway told Keck he was not aware of any such devices, but he would look into it.
“I’ll talk to other cities to see how they take care of these kinds of issues,” Holloway said. “We might be able to put a ‘sniffer’ on the car wash holding tank that will detect odors.”
After finishing the new sidewalk, the board realized there was a need to update its Transportation Enhancement Master Plan. To that end, board members contracted Anderson Engineering to update the plan and assist with grant applications for the phases. The board reviewed the plan, noting that Phase 1 had been removed, and that Phase 5 had been split into Phase 5A and Phase 5B.
Phase 1 would have created a sidewalk through the fairgrounds from Route O to Highway 5. Phase 5 will create a sidewalk along Route O from Highway 5 to the Fountain Apartments; 5A goes to the Laurie Care Center and 5B creates a crosswalk to a sidewalk that runs the remaining distance to Fountain Apartments. The revised total cost for finishing Phases 2, 4 and 5 is $860,000. City Clerk Ron Clarke informed the board that Anderson Engineering is still open to changes in the plan, and will work with the board to implement them. After that, the board will need to hold a public hearing to pick a phase, and the grant process will begin.
The board next reviewed a social media policy that will affect all city employees. The policy is designed to prevent legal issues stemming from employee use of social media, from hate speech to work interference. It does not limit any sort of free speech, noted in the ordinance. The ordinance also states that any social media use on behalf of the city is subject to the Missouri Sunshine Law.
Discussed in the April meeting, the board revisited the need to extend and update the water line along Route O. A study from 2010 had recommended a 12-inch line to replace the existing four-inch line. However, growth had not met predicted levels, and an 8-inch line was recommended to support water pressure for outlying residences and to place fire hydrants. The new study would help determine the proper line size. The expansion could also be broken into phases to ease the cost. Alderman Jeff Chorpening asked how long a new study would be good for.
“I’d hate to see us spend $8,700 and do nothing,” he said.
He was told the study would be good for at least five years, and the sooner it was done, the sooner the city could apply for grants that would help with the project. The board tabled the discussion for further review.
The board then discussed the revocation of Central Missouri Archery’s business license. Clarke informed the board he had recently received a letter from the state informing the city that the business had not paid its sales tax, and so the business’s state business license had been revoked. As per city ordinance, the city also revoked the business license. Clarke told the board he had sent a letter to the business, but had received no response. He recommended the board take punitive action. Grantham informed the board that it had to follow the policy of holding a hearing after 10 days of the revocation in order to begin fining the business for not being licensed. Alderman Chorpening asked if the ordinance needed to be changed to bring it in line with state policies, but Grantham told the board that the ordinance was typical across the state among other cities.
“All cities have this kind of ordinance,” he said. “You must have the 10-day hearing to penalize them.”
The board scheduled a hearing for Wednesday, May 24, at 6 p.m.
As the meeting was wrapping up, Grantham announced that he would be resigning from his position to become the 26th circuit court associate judge.
“I thank everyone here. I had a really good time here, and I think we did a lot of good,” he said. “I appreciate you letting me go out on my own terms.”
Replacing him will be Andrew Renken of Renken Law Firm. Renken has practiced law in the lake area since 2004, with an office in Laurie since 2008. He is a general practice lawyer with a law degree from Missouri University.
“I’m looking forward to helping the city move forward,” he said.
The board voted to appoint Renken effective upon Grantham’s resignation at the end of the month.