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West Plains City Council meets tonight with full agenda


The West Plains City Council will meet in regular session at 5:30 p.m. today at city hall, 1902 Holiday Lane, with reorganization planned for the start of the meeting.

Covered in tonight’s meeting will be a range of topics from parks improvements to the creation of an entertainment district and a resolution to enter into an agreement to improve railroad crossing safety.

Councilman Johnny Murrell, reelected on April 2 to his seat without opposition, will renew his oath of office following a formal review of municipal election results. Council appointments will be made for the positions of mayor pro tem and ex officio seats on the Planning & Zoning, Tourism, Parks & Recreation, Civic Center and Library committees.


The consent agenda to be considered for approval before guest recognitions will include half a dozen bids. Among them, a skid steer for the Transportation Department to maintain creek banks, updated restroom facilities at Galloway Park, lighting and shading for the Hilburn Sports Complex, an over-the-road truck for the Sanitation Department and heating and cooling upgrades for the library.

For the skid steer, a bid of $96,381 from West Plains company Edgeller & Harper is being recommended by Transportation Director Brian Mitchell. Out of six bids presented, that bid, for a Kubota, is the only bid to come under the $100,000 budget allotted for the purchase.

Parks Manager Mike Davis is recommending the purchase of a prefabricated concrete double restroom bidded at $78,268 from CXT, a vendor recommended through the city’s Sourcewll partnership. The new restroom would replace the existing single-tank style restroom which has no running water, and would be a septic-style unit with running water. Davis noted the replacement facilities would be in line with restroom facilities seen at state parks around Missouri. With a budget of $125,000, the recommended bid will leave about $47,000 for site preparation and the septic system, he added.

With the Hillburn Complex also falling under Parks Department responsibilities, Davis submitted his recommendations for lighting and shading at the city-managed ballpark adjacent to the West Plains High School grounds. Bids for shading were solicited with a goal of improving comfort and safety for spectators in the bleachers, Davis explained in his recommendation to council. The lowest bid, for eight shade structures, came from All Inclusive Rec of Farmington, and was for about $40,000. Davis did note the fabric should be replaced every five years. With a budget of $60,000 for the shade project, a little more than $20,000 is left over to go toward the construction of a batter’s eye screen on Givehand Field. A batter’s eye screen is a solid-colored area beyond centerfield in direct line of sight of a batter awaiting a pitch, designed to help the batter see a ball in motion. Two other bids were received for the shade project, for about $45,000 and $42,000.

For the lighting, Davis said, the goal is to replace existing lights with LED lighting, which offers better visibility for safety and enjoyment, reduced electricity bills and environmental impact through energy efficiency, and longer lifespans, reducing maintenance costs. The lowest bid received and the one recommended, from LED Lighting Supply of New Hampshire, is for a little more than $43,000. With a total budget of $60,000, Davis notes, the surplus could potentially go toward extra expenses such as the installation of the batter’s eye screen. Two other bids were received, both of them coming in at over $60,000.

The over-the-road truck being requested for the Sanitation Department is meant to replace an older truck having maintenance issues and would be used for trash disposal, explained Utilities Director Shayne Eades. With a budget of $290,000 set aside for the truck, Eades is recommending a Peterbilt with a price tag of about $194,000, bidded through the city’s Sourcewell partnership.

The final bid up for consideration, the replacement of the West Plains Public Library’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, which is original to the 30-plus-year-old building, will address the issue of the system failing to work two or three times a year, causing the library to close early or not open at all, explained Purchasing Agent Kristopher Bates. In addition, it is not possible to program the computer system to regulate the temperature through the whole building, meaning certain parts of the building are running when the library is vacant to avoid uncomfortable temperatures when it reopens, he said. A proposed cost of over $129,000 is being recommended from Wood Mechanical of West Plains, despite being over the $125,000 budget. Bates noted the company had the lowest bid offered and the company’s local status means its staff is familiar with the system and would be a service provider for maintenance calls. The $4,000 overage would come from the library’s Buildings and Grounds budget, he added.


Three guests are slated to be recognized by the council.

State Fire Marshal Tim Bean, a West Plains native, will be in attendance to discuss Life-Saving Awards with the council.

Patrick Keefe will address the council regarding discounts for seniors on utilities, and Bob Wallen is anticipated to discuss water bills.


Three ordinances are up for second readings and final approval: an update to the city’s nuisance code clarifying and expanding on procedures of enforcement, an amendment to the current fiscal year’s budget and the creation of an entertainment district allowing for open cups of alcohol.

The nuisance code update outlines the procedures for handling noncompliance after a property owner has been notified of a violation: a summon to appear in municipal court will first be issued, and if found guilty, a property owner may be issued a fine of between $50-$300 plus an additional $10-per-day fine for failure to address the issue within a given time period. The update also stipulates that a probationary period of up to a year may be given, and a person may be sentenced to jail if the violations endanger the health and safety of others. In cases where the city is required to address the issue, the costs will be billed to the landowner, and the procedure for that is also outlined, including the possibility of a lien being placed on the property.

The budget amendment includes a net decrease to balances of about $466,000 in governmental funds and $981,000 in utility funds. City Financial Director Earlene Rich noted most balances are offset by the end-of-year balance in 2023 being higher than what was estimated while budgeting for 2024 last fall. The biggest changes, she said, will come through incomplete projects and purchases budgeted lasts year and carried forward in the current year, partially offset by related grants and American Rescue Plan funding reserved since receipt in 2022.


A mixed-use downtown entertainment district was identified as a priority project through the Comprehensive Plan process for the city held last year, said Zoning Administrator Dustin Harrison, explaining such a district would include shared sidewalks, public and open spaces, parklets, parking and internal road systems. The proposal being read tonight would create a district boundary allowing for retailers within to participate in an open cup program, allowing patrons to leave an establishment licensed to sell alcohol with an alcoholic beverage, provided they stay within the district’s boundaries and rules are followed.

Harrison also noted that West Plains was chosen by the Missouri Arts Council to participate in a cohort of communities across the state to create arts, culture and entertainment districts, and the ordinance is a first step as the city “works to establish a footprint to highlight existing opportunities and attract new programs and events.” The ordinance is modeled after those drafted for similar purposes in other cities in Missouri and neighboring states.

The proposed boundary includes, clockwise from the northwest, roughly First Street from Jefferson Avenue to St. Louis Street, East Broadway to North Howell Avenue, East Main Street to South Curry Street, west two blocks to Walnut Street, south a block to Leyda Street, west to an invisible line drawn north along the west side of West Main Plaza on West Main Street, then east a block to Langston Street, then north to West Cass Street behind the Yellow House Community Arts Center, then east a block to Jefferson Avenue and heading north to First Street.


Two resolutions have been proposed to the council. One seeks to authorize an agreement between the city and Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for railroad crossing safety upgrades.

A project submitted by the Missouri Department of Transportation includes construction of a new bridge on Howell Avenue over the railroad tracks and Howell Creek, a round about intersection between Bratton Avenue and East Broadway/East Main Street on that road, a multiuse path in that area and roadway widening and surface improvements along Dixon and College streets, ultimately done to effect the closure of the street-level railroad crossing on Howell Avenue.

Also included in the project is the closure of the railroad crossing on Grace Avenue/Howell Valley Road, including improvements to the curvature of the road where it intersects with Bratton Avenue, and the closure of the Lincoln Avenue railroad crossing.

Another resolution would authorize an agreement between the city and CivicPlus, doing business as MuniCode for printing, supplementing and maintaining the printed and online code of ordinances.

MuniCode is the current contractor entrusted with maintaining and supplementing the print and digital publication of city code. The contract allows the city to renew the services at a total annual cost of about $3,288.

To see tonight’s agenda, including attached documents, click here.