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Stockton alderman offer collective input in regard to the growing tenting issue manifesting in specific residential areas within the city limits.

City’s insurance options being reassessed, long-term tenting to be halted

With spring rains causing continual problems and summer just around the corner, a number of topical issues were on the table for Stockton’s board of alderman meeting Friday, May 31.

After approving the meeting’s agenda and scheduled bills, appointed official delivered reports and updates to those in attendance.

Public works supervisor Raymond Heryford said the city’s water losses have dramatically improved. Heryford said this was a direct result of recent water main repairs.

Heryford said the next large-scale water main to be addressed will be on South Street and anticipates the corrective action will further minimize water losses. The project scope will be further assessed after spring rains largely subside and allow for more practical excavation and construction conditions.

Additionally, Heryford said some culverts in various parts of the city need attention after recent torrential rain and flooding. Heryford said some residents can clean them out and should continue to maintain them; however, other culverts are in various conditions in which the average homeowner cannot physically address obstructions or maintenance issues.  

Heryford and mayor Mary Norell agreed the issue will be on the agenda at next month’s first meeting for further discussion and the board will visit potential resolutions at such time.

City attorney Peter Lee separately confirmed city codes state maintenance of residential culverts and ditches are solely the responsibility of each respective property owner.

City building inspector/code enforcer John Wilson was not present due to a medical procedure; however, Wilson prepared a statement in regard to increased reports of long-term tenting.

In the statement, Wilson documented reports he had recently taken from various businesses and residents from the Stockton area and conveyed his concern for the growing temporary long-term residential-type camping situations beginning to be found within the city.

Alderman each commented to the unknown electrical, water, safety and waste issues which can arise from such circumstances as well as the potentially adverse impacts tenting can have on a number of city amenities and attractions.

“This has been a growing and ongoing situation,” Norell said. “El Dorado [Springs] has experienced this and it has to be addressed before it becomes a serious issue.”

City attorney Peter Lee did specify the city already has a long-term camping ordinance in place, as do various camping sites throughout the Stockton Lake area, but a few factors regarding the tenting issue fall outside some of the language of current regulations.

Alderman Mary Anne Manring agreed the issue should be acted upon swiftly and suggested Lee draft an addendum to existing code or write a separate standalone code to address the issue.

Norell echoed Manring’s assertion and the board will have Lee present tentative language and potential warning, citation and fines for approval at the next alderman meeting to fully address the topic.

In mayoral communications, Norell presented a thorough and lengthy breakdown of the city’s research into the Missouri Intergovernmental Risk Management Association as an alternative to the city’s current insurance policies.

MIRMA is a not-for-profit self-insurance pool which formed almost 40 years ago — it is currently made up of approximately 80 municipalities and cities throughout the state.

MIRMA offers the same coverage as most insurance policies and riders, as well as workmen’s compensation, utility, liability, vehicle, machinery, cyber and many other facets of city operations.

Additionally MIRMA offers risk assessments, makes safety recommendations and performs regular inspections on any covered municipality as a preventative measure to minimize potential labilities.  

MIRMA’s board of directors is also elected by and from its own pool of members which it simultaneously serves.

Norell said she had spoken to a number of neighboring or similar-sized cities currently utilizing MIRMA’s services and all reports were favorable.

Norell said the potential savings the city could realize by opting to use MIRMA’s services would be approximately $30K annually and strongly recommended the city further engage in discussions with MIRMA as an insurance alternative for Stockton in the near future.

“This isn’t about anything but a healthy bottom line,” Norell said. “Business is business and we’ve got to have the city’s best interest in mind here.”

No closed session was conducted and the meeting adjourned at 9:17 a.m.

The Stockton board of alderman will next meet 4:30 p.m., June 10, at Stockton City Hall.

Alderman meetings are open to the public and interested community members are encouraged to attend.

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