Welcome to our live coverage of tonight’s Springfield City Council meeting! Grab your favorite tasty beverage, open that fresh box of Cheez-Its, and get ready for another night of hot and heavy municipal government excitement!
The Council is having issues with some members connecting remotely and so the meeting start is delayed.
Mayor Ken McClure calls the meeting to order at 6:41 p.m..
2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES. OCTOBER 19, 2020 CITY COUNCIL MEETING AND THE OCTOBER 21, 2020 AND OCTOBER 27, 2020 SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS.
3. FINALIZATION AND APPROVAL OF CONSENT AGENDAS. CITIZENS WISHING TO SPEAK TO OR REMOVE ITEMS FROM THE CONSENT AGENDAS MUST NOTIFY THE CITY CLERK BY 5:00 P.M. ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2020.
5. CITY MANAGER REPORT, PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR REPORT AND RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS RAISED AT THE PREVIOUS CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS.
The city has hired a local research firm to survey residents on crime, race relations, and other issues.
Springfield-Greene County Health Director Clay Goddard addresses Council.
He informs Council the County has passed the 10,000 case mark for Greene County.
He said of cases they could track source, 40 percent of cases are household contacts of positive cases. Workplaces mark 22 percent of cases.
Goddard said he encourages masking at work even if the workplace does not work with the public.
“Long term care is trending in the wrong direction,” Goddard said, noting a 93% increase in long term care cases.
He noted both Nixa and Ozark have put mandatory masking ordinances in place and called them positive actions. He said it’s important more communities pass such a measure.
“The science continues to build on the evidence of its value as a preventive practice,” Goddard said.
“I have real concerns about what our case counts will look like if we let our guard down during the holiday season,” Goddard said, noting Halloween showed a number of contactless celebration options.
When asked if ICUs were full, Goddard said that cases “are overflowing into other units.”
7. Council Bill 2020-239 (McGull)
A special ordinance approving the First Amended Redevelopment Plan for the East Cherry Pocket Neighborhood Redevelopment Area, generally located on 0.51 acres on the north side of the intersection of East Cherry Street and South Fremont Avenue; and authorizing the City Manager, or his designee, to execute an amended and restated redevelopment agreement with the developer, Say You Can, LLC, relating to the implementation of the Amended Redevelopment Plan. (The Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, the Planning and Zoning Commission, and City staff recommend approval.)
8. Council Bill 2020-240 (Schilling)
A general ordinance amending the Springfield City Code, Chapter 40, ‘Community Development,’ Article II, ‘Workable Program,’ Section 40-11, ‘Definitions,’ and Section 40-14, ‘Redevelopment Agreement,’ by removing references to a tax abatement scorecard and a reduced level of tax abatement which are no longer part of the Workable Program by operation of the sunset clause previously contained in Section 40-15. (Staff recommends approval.)
Passes 8-1 with Councilman Hosmer voting no.
9. Council Bill 2020-241 (Ollis)
A general ordinance amending the Springfield City Code, Chapter 106, ‘Traffic and Vehicles,’ Article I, ‘In General,’ Section 106-1, ‘Definitions,’ and Article VII, ‘Pedestrians,’ Section 106-450, ‘Right-of-way in crosswalks,’ to clarify the right-of-way between pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers at crosswalks; amending Article V, ‘Operation,’ Section 106-183, ‘Right-of-way at intersections; left turns into alley, private road or driveway, speed limit near construction or maintenance operations,’ to clarify the right-of-way between pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers when a vehicle is entering or leaving the street and crossing sidewalks or paths; and adding Section 106-211, ‘Yielding to disabled persons with white cane or dog,’ to require drivers to yield to persons with disabilities carrying a white cane or using a guide, hearing, or service dog.
Councilman Schilling asked how many people get hit each year, and staff said 60-70 per year. Most fatalities include jaywalking in the darkness under intoxication.
Staff wants to get at least half the drivers to stop.
Schilling said he noted an upturn of residents crossing “willy nilly” and that it’s hard for police to enforce.
Councilwoman Ferguson asked about MoDot and working with the city on state roads.
10. Council Bill 2020-242 (Hosmer)
A special ordinance authorizing the City Manager, or his designee, to accept the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant in the amount of $146,272.00 from the United States Department of Justice and to enter into an interlocal agreement with Greene County outlining the division of the grant funds; and amending the budget for the Springfield Police Department for Fiscal Year 2020-2021 in the amount of $146,272.00.
11. Council Bill 2020-243 (Ollis)
A special ordinance authorizing the City Manager, or his designee, to accept two Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act grants through the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Greene County, Missouri, including $4,000,000.00 for use by the Springfield-Greene County Health Department and $2,170,227.41 for use by other City of Springfield departments; and amending the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 budget in the amount of $6,170,227.41 for the purpose of appropriating the grant funds.
12. RESOLUTIONS. Citizens Have Spoken. May Be Voted On.
13. Council Bill 2020-236 (Schilling) Public Hearing Held At The October 19, 2020 City Council Meeting. Tabled Until The November 2, 2020 City Council Meeting.
A resolution approving the issuance of multifamily housing revenue bonds by the Industrial Development Authority of the City of Springfield, Missouri, in an amount not to exceed $22,000,000 to finance the acquisition and rehabilitation of certain commercial housing facilities located in the City of Springfield, Missouri, to be named Keystone Family Homes.
Council members encouraged dialogue between tenants and city staff, and to contact their federal officials regarding concerns with the program.
Passes 8-1 with Councilman Hosmer voting no.
18. COUNCIL BILLS FOR PUBLIC HEARING. Citizens May Speak. Not Anticipated To Be Voted On.
19. Council Bill 2020-247 (McGull)
A general ordinance amending the Springfield Land Development Code, Section 36-306, ‘Official zoning map and rules for interpretation,’ by rezoning 1.9 acres of property, generally located at 1452 North Eastgate Avenue, from O-1, Office District with Conditional Overlay District No. 128 to Planned Development No. 375; and adopting an updated Official Zoning Map. (Planning and Zoning Commission and Staff recommend denial.) (By: Eastgate Office, LLC; 1452 North Eastgate Avenue; Planned Development 375.)
Councilman McGull said the landowner has asked to withdraw the application. He withdrew sponsorship, which kills the bill.
Councilman Schilling asked about Planning and Zoning, and staff said P&Z unanimously rejected the proposal.
20. FIRST READING BILLS. Citizens May Speak. Not Anticipated To Be Voted On.
21. Council Bill 2020-248 (Lear, Hosmer, And McGull)
A general ordinance amending the Springfield City Code, Chapter 46, ‘Elections,’ Section 46-6, ‘Campaign Finance,’ and establishing an effective date. (Recommended by the Plans and Policies Committee.)
The proposed bill would revise contribution caps for City Council elections.
The Council members and staff talked about PACs and their ability to spend money on elections.
Councilman Ollis noted PACs for major candidates in the state and the tens of thousands given to those PACs that allow entities to avoid caps on donations to campaigns.
“Candidly, [campaign finance reform] doesn’t seem to be working to me,” Ollis said.
Councilman Hosmer asked the city attorney if it was her opinion the Council had no right to pass ordinances to restrict PACs and she said yes.
“If we don’t do this, we’ll be the biggest city in the state of Missouri that would have no limits,” Councilman Hosmer asked. Staff said yes.
Mayor McClure asked how the ordinance would be enforced, and city staff said there’s nothing in the ordinance itself that talks about enforcement. Discussion showed that it could end up in circuit court, where the prosecutor would be faced with charging a sitting Council member, and would require an outside special prosecutor.
Tim Havens addresses Council. He said he doesn’t comprehend how it completely impacts local elections. He wants it tabled.
Stephanie Stinger addresses Council. She is against the measure.
Vote in two weeks.
22. Council Bill 2020-249 (McClure)
A special ordinance amending Special Ordinances 23765, 24472, and 25460 establishing and defining the Police Civilian Review Board to increase the size of the Board from five members to seven members, to modify the process by which Board members are appointed, and to modify the minimum qualifications for Board members to be eligible for appointment.
These changes are in response to NAACP demands of the City.
Councilwoman Ferguson asked if there were considerations for zone restrictions on individual members or if it was just anyone within the city. Staff said that was not a consideration.
She also asked about training, which staff said is required. The city manager is looking at training options, although going through the citizens’ academy is the “best choice.”
Tim Havens addresses Council again.
Vote in two weeks.
Lisa Meeks addresses Council.
Tim Havens addresses Council again. “This is cheap therapy for me. I can miss meeting with my therapist.”
24. NEW BUSINESS.
The Mayor recommends the following appointment to the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Board: Stephanie Shadwick with term to expire March 1, 2023.
The Mayor recommends the following reappointments to the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Board: Ryan Cosby and Dan Scott with terms to expire March 1, 2024.
The Mayor recommends the following appointment to Mayor’s Commission for Children: Amy Chenoweth with term to expire November 29, 2022.
The Mayor recommends the following reappointment to Mayor’s Commission for Children: Jennifer McClure with term to expire November 29, 2023.
The Mayor recommends the following reappointments to Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights and Community Relations: Heather Hardinger and Pamela Hernandez with terms to expire October 1, 2023.
The Mayor recommends the following appointment to Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, Inc.: Missy Handyside with term to expire January 1, 2022.
The Mayor recommends the following appointment to Traffic Advisory Board: Rachel Weinhaus with term to expire April 1, 2023.
The Mayor recommends the following appointment to Tree City USA Citizen Advisory Board: Brandon Cook with term to expire December 1, 2022.
The Mayor recommends the following appointment to Tree City USA Citizen Advisory Board: Dr. Cameron LaBarr with term to expire December 1, 2023.
The Mayor recommends the following reappointments to Tree City USA Citizen Advisory Board: Mandy Spitz and Mandi Young with terms to expire December 1, 2023.
Councilwoman Jan Fisk addresses the Mayor and Council members.
Mayor McClure thanked Fisk for her statement and her actions.
“The time has come to bring this to an end,” McClure said.
Council votes 8-1 to adjourn (with Hosmer back to his usual no vote.)