Pepper Burns of the Stockton Airport board informs city aldermen about improvements and future plans for the city’s growing municipal airport.  

With newly-elected mayor Roger Hamby at the helm of the meeting, Stockton’s board of aldermen met at 6 p.m., Monday, June 22, at Stockton City Hall. 

After roll call, the Pledge of Allegiance and an invocation, the current meeting’s agenda was approved. 

Brief discussion was had regarding necessary appointments, and they were tabled until next meeting. 

In old business, the yearly contract between the city and Clear Basin, a software company providing logistical data management services for the cemetery, was due to be renewed. 

City attorney Peter Lee recommended maintaining the agreement due to its many necessary functions and storage. 

Public works supervisor Raymond Heryford agreed and noted the software’s usefulness in any number of ways related to the cemetery’s operations. 

The board unanimously approved the contract’s renewal at an annual cost of $1,500. 

The appointment of the city’s representative to the Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Committee also was due to be made again, and after brief discussion, Hamby was selected to be the city’s representative for the committee.

Streetlight bids to improve visibility on Cherry and Hillcrest Streets were approved and will add $30 a month to the city’s expenditures for street lights. 

During reports from appointed boards, Stockton park board president  Teresa Burns said the planned veteran memorial in the Stockton City Park is looking to make a slight location change

“This will take more time and more money,” Burns said. “The park board is willing to help and the veteran committee is willing to raise additional funds to make this a reality.”

Hamby shared his appreciation for the project and called the tentative plans a “very good idea.”

Burns noted the completed patriotic-themed wall on the parks west pavilion was a “beautiful start” to the memorial, adding the volunteer committee who has taken up the task of building the memorial already is looking forward to possible changes and expansions the its existing memorial project scope.

Newly-elected alderman Brent Wallen inquired as to security camera visibility in the area and Heryford confirmed the potentially-relocated memorial would be visible on the city’s closed-circuit monitoring system.

Burns also confirmed the park board had received a grant for additional playground equipment and the board currently is assessing new equipment options. 

Additionally, Burns said the park board had approved the use of the city park for the coming 2020 Black Walnut Festival hosted by the Stockton Lake Sertoma Club. 

“After speaking to the El Dorado Springs chamber [of commerce] and hearing they were going ahead with the city’s annual picnic festivities, the [park] board gave the OK and barring any changes, Sertoma looks to be moving ahead with the [Black Walnut] festival,” Burns said.

Burns confirmed she will remain in communication with the local Sertoma Club chapter as plans progress and Lee suggested a board member from the planning committee be invited to the next aldermen meeting to lay the groundwork for good communication between the park board, Sertoma Club and the city. 

Burns noted Lee’s suggestion and said she will invited a Sertoma Club member to attend the next aldermen meeting. 

Marsha Cowan, chairman of the cemetery board, was present to request a few minor landscaping issue be addressed. Cowan said she had spoken to fellow board members and the collective decision to allow city crews to remove and trim dilapidated shrubbery was agreeable. 

Heryford said the city will address the groundskeeping issues in the week ahead. 

Additionally, Cowan asked for higher-quality soil be used when completing the interment process after funerals and basic seeding be done twice a year on fresh graves. 

Heryford noted the city already was in the process of procuring quality topsoil for such purposes and assured Cowan the city will employ the practice when better materials are on hand. 

Pepper Burns from the city’s municipal airport board was in attendance to share the boards appreciation for the construction/ownership arrangements and the quality of the new hangar facility. 

“We really did come out ahead on this,” Burns said. “We’re several steps above where we were previously and this makes the airport more attractive for regular use.”

Burn went on to not the airport’s fuel sales have increased and more frequent air traffic is being seen on a consistent basis. 

The airport board also is considering the acquisition of a newer, larger-capacity fuel system to allow the airport to purchase fuel in greater bulk, increasing the profit margin on fuel sales, as well as being able to offer more regular stops for area aviators. 

When a more agreeable purchase can be visited, Burns said the board would present some options to the assembled aldermen for review at a future date.

No law enforcement liaison was present from the Cedar County Sheriff’s Office; however, Corporal Mike Bullinger of the CCSO contacted Hamby prior to the meeting to inform him of the absence due to an ongoing law enforcement matter north of Stockton. 

Hamby and the assembled aldermen noted the courtesy and collectively said they look forward to hearing from Bullinger at the first aldermen meeting in July. 

In hearing from the city attorney, Lee said he was waiting on final title documents so the new owner of a previously condemned and foreclosed residential property can move forward with demolition followed by new construction. 

Lee added he was receiving regular citations form the city in relation to minor traffic offenses. 

Building inspector/code enforcer John Wilson, Sr., shared the city’s fire truck currently in for repairs is making progress, but has not been completely fixed yet. 

A pin check and the locating of a shorted-out wire in the transmission module’s wiring harness is being diagnosed, but the necessary parts for the repair have been acquired and Wilson said the repair’s timeline is likely to be “another week or two.”

In a moment of professional courtesy, Wilson asked his “use-or-lose” vacation time be extended by a few weeks, so he could remain on staff as the city goes through the hiring process to replace an outgoing city works crew member

“I can’t leave my guys short staffed and take a personal vacation,” Wilson said. “It’s not right. I can move my vacation time, but it will expire if you [aldermen] don’t approve an extension. I just can’t see taking time off and leaving the crew even more shorthanded. My vacation can wait until we get some help and these roads are redone.”

Several aldermen thanked Wilson for the offer, calling it “admirable,” and unanimously approved his vacation time not expire so Wilson can remain at work as the city takes on several street replacements and hires additional crew members.

Hamby thanked Wilson for the gesture, adding, “We need you right now. Raymond [Heryford] and I are going to go over several applications and get this done. We’re here to help the public and we’re going to get some new bodies hired for the city.”

In an unopposed motion, Kenney Daniels was appointed chief of the Stockton Volunteer Fire Department. 

Daniels has served on the SVFD for more than two decades and accepted the appointment of chief for another year. 

Wallen said a resident on Craig St. had contacted him about an unfinished irrigation ditch on the residential street.

Heryford noted the project would be completed shortly and he had been pulled off the project to take care of a more pressing matter as the public works currently remains short-staffed.

Alderman Mark Frieze noted a request for pot hole repair he received from a resident regarding Blake St. between Locust and Elm Streets.

Hamby said an order for asphalt was being placed and city crews will tend to the matter shortly.   

Near the meeting’s end, Hamby noted he and city clerk Vanessa Harper recently attended a public forum on the CARES Act funds allocated to Cedar County by the federal government. 

Several small purchases and preventative measures being taken by the city fit the guidelines for related reimbursements, and the city will be submitting a request for relief funds to the county commissioners when a complete list of expenses is compiled. 

With no closed session necessary and nothing further to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 7:05 p.m.

Stockton aldermen meetings are held the second and fourth Monday of each month at City Hall. Meetings are open to the public and interested community members are encouraged to attend.

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