Mayor Kimberling informed the board he would like to see a sales tax on next year’s ballot. He proposed that 1/4 of 1% be instituted to increase funding for the police department.

The Laurie Board of Aldermen meeting solidified plans to expand the water system along Route O Tuesday night after a lengthy discussion on alternative options.

The proposed temporary fix to meet Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) standards was to purchase the standpipe and well behind the Lake Wood Center along Route O, and co-opt the system into existing water lines.

The board hired Bartlett & West Engineering to do a feasibility study. Matt VanderTuig was in attendance to explain to the board how the system would be integrated, and what the end results would be.

VanderTuig looked at the pros and cons of both options, and recommended the board pursue the full Route O expansion due to the issues regarding both longevity and maintenance.

While the standpipe purchase would meet DNR requirements, it was not a full solution and would service only the Indian Rock Golf Course. Any expansion beyond that would have to be served by a different system due to issues with elevation and water reserves.

“A lot of work will be needed to make the system work with an existing facility,” said VanderTuig. “But it does meet the minimum requirements for DNR.”

In the end, the board voted to pursue the full Route O expansion, despite a higher initial cost. It was determined that the potential for growth support and ease of utilizing a new system as compared to creating workarounds was preferable to both the city and the residents.

The board will determine the amount needed to request for a bond at the next meeting and will present the issue to voters on the April 2018 ballot. 

Municipal Court Updates

The Laurie Municipal Court will continue hosting cases through the month of November. All files need to be transferred and all open cases closed by December 15 to meet transfer requirements for the county.

Clerk Ron Clarke told the board that that won’t be an issue, and they are expecting to reopen the municipal court at the County Courthouse in Versailles starting February 27, 2018.

Post Office Update

Mayor Allen Kimberling told the board he had received a number of letters from state representatives and Senator Claire McCaskill on the matter, but it was out of their hands due to the ongoing Postal Workers Union moratorium. He had been contacted by the postal service, and the inquired about a potential Contract Postal Unit at a local business.

Alderwoman Karen Dobbins said she spoke to the employees at the Gravois Post Office and had been told the representatives had come through and toured the potential locations for a CPU. They expect to hear more when the moratorium ends in December.

City Budget

Clerk Clarke informed the board minor changes had been made to the budget for increased insurance costs, increased police vehicle maintenance and increased water testing for the wastewater system.

A final budget will be presented next month for approval by the board. Most everything else will remain the same as this year’s budget.

Sales Tax Proposal

Mayor Kimberling informed the board he would like to see a sales tax on next year’s ballot. He proposed that 1/4 of 1% be instituted to increase funding for the police department.

“This would bring in about $75,000,” said Kimberling. “We could hire two more full-time police officers.”

He also pointed out that this would free up money currently being drawn from their general funds.

Dobbins said she liked that idea, but was concerned about where all of the money was going.

“I don’t want us to cut ourselves short,” she said. “We’ve got so many things to spend money on. All of the surrounding areas are doing the use tax again. Everyone is going to Amazon, and it’s not fair. We’re not getting any of that.”

Alderman Jeff Chorpening said he though more money for the police was a great idea, but didn’t like the increase in taxes.

“I like it, but I’m 100% against raising taxes,” he said. “I want to exhaust all other options first.”

He brought up the idea of charging people to go through the Enchanted Village of Lights, but it was quickly pointed out by other board members that the Village raised $30,000 in donations last year, and that charging would likely cut into the attendance.

Chorpening stated he wasn’t specifically relying on that, but would like to see other ideas like that be ruled out before raising any taxes. The discussion was tabled.

Other News

The Fall Follies Street Machine car show had a record year, and the Rotary requested use of the Hillbilly Fairgrounds for the show next year. It was approved. The board voted to hold their annual Volunteer Dinner at the Elks Lodge on December 5.

The board also made a motion to hold an election in April 2018. The meeting wrapped up with the board being informed that the Enchanted Village of Light was expected to be open on Friday, November 17.