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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Mound City swears in new council member, plans 2024 events

MOUND CITY – The Mound City Council bid farewell to a longtime council member, welcomed a newly elected representative, set a calendar for events, and approved the reappointment of city officials and committee members on its first meeting of the new year on Tuesday, Jan. 2.

Jessie Carr, who was elected in November, was sworn into office at the beginning of the meeting. She replaces Shayna Lamb who did not seek reelection after serving 14 years in office including 10 years as a city council member and four years as mayor.

Carr was appointed to take Lamb’s posts on the city’s finance and parks committees. Council Member Fanchion Shadden will work with her on the finance committee, and council consultant Josh Baldwin will work with her on the parks committee.

As part of the annual reorganization process, Mayor Wade Doering reappointed all of the city offices from attorney Burton Harding to planning and zoning administrator Sharon Davis. F & M Bank was designated as depository for city funds.

The council also set dates for city-sponsored events. The dates are:

• Easter egg hunt, March 30

• Fishing derby, May 4

• Jayhawk Blast, June 8

• Christmas event, Dec. 7

The council discussed folding the fishing derby and Jayhawk Blast into a single event but decided there wasn’t enough city staff and volunteers to do all of that on one day. They did decide, however, to move the Blast to early June so it wouldn’t be so hot.

Weather was a factor in initial plans for Christmas as well. After the mayor’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the amphitheater on Main Street was cancelled in December because of rain – a second rainout for the venue in the past few months – the council tentatively decided to hold a daytime event at the 4-H Building on the fairgrounds.

It would be done on the first Saturday of the month, the same day as the American Legion Hewitt New Post No. 248’s breakfast and the evening event at the city’s historical park.

The council also voted to set the budget for all four events at $15,000. The Jayhawk Blast has been the most expensive event – as much as $10,000 – because of fireworks and live music, although the evening band donated its performance last July.

Donations also helped defray the cost of the other events, particularly Easter. Last year more than $1,000 was donated for the egg hunt.

Wade Booth, currently pastor of the First Baptist Church of Pleasanton, talked with the council about Safe Harbor, a shelter and soup kitchen for homeless Linn County residents that he is setting up in a former nursing home in Prescott. He made a pitch to the council for some help with funding the shelter, but the council did not act because Doering wanted to wait until he could discuss the matter with City Attorney Burton Harding. (See the Journal’s separate story on Safe Harbor.)

The council also heard from Scott Mitchell, who operates a septic/holding tank business in southern Linn County. It was the third time that Mitchell has met with the council about being able to dump his truck in the city’s sewage lagoon.

According to Mitchell and city officials, Mitchell began servicing holding tanks in Sugar Valley Lakes and Hidden Valley Lakes when the development’s truck ceased service nearly a year ago. At Monday’s meeting, Mitchell said he services between 30 to 40 holding tanks weekly at Sugar Valley, Hidden Valley, and Lake Chaparral developments.

Mitchell’s request has been somewhat complicated because Council Member Shadden also operates a septic tank cleaning company. Early in the discussion, Shadden indicated that because of that conflict of interest, she wouldn’t be voting on the matter.

Last month, City Clerk Shelby Murray said the city lost about $27,000 in revenue over the past year because the Sugar Valley property owners association was not hauling to Mound City as it had in the past.

Shadden’s trucks carries loads of 1,500 gallons and Mitchell’s truck hauls loads of 2,700 gallons, and there was discussion about the difference in the fees each would pay.

Last month the council proposed charging Mitchell $35 for dumping his larger truck and lowering Shadden’s fee from $25.50 to $19. But on Tuesday, Mitchell said he couldn’t pay that price and keep his service affordable.

He made a counter offer of $25 to $26 per dump. Anything more than that and he would take it to Blue Mound or Fort Scott.

The council finally settled on a price of $26 a load for Mitchell and lowered the price for Shadden to $15 a load.

Because of problems with the city’s sewage lagoons being nearly full, City Superintendent John Bruns stressed that Mitchell should only be depositing holding tank waste rather than septic tank waste. The issue passed with Shadden abstaining.

The council also discussed the terms of the lease of the ballfields to Jayhawk USD 346 from March 21 through June 1. The lease amount for the district is $3,000 for the nearly 2.5 months with the understanding that $1,000 will be spent on ballfield improvements.

Bruns said it would be better if the city took over mowing the ballfields, and added that school officials often leave the restrooms unlocked after practice or a game. That invites vandalism.

Mayor Doering said he would negotiate the rental fee with district Superintendent Shawn Thomas.

The council also approved raises for city employees that ranged between $1 and $1.50 per hour.

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