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By Mike Scott
Kahoka’s square will receive a much-needed facelift later this year.
On Monday, July 11, the Kahoka Board of Aldermen approved spending $109,500 to mill and repave the east, west and north sides of the square.
“The price of materials has skyrocketed, but the square is in terrible shape,” said Alderman Les Billings. Board members lamented the fact that the only bidder available is WL Miller of Hamiliton, IL. Other contractors purchase materials from Miller, and won’t bid against Miller, council members said.
The city also approved spending over $70,000 to repave Jefferson Street between Chestnut and Court, by the Middle School. In addition, they want to get an additional bid from Miller to repave Washington between Commercial and Chestnut, near the police station and power plant.
The work will take place later in the fall.
The council had budgeted $150,000 for paving this year, but will need to amend its budget because of the high prices.
Alderman Larry Young brought the condition of the cemetery to the council’s attention, noting that is rarely all mowed at once.
“For what we’re paying, it’s not good,” commented Billings. The city is paying nearly $50,000 for mowing this season, compared to $35,000 last year. The only other bid this season was for $100,000.
“We need to have an eyeball-to-eyeball meeting with them,” said Young.
The council also approved a cemetery ordinance regulating the placement of foot markers within the cemetery.
Fire Chief Mick Wood presented the fire department report.
“We want to focus on the emergencies we will handle right here in the city,” Wood, a 55-year veteran of the department said. Wood noted that the equipment van, a repurposed Frito-Lay delivery truck purchased more than a decade ago, is having a variety of issues. The van responds to all calls inside and outside city limits.
Wood also reported on the need to replace SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) tanks, commonly know as air tanks.
“DOT requires them to be replaced after 15 years,” he said. Currently, 11 bottles are out of compliance and have been removed from service. An additional 17 will reach their limit within the next five years.
“It sounds like we have a lot, and they’re supposed to last 30 minutes. But when you’re excited and breathing hard, you’re lucky if you get 20 minutes,” Wood said. Wood suggested that the Kahoka Fire Department and the Clark County Rural Fire Corporation each purchase four bottles per year to begin replacing the inventory. The council approved purchasing four replacement bottles.
Wood and the council also discussed the Command Trailer, which was purchased with grant funding.
“I don’t see Kahoka using that trailer,” Wood said. Wood said that he would check to see if it could be sold to another department.
Derek Weber, Executive Director of Northeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission, located in Memphis, updated council members on services provided by the RPC.
“We are focused on community development,” said Weber. In the past, the NEMO RPC has helped the city with the CDBG demolition grant. Other area projects included broadband mapping, a feasibility study for a port facility at Alexandria, and regional transportation planning.
Weber recommended that the city schedule a Strategic Planning Session, which would be funded by the RPC. The session would bring together community and business leaders, elected officials and private citizens to develop a plan for the future.
“It would be a tool for you to use going forward,” Weber said.
In other business, the council:
-Heard a request from Betty Salyers to install a concrete helipad at the airport. Salyers had spoken with the Clark County Commission, and there is ARPA money available. Council members questioned the need to spend city money on a helipad, since the helicopter can land at the airport or on Vine Street if the ground is too soft.
-Kahoka resident Mary Rockhold complained about a nuisance property on Thompson Street. The city will issue another citation, but council members explained that ultimately, it would be up the court to enforce the ordinance.
-Billings reported that the contractor previously approved to resurface the walking trail at O-Mak- O-Hak Park had requested additional money due to increased prices.
“I don’t know if we have any choice,” said Billings. “If we don’t do it, we won’t have the walking trail much longer.” The bidder is the only one in the area with equipment narrow enough for the walking trail.
-Mayor Tony Anderson reported that the grant application for the filtration system had been submitted. He also reported that the city is applying for a grant to locate residences with lead pipes.
-Approved a liquor license for the Break Room.