SIKESTON - A stoplight on North Main at Highway HH/ZZ is another step closer to becoming a reality.
City Council members approved an ordinance granting drainage easements to the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission on state routes 61, HH and ZZ for the traffic signal project during their regular meeting Monday.
Department of Public Safety and city officials have pushed for a traffic signal at the intersection, located just south of the Sikeston Area Higher Education Center, for around five years. "It would be nice to get that stoplight in there before there's any more serious wrecks," said Councilman Jim Terrell.
The ordinance was passed as an emergency measure to make it effective immediately and "keep the ball rolling" on the intersection project, according to City Manager Doug Friend.
The project and its timing are "driven by MoDOT," Friend said, and drainage issues are crucial to the project.
A letter from the Missouri Department of Transportation lists the fall of 2005 as the completion date with all widening and surfacing to be completed by Aug. 1 to minimize the traffic impact during Rodeo week.
In other business during Monday's meeting:
* Council members accepted an audit of the city performed by Buchner, Essner and Miles LLC.
This was the first audit to be conducted under new federal audit rules which make it more like a private sector audit, according to Robert Essner.
Among the significant changes is putting city streets on the books as "assets" and calculating depreciation for them. The audit shows the city having $13.85 million in assets of which $2.14 million is unrestricted funds.
Essner said that any judgment of how well or poorly city officials are doing with the city's finances would be a matter of opinion, but no illegal or improper use of the city's money was revealed during the audit and the report includes no other "findings" or recommendations from the firm.
* The sale of King David Lodge, 326 Dixie, to the lodge's members was postponed by council members for six months.
The sale of city property was delayed by council members to provide time for lodge officers to prove to authorities that recent policy changes would ensure no more public safety incidents related to functions at the facility would occur.
Council members were prepared to approve the sale during the meeting but reconsidered following reports of a call to the DPS at around 2 a.m. Dec. 26 for armed subjects in the area outside the lodge followed by a call for the same area about an hour later for fight that escalated into an all-call for DPS. The all-call was costly for the city as over 70 personnel on overtime were involved.
King David Lodge member Jesse Redd Sr. explained the calls stemmed from a troublemaker who was ejected from the facility. Another lodge member, Tyrone Price, said lodge members had allowed the party to be booked there to help raise money for operation of the building but following the incident decided to not allow any more fundraisers of that type to be held there.
* On the recommendation of the bid committee, Council members rejected all bids for a medium-duty dump truck.
Tom Bridger, public works director, said both bids came in under budget but the Department of Public Works has other needs including a side-arm mower and salt spreaders while the dump truck can wait another year or two for replacement.
* A bill calling for the April 5 general election was passed by the Council as an emergency measure due to the Missouri Election Calender being in conflict with the city's charter, according to City Clerk Carroll Couch.
One at-large city council seat will be on the ballot with only one candidate, Sue Rogers, filed to run.
* The bid for a server, operating system and back-up system was awarded to Automation Services for $19,162.
The server, which will hold the court's database, is part of the city's software integration project which was authorized by the council in October, according to Linda Lowes, director of governmental services.