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8-7-13

City proposes mayor
become 3-year term
Parkville voters
will decide issue

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

Parkville voters will have the opportunity to decide whether the mayor should be able to serve a three-year term.

The board of aldermen on Tuesday approved an ordinance to place a measure on the Nov. 5 ballot to change the term of office for the mayor from two years to three years.

If the measure passes in November, then it will be effective for the mayoral election to be held in April 2014.

According to Lauren Palmer, city administrator, the cost to put the measure on the ballot in November will be between $5,000 and $6,000. The estimated cost is an unbudgeted expense.

Palmer told the board the proposed changes to the mayoral terms will allow the election to be staggered to coincide alternatively with different aldermen elections.

She said the change will also allow the mayor to serve for a longer term, increasing continuity.

Currently aldermen are elected every two years and the mayoral elections always coincide with the same board member elections.

The city could have avoided the cost by placing the measure on the April 2014 municipal election, but the changes would not have gone into effect until April 2016.

The board approved placing the measure on the April ballot with a vote of 7-0.

The board also on Tuesday voted to hire several employees. Bob Fluchel will be the new nature sanctuary director, replacing Patricia Harris who was promoted to the position on June 4. Amanda Miller was hired as a part-time department assistant after working in an intern position since April. Mason Bless was hired as a full-time and temporary laborer for the street department.

A preliminary discussion by the board concerning implementing late fees and penalties on delinquent sewer bills was tabled until the next meeting.

Previously, Missouri American Water had handled the billing for sewer, but stopped the service at the beginning of the year. Palmer told the board that the city's current ordinances about sewer billing are old and will need to be updated.

Currently there are about 100 customers with unpaid accounts. About 75 of those customers have not made a payment to the city since the billing switch in January.

The proposed changes will include a 10 percent late charge on delinquent bills and an additional 3 percent every month it continues to be unpaid. After 90 days from delinquency and proper notice, water service may be shut off. The customer would then have to pay the disconnect/reconnect fee based on the cost charged to the city by Missouri American Water. The city would also have the ability to assess a lien against a property for the unpaid bill.

City staff estimates the bills total over $40,000 that has been uncollected since the city took over billing.

Palmer said that if the city passes the ordinance at the next meeting the fees would go into effect on Oct. 1. This would allow the city to send out final 30 day notices for past due accounts. The city could then begin shutting off water services on Nov. 1. She said the goal is to collect as much of the $40,000 in the 2013 fiscal year as possible.

The board tabled the discussion to be resumed at the next meeting on Aug. 20.