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WP City Council passes 7 bills in short meeting


Despite a brief meeting Monday evening, West Plains City Council members got a lot accomplished by approving changes to three ordinances and four resolutions on topics from income-based housing to the wastewater treatment plant.

The first matter on the agenda was planned improvements to the city transit system, including more bus stops and shelters, and a Missouri Highway Safety Program grant to help pay for it.

A resolution supporting the grant application and funding through 2025 was passed. Grants are expected to help pay for the cost of buying a new city bus and replacing or adding bus stops, benches, signs and bus stop shelters with an estimated cost of $134,600. Transit operations costs through 2025 are projected to be about $451,179, with federal funding at $228,078 and local funding at $223,101.

Consent agenda items approved at the start of the meeting included the approval of appointments to the civic center board, with Aaron Wheeler being reappointed to a three-year term and Haley Mitchell appointed to a three-year term expiring in October 2026, taking the remainder of the term held by Jack Randolph.

Ordinances passed on second reading included two changes in laws pertaining to public health and safety, allowing the use of methods to remove nuisance animals from private property, but requiring permits to be issued by the police department for such use. The first covers the use of "rockets, missiles and projectiles,” and the second, the use of firearms. Previously, the permits had to be granted by city council.

The third ordinance passed will allow the city clerk or city administrator to renew or grant liquor licenses as long as the applicant meets the city and state requirements, including sales at events that are held by nonprofit organizations.

City Administrator Sam Anselm commented the change will allow for licenses to be granted more quickly, particularly for events when a license might be required.

Resolutions passed included the approval of a letter of support of a grant application for proposed upgrades to the Seminole Apartments on Thayer Avenue, now called Thayer Heights.

A memorandum of understanding was passed that clarifies the use of bound and boxed copies of the West Plains Daily Quill owned by the West Plains Public Library. Those materials will be on loan to the Ozarks Heritage Research Center, housed at Garnett Library on the Missouri State University-West Plains campus.

The Quill copies are those that were published from 1940 through 1998, and Library Manager Dr. Greg Carter explained the memorandum is in place to outline the conditions of the loan and emphasizes cooperation between the two libraries for access to the public, while ensuring the materials stay in West Plains.

The last of the resolutions passed was the approval of an engineering agreement between the city and Burns and McDonnell for wastewater treatment plant improvements, the first phase of a 30-year plan to make improvements to the facility in order to meet wet weather event standards.

The cost, $1.2 million, is for fiscal year 2023 and includes the engineering services related to the improvements.

The last action taken during the meeting was the appointment of interim Municipal Airport Board members. They are Jacob Garrett, John Reed, Mark Dake and councilman John Niesen.

Council members will next meet for a special budget session at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, and the next regular monthly meeting will be held beginning 5:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at West Plains City Hall, 1910 Holiday Lane.