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Council Recap: Gear Requests, a New Downtown Park, and Policy Tweaks

August 21, 2023 – The Excelsior Springs City Council addressed a diverse array of critical matters reflecting the council’s commitment to enhancing public safety, community spaces, and effective governance. The meeting unveiled a series of proposals and considerations, each shedding light on the city’s ongoing efforts to improve services, infrastructure, and policy frameworks. From the acquisition of firefighter turnout gear and upgraded law enforcement equipment to property donations that enrich public spaces, the council delved into issues that impact the lives of Excelsior Springs residents.

Consideration of Bunker Gear Purchase for the Fire Department – Resolution No. 1461
Fire Chief Joe Maddick presented a proposal to the City Council for the purchase of 18 sets of firefighter turnout gear, specifically Globe Xcel, at a total cost of $48,096. The purpose of this purchase is to provide a second set of turnout gear for all full-time firefighters in order to comply with NFPA standard 1851, which recommends having backup gear. Chief Maddick highlighted the importance of this step due to studies by the CDC and NIOSH that show firefighters have a higher risk of cancer diagnoses and related deaths due to exposure to soiled gear containing carcinogens. The purchase will be funded using a combination of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) Fire Protection Grant (FPG) amounting to $20,000, a 50% match, and the remaining balance from previous City ARPA awards. This initiative aims to enhance firefighters’ safety by reducing exposure to harmful chemicals and ensuring clean backup gear is available.

Approved 5-0

Consideration of Taser 10 Purchase Agreement – Resolution No. 1462
Police Chief Gregory Dull presented a proposal to the City Council regarding the upgrade of Taser equipment to “Taser 10.” Chief Dull emphasized that the current Taser model, X26P, is approaching its recommended 5-year life span by December 2023 and utilizes technology that’s 25 years old. The Taser 10, being the latest model, offers significant enhancements in deployment range and effectiveness rate.

The purchase agreement, spanning five years, includes twelve (12) Tasers, battery packs, holsters, duty cartridge replacements, training cartridges, and product-specific instructor training courses. While the total cost of the agreement is $75,000 when paid in annual installments, negotiations have resulted in potential savings of $6,811.20 if the full amount is paid upfront. As such, the 5-year cost for the Taser 10 upgrade is $67,332.44.

Funding for this purchase will come from the Public Safety Sales Tax (PSST) Fund. The PSST Oversight Committee has already approved this purchase, deeming it consistent with the fund’s usage guidelines. This upgrade aims to provide police officers with a more advanced less-lethal force option that aligns with modern technology and capabilities.

Approved 5-0

Consideration of Aerifier Purchase for Golf Course – Resolution No. 1463
City Manager Molly McGovern presented a proposal for the City Council’s consideration regarding the purchase of an aerifier for the golf course. McGovern said the golf course had been given the opportunity to acquire a used aerifier at a substantial discount. The evaluation by Orion’s agronomist highlighted the importance of this acquisition. (Orion is ESGC’s 3rd party management company).

The current aerifier in use at the golf course is outdated and was not part of the equipment replaced during a significant purchase/lease approximately 10 years ago. The proposed machine would enable the aeration of older greens through small holes or slits, thereby maintaining the health of the short grass year-round. The offered price for the machine is $20,000, significantly lower than its market value of around $35,000.

Acquiring this aerifier holds strategic value as it eliminates the need for a future purchase when considering a long-term lease/purchase plan. Additionally, there is a potential salvage value for the existing machine, estimated at around $2,000. This purchase aims to enhance the golf course’s maintenance capabilities and cost-effectiveness while ensuring the health and quality of the greens.

Approved 5-0

Consideration of Accepting Warranty Deed from 3M Property Reserve, LLC – Resolution No. 1464
Nate Williams, Parks & Recreation and Community Center Director presented a proposal to the City Council regarding the donation of park property by the McElwee family. This property is situated near the intersection of Temple Ave. and Perry Lane. As part of the proposal, playground equipment donated by Lewis Elementary School will be installed on this property.

The McElwee family’s donation involves a small park space that was previously associated with the former Siloam Springs Church downtown. The ES Parks Division has collaborated with the family to outline future plans, although no work has commenced at the site pending ownership transfer. The Parks Division recently had the opportunity to repurpose playground equipment from Lewis Elementary School, salvaging it before the school’s demolition. The intention is to utilize some of this equipment to revitalize the small park for downtown residents.

Upon approval, the plan aims to commence work on this revitalization project during the upcoming fall season. This proposal represents an exciting opportunity to enhance community spaces and offer downtown residents access to renewed and engaging park facilities.

Approved 5-0

Consideration of Acceptance of Right of Way Dedication – Ordinance No. 23-08-02
City Economic Director Melinda Mehaffy presented a proposal for the consideration of dedicating right-of-way at 101 Crown Hill. This proposal aimed to enhance property accessibility and clarify property lines by allowing the property owner to perform maintenance. The dedication of right-of-way was noted to be “crucial to improving the property’s overall appearance, safety, and functionality, particularly by ensuring easy access to the building entrance from the adjacent sidewalk on Crown Hill Road.”

Approved 5-0

Consideration of Amendment to the Purchasing Policy – Ordinance No. 23-08-03
City Manager Molly McGovern presented a proposal for the consideration of amending the city’s purchasing policy. The rationale behind these changes stems from the necessity to address purchases of budgeted items that require replacement before council approval due to operational requirements and availability. This situation is especially common with items like pumps and motors.

The proposed changes in the ordinance are aimed at achieving the following objectives:

  • Streamlining the requirement for three price quotes for micro-purchases, while still emphasizing the pursuit of the best value and lowest price possible. Micro purchases pertain to items under $15,000.
  • Mandating Written Proposals for expenditures exceeding $15,000, which marks a shift from the previous threshold of $3,500. In this regard, reasonable efforts should be made to secure at least three proposals.
  • Elevating the City Manager’s approval limit from $15,000 to $50,000.

These adjustments aim to strike a balance between ensuring efficient operations and maintaining responsible financial practices. 

Approved 5-0

Consideration of Terminating Telephone Tax Upon Approval of Subscriber Fee Implementation – Ordinance No. 23-08-04
City Manager Molly McGovern presented a proposal for the City Council’s consideration regarding the termination of the telephone tax, contingent upon the approval of a county-wide subscriber fee. The history behind this proposal relates to Excelsior Springs’ usage of 911 services, starting in 1983. However, due to the city’s location outside the metropolitan calling exchange, it was excluded from the county’s 911 system.

Initially, Excelsior Springs paid for 911 service without a fee until 1998, with some initial assistance from the county. A state statute, specifically authority 190.300-190.320, empowered the city to impose a fee on landline phone bills with voter approval. Over time, the revenue generated by the 911 tax began to decrease as cell phones gained popularity. This decline reached a point where the tax revenue was no longer sufficient to cover the costs of the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) provided by MARC and a dispatcher position. This led to an annual deficit of approximately $20,000, necessitating subsidization from the general fund.

Clay County covers 911 expenses for all Clay County entities except Excelsior Springs and also subsidizes a portion of the cost. The county is currently deliberating whether to propose a device fee to replace the landline tax. This topic is on the agenda for the August 17th Commission meeting. State statutes mandate the inclusion of all county entities in the county’s 911 efforts.

In light of these considerations, City Manager McGovern requested the Council’s approval for an ordinance to terminate the local 911 tax when voters approve a device fee. This step aligns with the evolving telecommunications landscape and ensures equitable funding for essential emergency services.

Approved 5-0

Stay Informed
Excelsior Springs City Council Meetings are normally held on the first and third Monday of each month at 6:00 PM at the Hall of Waters in downtown Excelsior Springs. Meetings are streamed courtesy of the Excelsior Springs Hospital, Simmons Sales Team and Platte Clay Electric Coop to the Excelsior Citizen Facebook Group, Facebook Page, and YouTube Channel and later archived here on ExcelsiorCitizen.com.

Find City Council agendas and information here: https://cityofesmo.com/index.php/council/

The City Council convenes on Friday mornings for their work sessions, during which they engage in extensive debates and discussions concerning upcoming agenda items. These meetings serve as a valuable platform for Council members to address differing perspectives and deliberate over matters in a thorough manner. This collaborative environment allows them to benefit from the insights and expertise of various city staff members who are present, providing a well-rounded perspective on the issues at hand.

Through these interactive sessions, the Council not only resolves differences but also gains a deeper understanding of the intricacies surrounding each topic. The work sessions play a vital role in ensuring that the Council is well-prepared and equipped to make informed decisions during their official meetings, contributing to the effective governance of the city. The work sessions are open to the public and offer an opportunity for community members to witness the Council’s deliberations.

These sessions take place at 7 AM on Fridays, just before the regular Council meetings on Mondays. For additional details and updates on the schedule, interested individuals can refer to the city’s official website.

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