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New aldermen will be appointed at Dearborn

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

After getting some advice from the Missouri Municipal League, it appears the board of aldermen for the City of Dearborn will soon be able to get itself out of executive session and move on with conducting business.

Mayor Marvin Landes on Wednesday morning said next week there will be a special meeting of what's left of his board of aldermen. At that meeting, Landes expects to be ready to appoint two new aldermen to bring the board back to its full strength of four members.

Landes said he has talked to a couple of potential appointees and is expecting to hear back from them later this week.

The next regular meeting of the Dearborn board would normally be set for Monday, but Landes said one of the remaining aldermen has a conflict. The special meeting may be held next Thursday night, he indicated, followed by the regular meeting. More information will be available by calling city hall later this week at 992-3524.

Following a resignation a couple of months ago by Alderman Steve Counts, the normally four-member Dearborn board was down to three members. The number went down to two last month when Alderman Frank Downing, Jr. resigned in the middle of an executive session, leaving the board without a quorum and apparently stuck in closed session.

"Our city ordinance states I can't appoint a replacement unless we're within six months of a municipal election," Landes said earlier this week.

But the mayor added that he and the city attorney have been in contact with the league of municipalities and have been advised that the mayor can in fact make appointments to fill the board openings.

"They told us state law supersedes these local ordinances, which are apparently outdated," Landes said this week.

"It looks like I basically can appoint replacements to those alderman positions regardless of when the next municipal election is," the mayor added.

"We need to get on with the business of the city," he said.

Downing was reluctant to comment on the reasons for his resignation, which came at a recent special meeting being held for personnel decisions.

"I want the people to know I hate that I couldn't finish out my term. The circumstances were such that I had to get out," he said. He explained there were disagreements on issues among board members, but "no argument of any kind."

Downing said initially Landes also submitted his resignation immediately after Downing, but that later Landes withdrew his resignation.

Counts resigned last summer during a dispute with other board members concerning retirement benefits for some employees.

Water project progress Landes said Kansas City continues to get its water line closer to Dearborn for the eventual switchover. As soon as the connection is made to Kansas City water later this year, Dearborn is expected to shut down its current water plant.
Kansas City has extended its line to about a half mile south of town.

"They're saying they'll have water to us and ready to go by the first part of December," the mayor said, adding that Dearborn will need to get moving on running the line from the connecting point to the city's water tower.

He said Dearborn is currently asking the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) for permission to run the line on MoDOT right- of-way through the middle of town.

"We only need about two blocks of MoDOT right-of-way," he said.
Assuming permission is granted from MoDOT, he said the city would then need about a week or 10 days to get its lines in and get hooked up to Kansas City water.

Landes said no decision has been made as to whether Dearborn will need to increase its water rates. He said Kansas City will charge Dearborn approximately $1.70 per thousand gallons of water, which he said is cheaper than Dearborn can produce it.