The Laurie Board of Aldermen had a fairly light agenda for their Tuesday, July 11, meeting. Before the meeting, however, they held a public hearing to get input on the next part of their Sidewalk Master plan.
Three citizens were there for the meeting. Doug Gill, the most vocal citizen, questioned the board on why it was looking at Phase 5A, which extends a sidewalk up O Road to just before the Fountain Apartments. The board responded that it was the cheapest option available, and it would greatly enhance safety for Laurie citizens. He also asked the board who was responsible for maintaining and cleaning the sidewalk, to which the board responded that they did not know.
City Attorney Andrew Renken said that it was difficult to determine who was responsible because it was in MODOT’s right-of-way. Alderman Jeff Chorpening said that he knows Lee’s Summit has an ordinance stating that the city has no responsibility for the sidewalks, and thought it might be a good idea for Laurie to pass a similar ordinance.
Renken stated that the city’s insurance company might have a better idea of who was responsible. Citizen Martha Moulder told the board that something needed to be done because certain areas were rapidly being degraded by traffic. One such area she pointed out was the sidewalk in front of Edgar’s Bait and Tackle. The fill that evened out the road had been washed out, and low-riding vehicles were causing damage to the sidewalk.
The meeting began with Mayor Allen Kimberling suggesting the board re-appoint L. J. Hipple to the Laurie Planning and Zoning Committee. Alderman Karen Dobbins voiced dissent, stating that she likes to see change every once in awhile.
“I would like to see someone else on the board,” she said.
The rest of the board had no issues, and it was voted to reappoint Hipple with Dobbins voting nay.
“Let’s think about it next time we have an opening,” she said.
The board then moved on to vote on the sidewalk project. They decided to move forward with Phase 5A, with Alderman Carol Gill voting nay.
Next up was the Comprehensive Master Plan update. Linda Connor with the Lake of the Ozarks Council of Local Government had presented the board with an offer to update their Master Plan for the city at June’s meeting. The board took the month to consider it, and decided it was a good idea. Their next step is to put together a steering committee and begin their study of the city.
To that end, the board will begin putting out public service announcements asking for volunteers. A key demographic they want is younger people who will be spending a significant chunk of their lives in Laurie. But the board is looking for anyone willing to take time and spend effort planning the future of the city. Dobbins stated she would like that.
“As much as they like to complain, I think they should step forward with this,” she said.
The street paving is set to begin soon, though delays have been keeping the contractors from coming in yet. City Clerk Ron Clarke said he was told that if they kept getting delayed, the contractors stated they would be willing to do the paving on Fridays just to meet the schedule.
The board voted to formally ask Judge Steve Grantham to come cover the Laurie Municipal Court following the unexpected early retirement of Judge Pat Scott. They are hoping to completely dissolve the municipal court and move all proceedings to the Morgan County courts by the end of the year.
Laurie’s post office is still in limbo as the moratorium’s end has been delayed until September. There is some good news as several businesses have come forward that are willing to take on a contracted post office, so the city will be ready to move as soon as the moratorium is over.
Department heads had little to report to the board. Most notable was that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources had no negative feedback following the chemical dumps at the car wash, and that they had conducted a water quality test and found no issues.
Alderman Dobbins told the board that Tree City USA will be holding a meeting on July 19 at 10 a.m., and they had a plaque given for City Hall that celebrates their induction into the program.
“This is quite an honor,” she said. “Not many cities in Missouri are part of Tree City USA.”
Dobbins also mentioned that they had found a retired landscaper who is willing to draw up a landscaping plan for the front of City Hall free of charge. The beautification committee is seeking out beautification grants to pay for the changes.