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Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Butler City Council: Cutting costs is the key

All council members present for last night's regular meeting

Cody Wainscott approached the council for permission to hold the annual Bates County Fair parade, which was approved unanimously. The parade will be this Saturday beginning at 5 pm and will follow the regular route from the fairgrounds, west on Nursery, then north on Delaware to the Butler square.

While $20,000 was originally budgeted for the city hall remodel, prices have since gone up which necessitated discussion how to cut the new bid down which was over $40,000. After speaking with the contractor, Triple T Electric of Butler, it was decided to make cuts in logical areas, such as switching from glass doors to wood and other similar changes. The new price, which includes widening cubicles, installing partitions, massive rewiring and more is $23,200.00. The goal of the project is not only to update, but to primarily enhance safety for employees and patrons as well. The scope of the project also includes $6,884.61 that will be used primarily for furniture, flooring and computer related upgrades.

Every two years, the conflict of interest ordinance must be renewed/updated per Missouri statute. The council renewed the ordinance, which primarily is centered around nepotism. 

City Clerk Corey Snead advised the council that change is badly needed regarding the city's internet needs. Cost and reliability issues related to the current provider, Century Link, has prompted the city to consider Morse Internet, a local wireless provider who will be able to save the city a little on their internet bill and provide faster, more reliable access. Along with the upgrade, about $8,000 will need to be spent to enhance security, which needs to be done regardless if the city switches to a new provider.

In terms of visible progress in Butler, it was noted that construction of a Burger King restaurant is well underway, and paving of some city streets will begin around mid September. More information on the street project is upcoming.

Mayor Jim Henry and council members offered condolences to the Robey and Ewing families, both of which recently lost loved ones. It was also noted that the city is awaiting input from the Missouri Department of Transportation regarding the '52 highway project'. The plan is to provide a sidewalk for safe passage to businesses on west 52 highway for foot and bicycle traffic, which is complicated by the railroad overpass and a lack of cooperation from the railroad.

Councilman Lance Sargent renewed discussion about the Umstattd property in south Butler. To recount, earlier this year the Umstattd's, who are building a new home, asked the city to make a provision regarding a mandated sewer connection- while desiring to use a septic tank, the family offered to pay for sewer service anyway as laying a line from the home several hundred feet to the street through rock is cost prohibitive. Since a previous motion to vote on the issue died, it was decided the issue will be taken to committee, who will make a recommendation to the council for a vote.

In contrast, discussion was held regarding the status of a 'tiny home’ at the corner of Austin and Mill streets. Houses in Butler must be at least 800 square feet in size and while the homeowner is working to enlarge the structure, a check will be performed to see if it meets criteria.

The city has been working to sell the empty lot on the southeast corner of the Butler square and unfortunately there were not bids, except for one that came after the deadline. More discussion on this is upcoming.

A bid of $800 from Pro Shred was accepted to destroy old city business records that are no longer needed. Other bids were also $800 and $1300 but the Pro Shred bid was chosen as the company has been used before and provides satisfactory service.

The council voted unanimously to recognize Juneteenth (June 19th) as a city holiday.

A representative on behalf of city attorney Joe Lauber advised the council of an open class lawsuit against Perdue Pharma which is set to reimburse communities for losses related to opioid abuse. IF the lawsuit is won, Butler could receive some 1.8 million dollars- but don't hold your breath, the final payout after litigation could be a lot less. 

Remember the Butler city council meets on the first and third Tuesdays, 7 pm upstairs at the Butler city hall.