Welcome to our live coverage of tonight’s Springfield City Council meeting!
So far we’ve had one man ask if he can take his pants off when he addresses Council. Several people were talking about wanting to address Council about things not on the agenda. So it could get interesting tonight…
Mayor Ken McClure calls the meeting to order at 6:32 p.m..
2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES. September 9, 2019 City Council Meeting And September 17, 2019 Special City Council Meeting.
Mayor McClure said the minutes were not ready, so no vote on this.
3. FINALIZATION AND APPROVAL OF CONSENT AGENDAS. CITIZENS WISHING TO SPEAK TO OR REMOVE ITEMS FROM THE CONSENT AGENDAS MUST DO SO AT THIS TIME.
4. CEREMONIAL MATTERS.
5. CITY MANAGER REPORT AND RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS RAISED AT THE PREVIOUS CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS.
Jason Gage mentioned a crime report from Chief Williams that said crime was down in August compared to 2018.
The city of Springfield is being honored with an award by the National Guard and Reserve for how they work with city employees who are members of the Guard or Reserve.
“Because of employers like you, they don’t have to worry about their job when they come home [from service overseas.]” a spokesman for the Guard & Reserve said to Council.
Employer Support for Guard and Reserve Above and Beyond Award is being given to the city.
6. SECOND READING AND FINAL PASSAGE. Citizens Have Spoken. May Be Voted On.
7. Council Bill 2019-207. (Lear)
A special ordinance approving the City Utilities’ Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Operating Budget for its Fiscal Year ending September 30, 2020.
8. Council Bill 2019-206. (Hosmer)
A general ordinance approving revisions to City Utilities’ Service Rules and Regulations and Outdoor Lighting Policy, revisions to its electric, gas and water General Terms and Conditions Governing Service rate schedules, and revisions to its Private Outdoor Lighting Service Rate schedule.
9. Council Bill 2019-208. (Simpson)
A general ordinance amending the Springfield Land Development Code, Section 36-306, ‘Official zoning map and rules for interpretation,’ by rezoning 0.49 acres of property, generally located at 1700 South Enterprise Avenue, from Planned Development No. 41, 2nd amendment, to Planned Development No. 371; and adopting an updated Official Zoning Map. (Planning and Zoning Commission and Staff recommend approval.) (By: Skinner Real Estate, LLC; 1700 S. Enterprise Avenue; Planned Development No. 371.)
10. Council Bill 2019-209. (McGull)
A special ordinance granting Conditional Use Permit No. 438 for the purpose of allowing outdoor dining and to reduce the front yard setback requirements in the LB, Limited Business District and Rountree Urban Conservation District Number 2, Area F, which is located at 1454 East Cherry Street. (Staff and Planning and Zoning Commission both recommend approval).
11. Council Bill 2019-210. (Schilling)
A general ordinance amending the Springfield Land Development Code, Section 36-306, ‘Official zoning map and rules for interpretation,’ by rezoning 1.8 acres of property, generally located at 1720 West Grand Street, from R-SF, Single-Family Residential District to GR, General Retail District; establishing Conditional Overlay District No. 177; and adopting an updated Official Zoning Map. (Staff and Planning and Zoning Commission both recommend approval.) (By: College of the Ozarks; 1720 W. Grand Street; Z-18-2019 w/Conditional Overlay District No. 177.)
12. Council Bill 2019-211. (Ferguson)
A general ordinance amending the Springfield Land Development Code, Section 36-306, ‘Official zoning map and rules for interpretation,’ by rezoning 1.37 acres of property, generally located at 1720 West Grand Street, from R-SF, Single-Family Residential District to R-LD, Low-Density Multi-Family Residential District; establishing Conditional Overlay District No. 178; and adopting an updated Official Zoning Map. (Staff and Planning and Zoning Commission both recommend approval.) (By: College of the Ozarks; 1720 W. Grand Street; Z-19-2019 w/Conditional Overlay District No. 178.)
13. Council Bill 2019-212. (Ollis)
A special ordinance authorizing the City Manager, or his designee, to enter into a Contract of Obligation with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources whereby the City agrees to financially secure the future closure and post-closure care of all currently active and previously completed portions of the City’s Noble Hill Sanitary Landfill; and to enter into an Agreement for Easement, Notice and Covenant Running with the Land granting Missouri Department of Natural Resources access to the City’s Sanitary Landfill.
14. RESOLUTIONS. Citizens Have Spoken. May Be Voted On. Council Bill 2019-203 Was Tabled At The August 26, 2019 City Council Meeting.
15. Council Bill 2019-203. (Schilling) Citizens Have Spoken. May Be Voted On. Tabled At The August 26, 2019 City Council Meeting.
A resolution directing the City of Springfield, Missouri, to withdraw as a member of the Missouri Clean Energy District created pursuant to the “Property Assessment Clean Energy Act;” and directing the City Clerk to send a certified copy of this Resolution to the Board of Missouri Clean Energy District.
Councilman McGull asked if the tabled bill does not allow exemption of the commercial portion from the residential portion. Staff said this is the case.
Councilman Ollis questioned staff that if passed, it eliminates all commercial benefits. Staff said yes, but they can make another deal with another energy district.
Councilman Hosmer said he heard other cities have made modifications. Staff said they don’t know how to do that beyond joining other districts, because the district’s bylaws determine how they function.
Hosmer wants to “look at this more” and see if there are ways to fix “legitimate problems” but keep benefits for commercial entities.
“Everyone agrees that investments in solar…make homes more efficient.”
Hosmer wants to move to table.
Mayor Ken McClure said he would oppose tabling. He says a lot of information has been provided.
“To me, the best way to force an action is to get out of this program and look at alternatives,” McClure said.
Motion to table made by Hosmer, seconded by Ollis. Motion fails 3-6, with Hosmer, Ollis, and McGull voting to table.
Councilman Schilling said that he didn’t know when he initially proposed joining this district that things like a buyer’s debt can be added to their property taxes.
“Later when they try to sell there’s a lien on the mortgage,” Schilling said. “It causes problems for those who want to sell their property…it brings too much assessment over the value of the property.”
Schilling notes that Greene County has pulled out of the agreement, and that the Greene County Assessor has to execute the program, that it would be wise to pull out for now.
McGull says it’s a shame the entire program is scrapped but he understands the process that is taking place. He said he’s going to vote it down but would like to see some kind of commercial option in the future.
Councilman Lear said that citizen input was “either a strong yes or a strong no.” He feels the damage that can be done by the program is significant enough that the city needs to withdraw, but notes there’s a measure at the state level that would allow them to bring this program back in a similar manner for commercial customers.
“It’s lost too much credibility,” Lear said. “I think this is the best way forward.”
Councilman Ollis said the “concept of this is noble and good” but that “on the residential side there is a problem with accountability.”
Ollis said he’s voting to stay in it even though he thinks they should get out of it because there’s no plan after they withdraw.
Mayor McClure said that ultimate goal is to force a change in the program, and this is the only way to make that happen.
“State and local laws have been flaunted,” McClure said.
Measure passes 7-2, with Hosmer and Ollis voting to stay in.
18. GRANTS. Citizens May Speak. May Be Voted On.
19. Council Bill 2019-218. (Fisk)
A special ordinance authorizing the City Manager, or his designee, to accept the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant from the United States Department of Justice and to enter into an interlocal agreement with Greene County, outlining the division of the grant funds; amending the budget for the Springfield Police Department for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 in the amount of $160,487.00; and declaring that this bill qualifies as a one reading bill pursuant to Charter Section 2.16(25).
Chief Williams addresses Council. He says it’s an annual grant given to cities based on their level of crime. He said “when we share a jail like we do with the county, we have to enter into an agreement with the county, so we have a split of funds going 60% to the city, 40% to the county.”
The money will be for replacement of tasers and cameras for investigative use.
Public hearing closed.
McGull recuses because he is a federal employee.
22. FIRST READING BILLS. Citizens May Speak. Not Anticipated To Be Voted On.
23. Council Bill 2019-219. (McGull)
A special ordinance declaring the necessity of condemning construction and permanent easements over, under, and through the following properties generally located near 340 South Patterson Avenue and west of East Horning Street, south of Elmwood Avenue in the City of Springfield, Missouri; and authorizing certain officers, or their designees, to do all things necessary to carry out the terms of this Ordinance for the purpose of completing the Beechwood Heights Storm Water Project-Phase I: East Walnut Street Project #2015PW0091WTE funded through the ¼-Cent Capital Improvement Sales Tax.
The move for eminent domain is to gain land to keep the project on schedule. Staff says they will continue to negotiate even if eminent domain is used.
Councilman McGull asked if alternatives were proposed before this step was taken. Staff said they met with the landowner and had a preference to move to the south, on the railroad’s property, but were unable to do that.
Councilwoman Fisk noted the staff said the area “floods routinely.” She asked how long this has been happening. Staff said they don’t have an exact date, but it’s been happening “for decades.”
A homeowner who has lived in the area “for 21 years” says that when it rains heavily there’s flooding in his yard and that he cannot leave his house when the flooding takes place.
Councilman McGull asked how often they get flooded and the homeowner said at least three times a year in the last decade.
Attorney James Jeffries is addressing council on the part of the property owner being subject to eminent domain. He said the property owner has seen the city make multiple requests and that there’s no easement where the sewer is located.
He’s talking about “remainder damage” and that their request “creates an island of unusable property” and it removes “a great deal of the property from being developed” by the landowner.
McGull is asking if they are given more time to negotiate with the city if they can reach a conclusion and the speaker says it’s possible.
Councilman Hosmer asked if they approve in two weeks if it stops the opportunity for negotiation. Staff said yes, the city tries to negotiate until the last minute.
The landowner tells council “this is a matter of what’s fair” and that he can’t use any land south of the proposed path.
“This is a big open ditch that we can’t navigate across,” he said.
He said the city wants to pay for a small part of the land even though the city would render the area completely unusable.
He wants the city to compensate him for unusable land.
“I don’t think the solution should come at my expense,” he said about the flooding problem in the area.
Public hearing closed. Vote in two weeks.
24. Council Bill 2019-220. (Lear)
A special ordinance authorizing a budget adjustment amending the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 budget of the Department of Environmental Services Solid Waste Management Enterprise Fund in the amount of $1,850,000 by appropriating fund balance reserves of said fund for the purpose of purchasing and refurbishing several pieces of heavy equipment at the Springfield Noble Hill Sanitary Landfill.
Public hearing closed. Vote in two weeks.
25. Council Bill 2019-221. (Ollis)
A general ordinance amending the Springfield City Code, Chapter 2, ‘Administration,’ by repealing in its entirety Section 2-8 ‘Disclosure of certain transactions.
Public hearing closed. Vote in two weeks.
26. PETITIONS, REMONSTRANCES, AND COMMUNICATIONS.
Nancy Dornan addresses Council about nuisance properties in West Central and other areas.
Josephine Grace addresses Council about “electronic weapon harassments of citizens.”