Two Linn projects stalled because of property easements

By Theresa Brandt, Staff Writer
Posted 6/29/22

Linn has two construction projects that seem to be stalling because of property easements. Bartlett & West Engineer Hope Drennan was at last Tuesday’s meeting to announce that the …

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Two Linn projects stalled because of property easements

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Linn has two construction projects that seem to be stalling because of property easements. Bartlett & West Engineer Hope Drennan was at last Tuesday’s meeting to announce that the wastewater project on Stonegate Subdivision will be completed this week and that Aplex, Inc., hoped to move onto the State Tech Golf Course Wastewater Project next week.

“I was not sure if there was any discussion with the final easement needed for the golf course property,” Drennan said. 

“I spent quite a bit of time with them last night, and right now, there’s not a lot of movement on that one,” Mayor Dwight Massey added. “I kinda got my ass handed to me if you want me to be blunt.”

Massey went on to say that the Turner family was not happy they were not contacted about the property easement before it was voted on and reported that the details of the project had been finalized. 

“I wish this would have been taken care of before it all came out in the paper and bids were sent out and so on because I was under the assumption that some of this had been done, and it was not,” Massey said. “So, now we are running into a roadblock, and there are timelines and money on the line.”

Bartlett & West Engineer Bob Gilbert offered to meet with the Turners.

“I don’t think it will do you a lick of good,” Massey said. “It should have been taken care of before it was ever put out for a bid.”

Drennan apologized and noted that she thought that there had been an initial agreement with the Turners.

“There was a verbal agreement,” Massey said. “But once everything started coming out in the paper that it was a done deal and no one had talked to them, they got upset.”

Massey noted that he would continue to talk to the property owners and do the best he could.

The Jaegers Wastewater Regionalization project is also stalled by a property easement. Drennan will reach out to the contractor and see if he is interested in rebidding the project. The property in question near Hwy. 100 is owned by five individuals that live in different parts of the state and country. City Clerk Carrie Grellner has had trouble contacting two of the property owners, though she has received signed property easements from the other three.

“I’ve tried calling, mailing letters, emailing, and I even tried contacting them on Facebook,” Grellner said. 

City Attorney Kent Brown suggested that she try contacting the property owners and that if the letter or phone calls came from a legal office, they might carry more weight. 

“I can send them something through certified mail and try to impress upon them the need to move forward,” Brown said.

The deadline for the grant for the Jaegers Wastewater Regionalization project has been extended to Oct. 31, 2023, because of an additional cultural research survey requested by the Osage Nation.

“The grant is still in good shape,” Drennan said. “We will reach out to the contractor and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and discuss with them the next steps. We can go through the bidding process again once the property easement is acquired.”

• Aldermen also agreed to submit applications for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds through the state of Missouri for all three available areas and a 1% cost-share for each project. Bartlett & West presented updated estimates for the projects that were previously discussed at a special meeting.

The estimate for a lead service line inventory is $93,703, and the 1% cost share for the city would be $937. The proposed wastewater improvements are estimated at $3,436,570, and the cost-share for the city would be $34,365.70. A new water line main was added to the existing projects for drinking water improvements, and the updated cost estimate for those projects totals $3,112,000. The 1% cost-share for those improvements would cost the city $31,120. The total cost-share for all the projects would be $66,422.73.

“So, for every $1 you put in, you would get $100 back,” Drennan said. 

Applications are due by July 14, and Grellner will see if she can submit the projects herself on behalf of the city. Bartlett & West noted the firm is available to help with any questions or concerns.

• Police Chief Mike Bickell announced that the department has received five grants from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) totaling more than $33,000. The grants will be used to purchase additional radar, radios, cameras, and mobile computers and to cover overtime for law enforcement officers.

• At Bickell’s request, aldermen reviewed Bill #2015-007, which is the city’s nuisance ordinance. The ordinance does not list the number of days required before a ticket is written after an ordinance violation is cited. 

“Wouldn’t it be better to have a number of days listed in the ordinance?” Bickell asked.

Grellner explained that the way that the nuisance ordinance is currently handled is that police officers drive around and notice that someone’s grass needs to be cut, so they give them a notice, and they have 10 days to get the grass cut. If the issue is not taken care of in that timeframe, the property owners are issued a citation.

“What timeframe would you like me to give?” Bickell asked. “Because I would like to remain consistent for everyone.”

Aldermen Bill Turner told colleagues that he knows of someone who is disabled and received a citation and had trouble finding anyone to help them fix the issue.

“Typically, it’s the same few people every year or close to it. I would think if we had a house that is typically kept up and it’s suddenly scruffy, we would probably ask why,” Massey said.

Aldermen proposed making the timeframe seven days regarding easily repaired issues and longer for bigger issues. The fine is spelled out in the ordinance to be no less than $100 and no more than $500.

• Aldermen reviewed the distracted driving ordinance proposed by Bickell at the last meeting. Brown clarified some of the language of the ordinance, which would make texting while driving and all other electronic communication that would be used with a handheld device illegal. The ordinance would not affect talking on a phone, using Global Positioning System (GPS), or use of voice-activated technology. Fines could be issued from $5 to $200. 

The ordinance will be put on the agenda for the next meeting.

• There is a water run-off issue at 200 E. Jefferson Street. Aldermen Turner and Utilities Superintendent Larry Fredrich met with the property owner to address the problem. 

“It’s a bad situation,” Turner said. “Water is diverting off Jefferson Street onto his property. The biggest problem is the gravel (driveway).”

“His parking space is off the road where they drive in and out normally,” Fredrich explained. “We got the Bobcat and pulled the gravel back up to the road, but it is a temporary fix. The only way they are going to fix it is to pave their driveway.”

Turner noted the driveway and sidewalk are much lower than the road.

“This is one of the few places where people build in a hole and then can’t understand why water flows into their house,” Massey said.

“But the roads have been built up since they put in the sidewalks,” Turner countered. “The water comes in and has no place to go.”

“If you build your house in a hole, you’re going to get wet,” Aldermen Rick Niewald said. 

“Well, when they built the house, the road was probably lower than the sidewalk,” Turner said.

“The roads probably weren’t paved then,” Massey said. “People in this town build at the bottom of a hill or in a hole and then go, ‘why is the water coming in off the street?’”

“It’s logical to address the situation before you build the road up with curbing,” Turner said. “That’s the logical thing to do, and I see the city hasn’t done that for years.”

“We’re trying to update the roads, and yes, I would like to put curbs and gutters in, too but look at the cost,” Massey said. “Maybe the ATV/UTV permits will cover it.”

Fredrich will go down and address the situation by moving the gravel back up to the road as a temporary solution.

• Aldermen Mike Montgomery met with resident Donna Magrowski about her request to allow parking alongside her apartment building on Adams Street for her tenants to park. 

“I went down there and made some quick measurements up and down the street, and I don’t see any problem with there being parking there,” Montgomery said.

“Mrs. Magrowski was informed if she would provide parking, we would allow her to use the side of the street, but she doesn’t want to provide any of her space. She wants them to be able to park on the street,” Massey said. “We’ve already discussed that. She doesn’t want to provide her space for her people; she wants us to provide the space.”

Montgomery noted that Magrowski seems confused about what she needs to do.

“She was fully aware of what she needed to do,” Massey said.

• The Linn City Pool has been experiencing some problems with the pumps and was closed unexpectedly for several days last week.

The pool was already functioning on only one pump, and it gave out due to a control-panel issue. The pump that was on order through Pools Made Possible was not due until August, even though it had been ordered last year. 

The part to replace the control panel was to be in on June 24. Another pump was found at Vaughan Pools, and it was installed so that the pool could reopen. After Friday’s repairs to the existing pump, the pool should be functioning on two pumps. The baby pool is also up and running again.

Aldermen Mike Montgomery noted that he had heard complaints that the water in the kiddie pool was green.

“It was closed for a while because they couldn’t get it to work,” Grellner said. “If the complaint was before last week, yes, it was green, and it was gross.”

“The kiddie pool is really finicky,” Fredrich said. “There is a serious problem of the pump not wanting to come on and prime like it ought to. The high volume the pump tries to pull and the low volume of water it is trying to pull from causes some issues.”

Grellner is working with Fredrich on an operating manual for the pumps and the pool.

“It’s a learning curve,” Fredrich said. “We have a lot of young people over there that are learning how to run our pool. I’m having to learn stuff too to help them learn how to run it.”

Turner said that he went to visit the pool and noted there was a concern that you could look right into the girl’s restroom. Turner suggested that the city put up a curtain or a door. He also noted that the restroom was dark, and perhaps the interior could be painted white and more lights added. The benches in the restroom are made from wood and have peeling paint and could be replaced with composite benches. 

Aldermen Steve Boeckmann noted that the outdoor storage shelves were rusty, and Grellner added that she has been trying to figure out a way to provide some shade.

Massey asked aldermen to compile a list of things that needed to be done.

Montgomery noted that he had received a complaint that there was only one lifeguard on duty at all times, and the other two lifeguards seemed to be just hanging out in the concessions stand.

Grellner said she would talk to the pool manager about this.

She noted that when Extended Care uses the pool, there has been feces both in the pool and in the restroom. The pool manager has requested that an adult accompany the children to the restroom so that this doesn’t happen and that the request was not well received by Extended Care staff.

• Aldermen are still unhappy about the concrete barriers blocking the road at Maguire Park.

“It’s not really attractive, and I can see ruts where people try to turn around,” Montgomery said. 

Niewald noted that Maguire Park is very pretty, and the barriers are ugly.

“They are an eyesore,” Boeckmann agreed.

“We are going to have to build some kind of turn-around down there and get a gate we can open and close,” Niewald said. 

Massey promised to meet at the park with aldermen and come up with an idea.

• Fredrich reported that there was a main water line break on Old Mill Road, and customers were out of water for a day and a half.

He told aldermen that 1,200 feet of 10-inch line was improperly installed in 1990, and the line is faulty. 

“What blew apart this time was the fire hydrant from the water main,” Fredrich said. “The customers were not very appreciative, and I got several phone calls about that.”

Fredrich added that he and his crew are filling in potholes, cutting grass, and taking care of the parks and the pool.

• Aldermen added a paragraph to Linn Police policies and procedures so that the department could resell equipment that was acquired through the Department of Defense. Bickell noted that he had some items that were no longer of use to his department, and there needed to be a policy in place to allow him to resell the items and keep the money within the police department.

• The auditors will be meeting with City Treasurer Janelle Jaegers on July 11.

• Massey proposed putting together a credit card policy for the city. “We need to establish a policy, and it’s going to involve things like personal liability for charges not authorized by this board,” Massey said. 

Grellner noted that there is a real need for the city to have a credit card because everything is going online.

“I want everyone to think about it,” Massey said. “We need to have a policy in place because Carrie’s right; we need a credit card.”

• The board approved three sewer reductions. Old School Antique Mall will receive a sewer reduction of $110 for a leak, and two city residents requested sewer reductions when they filled their pools. One was for $38.93, and the other was $76.76.

• City Hall will be closed on July 4.

• The Linn License Fee Office will be closed on July 2 and 4 in observation of Independence Day.

• Aldermen approved outstanding bills for the month for $129,126.08.

• Linn had the following account balances for the governmental fund accounts: general ($327,994.03), pool (-$7,726.57), park ($88,905.36), police training ($3,530.18), general fund-improvements and equipment ($8,646.09), park-improvement and equipment ($26,770.50), and pool-improvements and equipment ($13,985.14).

• Linn had the following business-type account balances: water ($433,050.52), water replacement ($123,587.17), sewer ($435,398.18), sewer-improvement, and grants ($1,752.83).

• Linn has nine certificates of deposit totaling $1,089,798.13.

• The city held a special meeting on June 22 to listen to a presentation from E-Code, followed immediately by a planning meeting.

• The next regular meeting is July 12 at 5 p.m.

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