$750,000 CDBG fund approved for Chamois water project

By Theresa Brandt
Posted 1/20/21

The City of Chamois has been approved to receive a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for $750,000 for the city’s water project after operating under the assumption the grant would be …

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$750,000 CDBG fund approved for Chamois water project

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The City of Chamois has been approved to receive a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for $750,000 for the city’s water project after operating under the assumption the grant would be approved for several months.
“Now we can say officially, on the record, that our $750,000 CDBG grant for the water project has been approved,” Mayor Elise Brochu said.
There is still some paperwork to go through for the board to officially accept the grant. Brochu plans to email the packet to each of the aldermen to review and then she would like to hold a special meeting to approve and sign for the CDBG grant.
“We have money to get the wells drilled,” Brochu said with enthusiasm. “I believe, don’t hold me to it, but I believe we have like $350,000 left in our bonding capacity, so we can get loans for what’s left since we will need about $1.1 million in funding for the entire water project.”
The city also has money in the water fund earmarked for the water project.
In other business, aldermen approved $5,074.19 to buy a new sewer pump for the city. This amount does not include installation.
“Do you know what the labor will be to put this new pump in?” Alderman Matt Shockley asked.
“It depends on how long it takes them to pull the wires,” Utilities Supervisor Danny Kirsch answered. “Sometimes it takes a couple of hours and sometimes it takes a half of a day.”
Currently, the City of Chamois has only one functioning sewer pump.
“Right now, it ain’t no big deal but when the flood water comes up one isn’t going to do it,” Kirsch warned.
“Well, if we’ve gotta have it, we’ve gotta have it,” Alderman Marty Gerloff said.
The sewer system also has two different pumps that have had muskrats get into them and chew up the wires. Kirsch has trapped the muskrats, had the pumps sent off to be rewired, and is in the process of building a screen to protect the pumps.
Kirsch does not think the cost of rewiring those pumps will be a significant expense.
“This is something where we are going to have to trust your judgment,” Alderman Rob Skaggs said.
Kirsch is planning to rebuild the pump in his downtime so that the city will have a spare.
* Aldermen voted to have Mayor Brochu pursue filling out the proper paperwork to have city tickets be prosecuted through the county courts.
Brochu noted that there is a lot of paperwork and forms to go through to make this happen.
“This is what we have to do if we are going to have a marshal and we’re going to prosecute the tickets,” Brochu said.
Brochu noted that Marshal Riley Lewis has not started yet but plans on having everything done next week so that he can start working.
* The board reviewed City Ordinance #2016-908, which is the nuisance ordinance for the City of Chamois, but made no changes.
“I don’t want to change the ordinance,” Skaggs said. “I just want to enforce it. We need to start going in the opposite direction of where we’ve been going for the past 10 to 15 years.”
Skaggs wanted to make sure that non-licensed cars were properly addressed within the nuisance ordinance.
“I want to make sure we can deal with the junk cars sitting around in the streets of town,” Skaggs said. “When our city marshal starts, we can talk to him and find out what to do about it. I am sure he did quite a bit of stuff down in the town of Gasconade to get that town cleaned up. I think we can literally keep this guy (Lewis) busy for a year just with old vehicles.”
“According to the ordinance, if we say get your car licensed in 10 days and they don’t, we can have it towed off to the scrapyard and there is nothing they can do about it,” Brochu said.
“But a scrapyard won’t take a car without a title,” Skaggs said. “A towing company is not going to tow it unless they know we’re going to pay the bill.”
Brochu noted that in the ordinance it states that any cost incurred by the city to remove items deemed a nuisance would be “certified by the city clerk, who shall cause a city citation of a special tax bill therefore against the property to be prepared and to be collected by the county collector with other assessed taxes and shall be the first lien on the property until paid.”
“And that’s where I think we’ll get them,” Skaggs said.
Brochu noted that in the past the county clerk has been unwilling to add these charges from the city to the county tax bills.
Next month, aldermen plan to discuss the ordinance relating to dangerous buildings.
“The old doctor’s office is falling in,” Skaggs said. “It needs to be moved or destroyed or something.”
“We can have the city marshal issue them a warning when he starts,” Brochu said.
“All that warning crap, I don’t know, people know the rules around here don’t they?” Skaggs asked.
“I know but we also haven’t enforced all of them,” Brochu responded. “Personally, I like to give people a warning before we bring the hammer down. When we started to enforce the water shutoffs, we told people that we were going to start shutting people off in a month.”
“That’s what I would like to do when Riley starts,” Skaggs said. “Just say if you’ve got junk cars in your yard or on the street or on your property you better get rid of them in 60 days or else.”
“Well, according to the nuisance ordinance, he’ll give them a warning and they’ll have 10 days to take care of it,” Brochu said.
“Yeah, but he’ll wear out an ink pen giving every single person a warning,” Skaggs said.
Brochu noted that city residents are aware that the city marshal is starting soon and if they are reading the paper on the city meetings, they know that the city is serious about starting to enforce the nuisance ordinances.
* Aldermen have been asked to approve a revised floodplain ordinance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“FEMA said the floodplain ordinance that we approved last time does not have some of the right verbiage and we need a different one,” Brochu said. “I don’t even know what they changed.”
Instead of trying to read through the 19-page document at the meeting, Brochu is emailing a copy to each alderman to review with a plan to vote at the next meeting.
* Aldermen have approved Brochu to meet with the owners of the property at 321 East Missouri in Chamois to pursue the best way to hand the property over to the city.
“He’ll pay for the title search, the real estate taxes, and other fees that would be normally associated with a real-estate seller,” Brochu said. “There is a water bill on the property of $2,231.67 and he won’t pay it.”
Aldermen have agreed for the property owner to meet with Brochu at the city attorney’s office to decide the best way to deed the property to the City of Chamois. Brochu notes that it will cost a couple of hundred dollars in lawyer fees at a minimum to meet.
“I think we need to go after that water bill, though,” Skaggs said.
“Do the previous owners still live in town?” Brochu asked.
“No,” Kirsch said.
“They still made the bill,” Skaggs continued. “They still owe it. It’s the principle of the thing. If it costs $1,000 to get $2,000 back it would be worth it just to make a point.”
“I don’t know how we do that,” Brochu said. “Right now, we don’t let people rack up a couple-thousand dollar bill.”
“I don’t know what to do,“ Skaggs said. “Take them to court and sue them? It just ain’t right.”
Brochu will discuss the issue with the city attorney and see what the options are to collect the water bill from the property.
* Aldermen asked Kirsch to get quotes on what city street projects they could afford to do next summer. Currently, the city has budgeted for $12,500 that could go towards street repairs. Kirsch will report back to the board at the next meeting.
* Aldermen were not interested in pursuing a city-wide yard sale this year.
Brochu noted that in years past, other aldermen would take the lead and set up the yard sale but those members are no longer a part of the board. There were traditionally between 10 to 15 families within the city limits that participated in the event.
“Maybe this is something that another group needs to take over,” Skaggs suggested.
Brochu will discuss the matter with City Clerk Michelle Stanley and see if she is interested in doing the work to make the city yard sale happen; otherwise, it will not be coordinated by the city this year.
* Aldermen approved the payment of outstanding bills totaling $28.395.33.
* The city of Chamois has the following ending balances in the accounts: cemetery ($9,673.17), city cemetery ($19,787.08), city park ($1,318.59), general fund ($55,417.99), meter deposits ($19,526.32), sewer ($24,895.04), sewer bond reserve ($26,550.72), sewer repair ($6,894.53), water ($123,177.14), and water repair ($28,815.29).
The city has several certificates of deposits totaling $12,066.89.
* The next regular meeting will be held on Feb. 18, at 7 p.m.

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