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Ball field drainage
issue gets attention

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

An attempt at a quick fix for the drainage problem at the youth baseball fields at Hwy. 92 and Fourth St. was approved by the Platte City Board of Aldermen Tuesday night.

Aldermen approved spending $3,000 toward installing an asphalt curb near the ball fields to help funnel water to a drainage inlet. The drainage inlet will need to be cleaned and Frank Mabry, public works superintendent, suggested enlarging the inlet to handle the anticipated increase in water.

Officials described it as a logical first step to address the drainage problem at the fields. Eventually the city intends to deal with a runoff problem below the Kennedy Building on the Hwy. 92 side of the ball fields.

Dannie Stamper, parks and rec director, said the erosion problem from a nearby hillside will need to be addressed eventually so the drainage inlet won't get plugged again.

Mayor Dave Brooks said the action by the city was needed to help ensure the use of the ball fields this summer by local youth teams. A more permanent solution can be addressed upon conclusion of the season, he said.

The city also approved spending $2,000 to help the parks and recreation department restore the fields from damage caused in recent months by the severe drainage problem at the fields.

In other business at Tuesday's meeting, the aldermen:

•Tabled discussion on the city's temporary sign ordinance until the next meeting. Recently it was reported several businesses are in violation of the ordinance. Currently the city's ordinance is good for 21 days, requires a $250 deposit and only allows a business to be issued one annually. Brooks remarked he'd like to see the ordinance relaxed a bit. "I'd like to see us consider something other than what we're doing now," he said. "These businesses are trying to make a living in the city."

•Tabled a decision on increasing the amount the city pays toward employee health insurance premiums. The motion would have been tied to increasing the maximum pay scale amounts for the positions of city administrator, police chief and public works superintendent, among others, and Alderman Ron Porter questioned the need to raise the maximum pay for those spots considerably more than the maximum pay for other public workers.

Currently, employees receive a monthly benefit credit of $265 that can be used toward health, dental, life and disability insurance. City Administrator Keith Moody is recommending that amount be increased to $285 per month. He said the city's health insurance premiums will be going up significantly soon, and employees will see an increased deduction from their paycheck as a result.

The issue will be brought up again at the next meeting.

•Decided to use all means to enforce the city's ordinance requiring all businesses to purchase an annual business license. City Clerk Tanya Bates said there are currently six businesses who have not renewed. She said in the past five years the city has taken only one business to court for failure to buy a license. The board authorized proceeding with issuing a court summons to those who have not yet renewed.

•Approved the following appointments.

Planning and zoning: David Shaw, Carole Coots and Bill Knighton.

Parks and rec: Richard Stephens and Ron Laures.

Board of zoning adjustment: Tom Arnold.