Condemnation of Properties Addressed by Rector Council
Council took the final steps to condemn three Rector properties under City Ordinance 498, Property Deemed a Nuisance, at Monday night's regular city council meeting. During the gathering at city hall, city attorney Kimberly Dale read each of the resolutions to condemn the properties at 714 Greenville and 503 East 4th Street. The third property is being held for the March council agenda and is located at 402 East 1st Street.
There being no objections, no communication, no response, and all notification procedures completed council member Lark Sigsby made the motion to go forward with condemnation of 714 Greenville and council member Iva Fahr gave the second with all members in agreement. The resolution for condemnation was 2019-2. The Resolution will be posted on the property and printed in the newspaper. Council member Fahr made the motion to move forward with condemnation for 503 East 4th Street and council member Anthony Dowdy gave the second with all council members in agreement. This condemnation resolution will be 2019-3 and will be posted on the property and printed in the newspaper as well.
As is required, the Council heard the resolution to approve the amended 2018 city budget. Resolution 2019-1 was then adopted with the motion made by council member Fahr and was seconded by council member Sigsby. All council members approved.
In discussion, the council looked toward the 2020 Census as advised by City Attorney Dale at a previous meeting last year. It was also noted a potential revenue opportunity was brought forward by a citizen through a phone call to city hall and the topic of limited annexation was placed on the agenda.
At the heart of the discussion was the recent news of a medical marijuana dispensary being licensed to operate at a location just outside of the city limits.
During the discussion on the topic of declining population and reduced number of opportunities to collect revenue from the state and federal government, studying an annexation opportunity concerning the location was addressed.
City Attorney Dale advised the council that there are several ways to annex areas surrounding the current city limits and encouraged the council to explore them all. One is by petition and consent, another is by special election, another is by ordinance. City Attorney Dale noted that a GIS office has opened to assist small cities in determining best practice for annexation.
Multiple benefits to the city would come from extension of the city limits in more than one area and benefits to those citizens would increase, as well. City Superintendent Todd Watson said, “I’ve been informed through connections with many other small cities that annexation has been positive for the cities and the citizens.”
“What is most important to the city is increased revenue and increased population. We need to look all around the city and make our decision as soon as possible because the 2020 Census will be critical for the future of Rector,” Sigsby added as she noted any future action will need further study. ”But, we are elected officials, charged with doing what is best for the city, including considering some issues that are not necessarily popular.”
Council members Fahr and David Romine agreed and added, “while individuals may not agree with, or approve of, certain legal businesses that are scheduled to locate in the Rector area, it would be unwise for the Council to ignore the possibility of collecting tax revenue that would come to the city if that business were within the city limits. We need to research what we are dealing with and study the ramifications.”
In response, the council decided to move forward with research concerning this issue.
The Council also heard from two representatives from Horner Shifrin Engineering Firm of Poplar Bluff, Shannon Todd and Bob Summers, who presented a recommendation to perform a study of Rector’s waste water system.
“Todd Watson and the city workers have done everything right with Rector’s water system, but it’s time to investigate situations that might cause the city to be cited for disposal noncompliance with Federal regulations in the future,” Summers said. He also noted that nothing would take place this year but the city should be proactive in undertaking the study portion for the waste water system. Council member Sigsby made the motion to move forward with the study, second given by Council member Fahr. All approved.
In further business, the council heard standard reports from the following departments – Water, Code Enforcement, Street, Police and Fire Departments. They heard the community center has been active and has two events upcoming – Feb. 9, with Night of Chocolate and Feb. 23, with Ryan Rogers Memorial Chili Cook-off.
Council member Romine asked if there were city ordinances that could be better enforced to bring the city more revenue. City Attorney Dale and Police Chief Glenn Leach stated that some traffic violations are state violations and cannot be reduced to city fines, but some violations are reduced to city citations in standard procedure, such as speeding and hazardous driving. “That happens automatically,” stated Attorney Dale, which was affirmed by Chief Leach.