By Kyle Siegel
The Sedalia City Council met in regular council chambers, for both the pre-council meeting and the regular city council meeting, on Monday evening at the Municipal Building, where the large crowd in attendance viewed a presentation from Community Development Director John Simmons.
The presentation was over the results of a housing survey sent to approximately 10,000 residents of Sedalia.
“In December, we sent out over 10,000 surveys. We had well over 1,000 returns. We had a strong response rate, over 10 percent. Statistics are valid at four percent return.
“The purpose of the survey is to adress public perceptions of conditions as they exist today. This is a purely factual presentation of the results without opinion,” Simmons said.
The survey had several questions on it and Simmons went over the results.
The question on how people rate the overall appearance of the City of Sedalia mostly in the good to fair range with 379 people stating that it was good, and 453 stating that it was fair.
People rated their neighborhood as a good place to live with the majority stating that it was excellent to fair.
Of the people surveyed, 215 stated it was excellent, 493 said good, and 235 as fair.
The same outcome could be said for Sedalia being a place to live.
Of the people surveyed, 106 said excellent, 576 said good, and 276 said fair.
Over 500 people stated that problems exist in their immediate area. The biggest complaints were overgrown grass and debris in yards.
Simmons commented that there were 1543 citizen complaints in the past year. The majority of these complaints were over dangerous buildings, exterior appearance, and yard debris/unmowed property.
Over 500 people stated that the appearance of the Sedalia Downtown was good.
In the survey people were asked if they were in favor of a twice-a-year free pickup on demand for large trash items.
The response was overwhelmingly in favor, with 76 percent of those surveyed as saying yes.
The most polarizing items on the survey revolved around inspections of rental property and inspections of house sales for the purpose of discovering health and safety violations.
On rental property inspections, 78 percent of those surveyed said yes in favor of.
On home sale inspections, 64 percent of those surveyed said yes.
Many of those in attendance, including some council members, were not pleased at the thought of inspections on said properties.
Councilman Wiley Walter stated, “I feel like it is a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.”
There was a large ovation, from the majority of those in attendance, at Walter’s comments.
Some of the complaints heard about the inspections were over houses for sale already having to provide an inspection.
Simmons reminded those in attendance that the information was just that. There was to be no decision made at this time.
Simmons also mentioned that a committee could be formed to discuss the situation and make recommendations to the city on how to proceed.
During the regular council meeting, members of the council had a tie vote for the formation of the committee going forward. Mayor Elaine Horn had to break the tie and she voted for the formation of the committee.
The council approved the list of those committee members. Members include Mary Merritt, Jim Fisher, LaVera Schmitt, Shirley Neff, Scott Matz, Pete Sublett, and Jack Robinson.
Also during the meeting, there was a vote for a new Mayor Pro Tem.
There was a split decision on who should be the Mayor Pro Tem, with Bob Cross and Stephen Galliher both garnering four votes. Once again Mayor Horn had to cast the deciding vote.
Mayor Horn voted in favor of Galliher, stating, “Both gentlemen are qualified for this position, but I feel that there is one gentleman that is more involved and at more events.”
During the meeting, Bob Hiller presented the council with a check for $8,426.01 to go towards the operational costs of the D.A.R.E. program.
The money was raised at the annual D.A.R.E. Car Show. This year, the car show was marred by rain, but Hiller stated that there were still over 80 cars that participated. The car show is put on annually by Hiller and Maybelle Koeller.
During regular council business, the Sedalia City Council authorized the Sedalia Police Department to act as an agent for the city in the application process for the 2012 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Local Grant for the United States Bureau of Justice.
The council also authorized an agreement between the City of Sedalia and Pettis County for the distribution and use of the funds.
This year’s grant total $13,449. Of the total, $8,069.40 would go to the police department for the purchasing of cameras and a light for patrol cars.
The council also approved a change order from Hydro-Klean for pipe cleaning and CCTV inspection of sanitary sewer lines. The actual amount needed was reduced from $410,940.00 to $284,881.14. This is a savings of $126,058.86. Photo by Kyle Siegel, Sedalia News Journal.