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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

City Set to Deal With Unsafe Property

All members present for Butler’s regular city council meeting
Guest Tobi Markham approached the council with suggestions to provide more things for kids and parents to do, including a dog run/park and a splash pad at the park or the city lake. She also expressed concerns that raising water rates will greatly affect low income residents and wanted to know if there was a better way to warn residents when electricity will be shut off for any reason. The council promised to take her suggestions into consideration and will discuss more in upcoming sessions.
Following a councilmember suggestion, and then by unanimous vote it was decided to not charge late fees to those paying utility bills due to an anticipated slowdown of the US Postal service that was announced earlier this month. While the late fees are forgiven, bills are still due byOctober 20th to avoid disconnection. 
Two bills became ordinances- one regarding work at the airport that required rewording to satisfy MoDot; the other was an update to a city ordinance regarding disciplinary procedures and appeals of disciplinary actions. In short, that update now mirrors state law.
Police Chief Jarret Wheatly reported that issues with the dispatch radio console are becoming critical. The unit allows the Butler police department to not only dispatch Butler police, but also several local fire departments. Lately it has rendered itself inoperable at times which is unacceptable in terms of safety. It’s a complicated piece of equipment, the current unit is old, and the replacement price quoted several years back was close to $70,000. The council asked Wheatly to get current bids and report back at the next meeting.
City clerk Corey Snead reported that while the city currently gets local bank bids for the city every two years, he suggested moving that to four years as it is a complicated process that is quite time consuming and there is no real savings benefit using the two year window. At any rate, bids will be submitted by local banks over the next few weeks.
The new playground equipment is finally being installed at Sunset Park. While the equipment was donated several years back, there were various delays that kept the project from being done and everything should be completed by the end of the month. It was also noted that the remodel work at city hall is nearly complete; unfortunately at the time of this writing, city hall is closed due to covid concerns for the foreseeable future.
Concerns about the condition of a house in the 300 block of West Pine street were discussed at length. There is one occupant living in the home that has a large hole in the roof, no utilities and raw sewage in the yard. While the city is sympathetic to the person living there, it appears action will need to be taken to condemn the property. 
Again discussed was safe passage for bicyclists and pedestrians traveling on Fort Scott street under the railroad overpass. While the city is at an impasse with the railroad on bettering the situation, it was suggested that better lighting on each side of the overpass could help especially during the morning and evening. Cost for doing such will be assessed and discussed at the upcoming meeting.
The city is planning another town hall meeting on October 21, 6:00 pm at Happy Hill Church. Topics to be discussed will include the American Rescue Plan Act as the city will receive $800,000.00; water rate increase; street projects and airport projects. The public is HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to attend as the town hall meeting is an informal event where the public can voice concerns and ideas openly to the council.
The Butler city council meets regularly at 7 pm on the first and third Tuesdays at city hall and the public is highly encouraged to attend.