Council Recap: Community Development and Improvement

Monday, July 17, 2023 – Excelsior Springs City Council made strides toward community development and improvement, including the construction of a new firing range for the Excelsior Springs Police Department (ESPD). Key decisions at Monday’s meeting included the approval of a 353 tax abatement application for the property at 208 Spring Street and recognizing the extensive renovations and improvements made to the former Arlington Hotel. Other projects approved encompassed essential services, infrastructure, and safety measures.

353 Tax Abatement for 208 Spring Street

Neighborhood Specialist Laura Mize discussed an application for a 353 tax abatement for the property of 208 Spring Street, owned by Eric Henson. The property was formerly the Arlington Hotel and is two structures connected by a two-story passage. One side is the Springdale Apartments and the other side, 114 South Marietta, is a commercial structure below with residential apartments above. The application is for the entire parcel.

The improvements that have been completed so far include an entire remodel of the interior apartments and commercial space, new plumbing, electrical, HVAC, roof repair, and deck repair. The project was approved by the historic preservation commission and also the Excelsior Springs Redevelopment Corporation. It meets all of the requirements listed in the commercial guidelines for a level B commercial project. Expenditures totaled $260,304.13, which included interior and exterior work.

The property qualifies for a tax abatement at 100% for the total cost of the improvements or 100% for 10 years and then 50% for three years, whichever comes first. All of the blight will be remediated before the final approval of the project by the county. When the paperwork is sent to the county, the developer will have completed all of the work that needed to be inspected. There is still some blight removal left to do.

The council approved the contract unanimously.

Contract with Eastern Clay County Ambulance District

The Council approved a contract with the Eastern Clay County Ambulance District. The contract will provide EMS service to the residents of Eastern Clay County for the next year.

Fire Chief Joe Maddick told the council that the fire department has been providing EMS service to the district since its inception in 2006. The current contract expired on June 30, 2023. The proposed contract will be in effect retroactively beginning July 1, 2023 and running until June 30, 2024.

This year’s contract is for a total of $137,346, which is a 2.4% increase from last year’s calculated compensation. This year, the Eastern Clay County Ambulance District is able to write a check to the fire department for $115,000, which is a 4.55% increase over last year’s compensation of $110,000.

The council approved the contract unanimously.

Spellman Appointed to Board of Zoning Adjustments

The Council voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Cindy Spellman as a third alternate to the Board of Zoning Adjustments Mayor Mark Spohn nominated Spellman for the position, saying that she is well qualified to serve on the board. The Board of Zoning Adjustments is a five-member board that hears appeals of zoning decisions made by the city planning commission. The board also has the authority to grant variances from zoning regulations.

Destruction of Certain Public Records

Melinda Mehaffy presented a resolution for the destruction of certain municipal records. She explained that the city follows the Secretary of State’s records for local government destruction and retention records and that they have an opportunity in August to destroy some records. She then listed the records that they would like to destroy, which included duplicate records, old phone logs, and housing plans that they are only required to keep for one year.

The council approved the contract unanimously.

Purchase of City Truck

The Excelsior Springs City Council met on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. Public Works Director Chad Birdsong presented a resolution for the purchase of a new truck. He explained that the city’s vehicle fleet is maintained by purchasing new vehicles and selling ones that have met their life expectancy. The city budgeted $50,000 for a new pickup truck, and the low bid was from Chuck Anderson Ford for $50,187.53. Invitations were sent out to bid to three local dealers on June 8, with sealed bids opening on June 20 at 10 AM. The new truck will replace a 2006 Ford F-150 with 146,000 miles on it, which will be sold later at a public auction.

There were no questions, and the council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of a pickup truck from Chuck Anderson Ford in the amount of $50,187.53.

Change Order for Streetscape Project

Chad Birdsong presented a resolution for a change order for the ongoing streetscape project. The bid price for the project was over budget, so the scope of work was reduced. The base repairs of 818 square yards on Vintage Drive, Vintage Court, and Estancia Street were removed from the project, which reduced the contract price by $103,886. The original contract price was $648,803.10, and the revised contract price is $544,917.10. This leaves a $15,000 buffer for the project.

The council approved the change order.

Support for School Resource Officers

Police Chief Gregory Dull presented a resolution to extend the contract with the Excelsior Springs School District to fund School Resource Officers (SROs). The resolution authorizes the city to enter into a one-year agreement with the school district to fund three SRO positions for the 2023-2024 school year. The cost of the agreement is $165,000, which is an increase of $15,000 from the previous year.

SROs provide a variety of services to the school district, including:

  • Providing a visible law enforcement presence on school campuses
  • Building relationships with students and staff
  • Educating students about crime prevention and safety
  • Intervening in and resolving conflicts
  • Responding to criminal activity on school campuses

The SROs also work with the school district to develop and implement a comprehensive school safety plan.

The resolution was approved unanimously.

Land Improvements Include a Firing Range for ESPD

Chief Dull presented a resolution for the improvement of land that would include a firing range for the Excelsior Springs Police Department. He stated that the use of American Recovery Plan Act funds would be used to make improvements to the Overland Flow Field near the water treatment plant to make it suitable for use as a firearm range. This will allow ESPD to conduct required firearms training and re-qualifications that are required annually. Dull stated that having their own range would allow ESPD the flexibility to use it without running into scheduling conflicts or other hindrances. It would also allow them the opportunity to do additional training, not just the minimum. The total project cost of the improvements is estimated to be $26,520.

As a note, this project is unrelated to the Clay County Sheriff’s proposal to build a new firearms training facility near Missouri City which has seen some pushback from area residents.

The council voted to approve the resolution unanimously.

Cooling Stations Available

With temperatures rising, Councilperson Sonya Morgan made closing remarks reminding citizens that there are several options for cooling stations during the daytime heat. Cooling stations are available at Excelsior Springs Library, the Community Center, and the Fire Station during their hours of daily operation.

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