CITY COUNCIL MEETING
SPECIAL MEETING: 4:00 PM
THURSDAY, JANUARY 31, 2002
Mayor Anita Newsom called the Special January 31, 2002 City Council Meeting to order in the City Council Chambers at 4:00 p.m. The meeting was called on less than 24 hours notice due to emergency need for passage of a Resolution declaring the City of Gladstone, Missouri to be a Disaster Area due to the destruction caused by the winter ice storm of January 29, 2002 through January 31, 2002.
PRESENT: Mayor Anita Newsom
Mayor Pro Tem Bill Cross
Councilman Dan Bishop
Councilman Shirley Smith
Councilman Les Smith
City Manager Kirk Davis
Assistant City Manager Laura Gay
City Clerk Marilyn Ahnefeld
Item 3. on the Agenda. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor Anita Newsom led the Pledge of Allegiance in which all joined.
Item 4. on the Agenda. RESOLUTION R-02-10, A Resolution Declaring The City Of Gladstone, Missouri To Be A Disaster Area Due To The Destruction Caused By The Winter Storm Of January 29 Through 31, 2002; And Directing The City Manager To Notify The Honorable Governor Of Missouri, And The Appropriate Emergency Assistance Agencies Of The Federal And State Governments Of The Conditions Within The City.
Mayor Pro Tem Cross moved to adopt Resolution R-10; Councilman Les Smith seconded.
City Manager Kirk Davis advised that the Governor has declared the western half of Missouri a disaster and it is his impression that by passing this resolution Gladstone will have a little more clout in priority funding. We also will need Clay county to pass a similar declaration. His understanding from conversation with County Administrator Gary Panethiere is their Attorney is working on it now and potentially action will be taken Friday or Monday on this same issue.
Mayor Anita Newsom said she understands there are 104 beds available at Antioch Bible Baptist Church and when she left a short while ago 36 residents had checked in and more individuals from Heritage Village Retirement Center will be coming. Families have continued to come to the church to see if beds are still available for the evening. She also understands that Antioch Shopping Center has volunteered the facility if needed.
Councilman Les Smith asked if we actually have more than 75% of our residents without power. City Manager Davis responded that was this morning’s estimate and that estimate came from both Gladstone Public Safety and KCPL.
Councilman Bill Cross asked if we have reports of working the Antioch corridor at this time but the Mayor asked if we know what specific areas are without power. Manager Davis advised that the locations are sporadic throughout the city but it appears the whole east side and a number of west side neighborhoods.
Manager Davis advised the shelters are gearing up for a 3-4 day time period. This is based on the fact that KCPL advised they had 100 crews out and they had called in some 30 foreign crews from other utility companies. We are working primarily at Antioch Bible Baptist Church and have also contacted North Cross Methodist Church and Gashland Baptist Church and our Gladstone Community Center is reserved if needed. Antioch Bible Baptist is keeping up with people who lack transportation to get to their facility and Neighbors Helping Neighbors has been out today and volunteers have helped all elderly or disabled folks who have requested assistance at this time which numbers twenty.
Mayor Newsom said Heritage Village has been extremely helpful because staff from Heritage have volunteered to come in this evening. Antioch Bible Baptist Church has been wonderful as far as pulling things together and bringing in their own volunteers and have even been able to accommodate persons’ pets. The Manager said we have City Staff members lined up to assist at the shelters and any volunteers are welcome.
Councilman Les Smith had questions on our plowing and crew status and City Manager Davis reported that the main roads are in pretty good shape and side roads have at a minimum a plowed lane through them. Crews are being sent home and if it starts to ice up tonight Public Safety will call and our water crews will respond. City Manager Davis also noted that our switchboard will be manned until 10:00 PM in case people have shelter or other questions.
Mayor Newsom complimented our Public Safety Dispatchers on their quick handling of such a volume of calls and Mr. Smith said the totals of 911 calls was 233 from Midnight to Midnight and 159 calls from 7:00 AM to Midnight. In response to Council questions, Mr. Davis said we are fine as far as our water supply.
City Manger Davis said he appreciates the Council’s attendance at this special meeting this afternoon on such short notice.
Roll Call on the Resolution: All “Aye” - Councilman Les Smith, Councilman Shirley Smith, Councilman Dan Bishop, Councilman Bill Cross, Mayor Anita Newsom. (5-0)
Item 5. on the Agenda. Other Business.
City Manager Davis told the City Council he needs some guidance because he is normally opposed to curbside brush pick because it is very expensive and it takes an extraordinary amount of time. The curbside process can take up to three months where, but if the citizens take the debris to the Public Works site it can probably be taken care of in 3-4 weeks. On one occasion when we did curbside pick there was the problem of missed pickups and people felt we did not get there fast enough. We went by and picked up and then they put some more out and then we did not get by a second time and it because a real fiasco.
Mr. Davis said we have some service issues here. If the City Council supports going curbside it would be his recommendation that we contract out with a service that would do it. Right now the City trucks we would use all have salt spreaders and plows on them and we have maybe one or two other trucks that we could use if we did it ourselves.
If contracted, we estimate between $60,000 and $80,000 for the cost to pick it up curbside and that is likely one time through the city but it is ultimately the best service we can provide. City Manager Davis said we will be seeking the assistance of State Representative Phil Willoughby in requesting reimbursement for some of our costs and noted Liberty and Kansas City are going to pick up curbside as well.
Councilman Bishop said he favored curbside pickup and that by all accounts this is the worst ice storm in the history of the city and what we have is a situation where probably the majority of properties in the city are affected and you have many situations where the limbs are just so large that it is very difficult to get them up to Public Works. Although we have been reluctant to do it in the past, this may be a time that it is something we should seriously consider. Especially if it is possible to get some state money to help defray the cost of the service. He remembers the previous storm when he was contacted by residents who don’t have trucks, and were not able to lift the bulk of the limbs they have. He thinks if we provide curbside pickup we have to put very definite restrictions that this is a one time pickup and you have to put the limbs out by a certain time. It is appropriate to give some serious thoughts to providing that service in this situation.
Councilman Les Smith said he does not disagree, but we received some negative comments about our handling of the situation today from a person, which is upsetting because that type of person does not understand that we had dispatchers who made such a large number of calls last night that they lost their voice, and ten different officers and fire trucks going fifteen different directions for fires in people’s backyards. Staff members were up here opening city hall trying to provide shelter. Things that quite frankly, as a government, he does not know how far it should be taken. He does feel strongly about contracting rather than using our manpower. He said he does not disagree with contracting for curbside pickup but would ask at what point in time people should take care of their own property, they may have to pay somebody to pick it up.
Mr. Bishop said municipalities should provide public service when it benefits the majority of the residents to do so and his thought is that under these circumstances with the scope of the damage and the universal impact on our community, this probably is a textbook example of a situation where it is appropriate to use at least some taxpayer dollars to provide relief for the entire community. Especially if we can augment those taxpayer dollar with some moneys from the State coffers, which sounds like a possibility according to the City Manager. He said he feels strongly that a proposal should be brought forward by staff.
Councilman Shirley Smith asked if there were snow removal savings that could be spent. City Manager Davis said yes there is some savings and it all comes from the same pot of money in the General Fund, but the snow season is not over.
Councilman Bishop said he would have a hard time saying we are doing a great job at what we are doing but we can’t go any further, when Kansas City and Liberty are. Especially if we can do it through a contract where we are not pulling our personnel away from basic services.
Councilman Cross said what Kansas City proposes sounds good but he questions if they can accomplish all they say they can. He understands that there are volunteers out assisting now in our community and wonders if a group of private citizen volunteers could be assembled next week with pickup trucks to do the pick up. He said he would be willing to do that.
City Manager Davis said it would be a monumental task and Councilman Bishop agreed that it is unrealistic to rely on a group of volunteers because it would take months. City Manager Davis said he felt that to do something that takes three to four months would be a disservice to our citizens.
Councilman Bishop asked City Manager Davis what direction he needs and how he sees this proceeding if the majority of the Council is in favor of curbside pickup. City Manager Davis said we would solicit proposals from companies who provide this service and if he felt the proposals were reasonable he would enter into a contract and ask the City Council to ratify it following telephone contacts with Council.
Mayor Newsom said she believes there has to be some responsibility for property ownership when situations like this happens. She likes the option of contracting rather than using city crews particularly if we have a promise of aid from the state and federal agencies on the costs. That is even more of a reason to proceed with contracting for curbside pickup.
State Representative Phil Willoughby was in the audience and told the City Council that teams of evaluators will be in the area this weekend and if the threshold is met for our County then they can apply to the Federal Government for assistance. You have to have spent a certain amount and he has been told that with Kansas City and Liberty both being hit as hard as they are that it is most certain that the threshold will be met. Then the reimbursement would be 75% Federal dollars, 10% State, and 15% Local funds.
Councilman Les Smith said a decision needs to be made on our providing the curbside pickup service for our residents because we should not take the position that we can’t afford that service. He is confident the City Manager can find the funds.
Councilman Shirley Smith said a neighbor had a large tree hit that will have to be taken down by somebody who knows what they are doing because there is no possible way she can take it down, so we are going to have to decide how much we do. City Manager Davis stressed that we cannot go on private property. If we contract for curbside, citizens will have to get it cut up and to the curb. Discussion was held on size and Mr. Davis said that will have to be determined by the contractor but possibly 5’ lengths or so.
Assistant City Manager Laura Gay noted that in the 1998 storm we provided curbside pickup and persons could take it to the Public Works site on their own as well, so both options were provided. In that instance we sent postcards and gave information on the size and dates.
City Manager Davis said if we do curbside pickup he feels strongly that we should contract out and has estimated 6700 households at $10 for special pickups would equate to $67,000 right there so he is estimating $80,000.
Motion. Councilman Dan Bishop moved to direct the City Manager to provide city wide curb pickup of brush in a contract amount not to exceed $100,000. Councilman Bill Cross seconded.
Councilman Cross asked how soon we would start. Manager Gay noted that in 1998 perhaps we tried to start too soon and suggested that we do as Liberty is doing where the date is pushed out to allow residents ample time to get their debris to the curb. We would divide the city into quadrants in some manner and communicate that to our citizens.
City Manager Davis said he would suggest leaving the Public Works site open to allow residents to truck the tree debris out there themselves for at least a couple of weeks even though we would be providing curb pickup.
Mr. Bishop said his thought is to cap the authorization at $100,000 with the understanding that if more is needed we will discuss it. Ms. Smith reminded that we do not know yet what State or Federal reimbursement might be available. Mr. Smith said the size of some of the debris he has seen is huge so the type of service we will provide is the question as far the difference between a contractor chipping as you go and 4-6 ft. bundles sitting neat and tidy at the curb.
City Manager Davis said he has brought this forward to learn from the Council the level of service they would like to provide and he feels he has received that guidance.
The vote: All “aye” - Councilman Les Smith, Councilman Shirley Smith, Councilman Dan Bishop, Mayor Pro Tem Bill Cross, Councilman Les Smith. (5-0)
City Manager Davis said our Staff has been working very hard on this crisis the past 36 hours and he has been pleased with their tremendous effort to assist our citizens under such difficult circumstances, and he appreciates all of the City Council’s support as well.
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There being no further business to come before the Special January 31, 2002 Gladstone City Council Meeting, Mayor Anita Newsom adjourned the Meeting.
Marilyn F. Ahnefeld, City Clerk
Anita Newsom, Mayor