New hangar construction to begin, board on record regarding medical marijuana

With several items on an eventful agenda, the Stockton city aldermen held an incredibly busy meeting.

The board first reviewed a written request from Kay McMurray from the local Elks lodge regarding use of the square to handout American flags on Friday, June 14, in observance of Flag Day. The board unanimously approved the groups use of the square for the patriotic effort.

Kim Mesenbrink was present on behalf of Hammons Products Company to discuss signage in relation to trucks which overlook specific entrances and occasionally cause traffic difficulties as well as delivery issues on Black Walnut Drive.

The board collectively approved a motion to have signage made and posted regarding truck access and directional suggestions for deliveries to Hammons Products facility just north of the city square.

Stockton resident Charlie Daniels was in attendance to inquire about the city’s fireworks ordinance regarding July 4.

While Daniels acknowledged the standard ordinance is to allow fireworks only on July 4, he pointed out the Thursday-Friday, July 4-6, is a celebratory holiday weekend for the city and mentioned the coming 50 Summers on Stockton Lake event which will bring in a large influx of tourists.

After brief discussion, Aldermen unanimously agreed to allow a one-time variance and approved the use of fireworks for July 4-6 until 11 p.m. nightly for the 2019 calendar year.

Additionally in attendance were Paul Long and Kevin Robbins to address the city’s current research into general insurance needs.

Long, a longstanding Cedar County resident and current insurer of the city cited recent open-heart surgery and recovery time which medically kept him from being as present as he wanted to be.

Long shared his commitment to the city, his appreciation for the area as well as his contributions and commitment to the Stockton Community Foundation.

“This community means a lot to us,” Long said. “And, it means something to me to be a part of it.”

Long and Robbins collectively said they were looking forward to partnering with the city throughout the year in assessing risks, mitigating costs and effectively communicating about the city’s improvements and all facets of its growing insurance needs.

“We’re looking forward to showing you a number of things we simply haven’t had the opportunity to yet,” Robbins said. “Risk assessment, cost and liability reduction strategies and we’ve got the tools and resources to move forward together. We also offer you ways to measure our success as we move forward.”

Long and Robbins both addressed the city’s recent consideration of Missouri Intergovernmental Risk Management Association as an insurance alternative.

“I’m not here to tell you MIRMA is a bad thing,” Robbins said. “But it’s a pool, not an insurance company. With the potential cost difference you were quoted, my guess is there’s a significant difference in coverage there somewhere.”

Long and Robbins also handed out literature for the aldermen to review regarding risk control, long-term costs, potential savings and a number of ways to fine tune options and services before the city meets with the insurers to begin the year’s assessment together.

Long and Robbins both thanked the city for its time and dedication to them as a local business.

Aldermen also approved the ordering of a new 1-ton Dodge truck to replace the aging 2004 model which was assigned to the city’s volunteer fire department earlier this year.

The vehicle will be purchased according to state bid pricing and will likely be delivered at the beginning of the next fiscal year sometime after Sep. 30.

In previous meetings, mayor Mary Norell and aldermen addressed multiple reports of semi-trucks’ continued use of engine brakes in the city limits. While the Missouri Department of Transportation classifies them as a safety device, city attorney Peter Lee said they still violate the city’s noise ordinance — namely because no truck should be using them within city limits as they should already be traveling at non-highway speeds when in town.

City clerk Vanessa Harper was directed to contact MoDOT to verify where city right-of-ways can be utilized to gradually reduce road speeds when entering the city to prevent heavy equipment and commercial vehicles from being at highway speed when entering the city’s boundaries.

In light of recent torrential rains and mounting storm damages, city works supervisor Raymond Heryford addressed the ongoing city drainage issue in relation to ditches and culverts in a number of residential areas.

While Heryford cited Lee’s confirmation of city codes which state ditches and culverts are the responsibility of property owners, Norell and alderman Mary Anne Manring were in agreement that in some cases, the city can address obstructed culverts when the situation necessitates.

Building inspector/code enforcer John Wilson added in many cases, if a property owner procures a new culvert, the city can install the units as means of keeping drainage pathways in line for proper functionality.

Heryford echoed Wilson’s statement, adding property owners should confirm proper culvert sizes with the city so waterways remain functional and uniform.

Heryford will address some of the recently reported problem areas as time, weather and manpower allows.

Norell noted the lack of a representative from the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office.

Norell also mentioned the city’s previous work discussion regarding the review of its current law enforcement contract with the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office. Norell said she recently spoke to the Cedar County Ambulance District in regard to dispatching costs and advised the aldermen will continue the dialogue and assess the city’s options as more information is compiled.

Bill Seitz was in attendance representing the airport board and shared the Missouri River Valley Skydiving operation coming to the area received all necessary approvals and construction of the new hangar with dramatically improved pilot’s quarters was to begin expeditiously.

Seitz said plans to demolish the aging and undersized pilot’s quarters were in place, as were most construction materials, labor and arrangements to relocate the electrical, water and sewer services for said project.

The airport board is also researching newer, larger fuel tank options for the airport to avoid group-buying with other smaller airports in the region.

Seitz said with the increased traffic and the addition of the new skydiving operation becoming a presence this year, having more fuel on hand and being able to buy in bulk quantities will be both cost effective and more efficient for the airport’s operation.

Seitz said he will be researching tanks and communicating with Heryford regarding options for fuel storage. Seitz also was clear the fuel system and pumps which the airport currently utilizes were operational and would accommodate a larger tank, meaning no additional components need to be replaced if a new tank solution can be found.

Seitz thanked the alderman and the mayor for the city’s continued patience and support in working out all the details and complexities of the new venture.

Seitz also thanked Lee for his legal assistance with the hangar facility’s lease and amortization schedule.

During mayoral communications as the meeting wound down, Norell addressed the current passage and implementation of Missouri’s medical marijuana regulations.

“This is here,” Norell said. “It’s already state law and we cannot afford to let this pass us by. We need to be informed, have our eyes open and prepare ourselves as a city by having things in place to accommodate this industry and these opportunities.”

Norell shared facts regarding marijuana’s use in the medical field as an opioid alternative, a treatment for cancer and cited research on neighboring states Oklahoma and Arkansas as each state has already implemented medical marijuana in different ways.

Norell, elected aldermen in attendance and appointed officials all agreed on the city’s need to be prepared for possible business ordinances and regulations for cultivating, retail aspects and dispensary licensing — with one notable exception.

Alderman Larry Koch was vehemently opposed and outspoken on the matter.

“You guys have no idea how opposed I am to this,” alderman Larry Koch said adamantly. “I don’t want that stuff within 50 miles of here.”

The board collectively acknowledged Koch’s opposition and voted in favor of directing Lee to draft tentative ordinance language which will be reviewed at the next alderman meeting.

Open session closed at approximately 6:40 p.m. and the board went into closed session.

Stockton city alderman meetings are held 4:30 p.m., the second and fourth Monday each month and are open to the public at city hall.

Community members and area residents are encouraged to attend.

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