Fayette City Council looks at Fire Truck, discusses Historic Preservation

A new fire truck and Historic Preservation may be in Fayette’s near future. The Fayette City Council discussed theses topics as well as signage, community events and committee appointments.
Brett Wheeler, with 4 State Signs, approached the council regarding new signs at Derailed Commodity. The current signs are in need of replacement and the company would like to enlarge the signage for the store; proposing an 8’x16’ sign to replace the existing 4’x16’. The council referred the request to the Planning and Zoning Commission for recommendation.
Fayette Fire Chief, Chris Baylor, brought information the council had requested at their last meeting. The council is considering purchase of a new fire truck for the department.
Mayor Greg Stidham outlined the situation and council’s position. The Fire Department’s current ladder truck is a 1980 model purchased in 1995. It is 100 feet long with dual axles, which is larger than what is needed for Fayette. The truck has repeatedly not passed inspection and therefore has been out of service for approximately four years. A ladder truck is needed for the Courthouse, buildings on the square, CMU structures, apartment buildings, and for the ability to spray water onto roofs from above. Because of this need, the lack of an operational ladder truck would affect the ISO rating for Fayette, which would, in turn, likely increase insurance premiums for homeowners and business owners.
The city has the opportunity to replace the out-dated ladder truck as well as a 3,000 gallon pumper truck with the purchase of one truck to fill both needs. They are considering a new truck being offered at the price of a demonstrator unit. This would mean a savings of $50-60 thousand dollars for the city for a 77 foot truck which would be a more appropriate size for Fayette. The cost of this truck is approximately $630,000. There is $170,000 in the Fire Department’s sinking fund and Central Methodist University has pledged $30,000 toward the purchase of a new truck. This is almost a third of the cost. Financing options are being reviewed. There is a opportunity of a USDA loan at an approximate 4% interest rate with a $53,000 payment each year for 10 years. The city budgets sinking fund payments of $25,000 each year. The building improvements loan for the fire station are $15,000 which will end in August 2019. This will make up most of the $53,000 payment.
The council requested from Baylor a list of city-owned (vs. co-owned) department vehicles to include the make, model and year, and anticipated significant needs for the next several years. They also asked for a summary of how replacing the two trucks with one would affect the department.
Cathy Thogmorton came before the board requesting approval to submit a request to the Fayette Area Community Trust (FACT) for money to help finance the Fourth of July Celebration at the City Park. The council approved the submission of the request. (Donations to assist with expenses are still being accepted and can be given to Robin at City Hall. Please designate “Park events.”)
Several appointments were made to different commissions and committees.
• The recommendations of Constance Crump and Bobby Robb to the Planning and Zoning Commission was approved.
• The Fayette Housing Authority request to reinstate Mary Belle Barnette, Jessie Williams, and Ann Schnell to the Housing Authority Commission was approved.
• Jacob Kingrey was appointed to the Parks Commission.
The Alderman appointed to the Historic Preservation Commission, Grafton Cook, presented his recommended slate of members. His slate included; Susan Donnelly, Joey Smith, Brad Dudenhoffer, Pam Huttsell, Darrell Ridgwell, and Pat Roll. Conversation followed regarding the proposed membership. Alderman Anthony Shiflett asked if Mike Stornello had been asked if he would be willing to serve on the Historic Preservation Commission. Cook responded he had not contacted Stornello. The council asked if they could approve a partial board, enough for a quorum, so the board could begin meeting, and approve the remaining positions at a later meeting.
The council requested that each potential member follow the guidelines for this commission and submit an application/qualifications and a resume for appointment to the commission. (The Historic Preservation Commission is the only Fayette Commission which requires these submissions to serve.) It was noted that the members selected that night were being selected without the above required submissions, but they would still be asked to submit qualifications and a resume.
Four members are needed for a quorum for the Historic Preservation Commission. Council representative Cook and Planning and Zoning representative Smith were two of the four. The council voted to add Donnelly and Huttsell to make a quorum. The remaining seats will be voted upon at a later council meeting. Cook expressed his displeasure by voting “no” on approval of a partial commission. He then stated that he had planned to have the slate presented voted upon in its entirety; either for or against. He was not happy with the council’s approach to the commission selections describing it as a “popularity contest.”
In other business:
• The city plans to apply for a sidewalk grant. The grant would repair/replace sidewalks en route to schools, even along highways.
• A personnel committee will be established for city employees.
• The city is looking into what they can do regarding vacant, unkempt, derelict properties. More action will be taken on this in the near future.
Mayor Stidham noted the council still plans to establish a formal ordinance outlining what the Volunteer Firefighters do for the city, what and how funding is received, compensation, and insurance coverage. He noted again, that they do not want to make any changes, just put in writing how the entities interact.
KOMU Channel 8 from Columbia was at the meeting and requested an interview with Mayor Stidham after the meeting regarding the fire department. In previous reports, Channel 8 erroneously stated the council had voted to dissolve the fire department.
Due to the July 4 holiday, the next meeting of the Fayette City Council will be Tuesday, July 17. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at City Hall. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

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