The Peculiar Board of Aldermen held their regular meeting Monday, August 19 at 6:30 p.m. in Peculiar City Hall. Aldermen Homer Dunsworth and Veronika Stark were absent from the meeting, but the Council still maintained a quorum.
The meeting began with a proclamation to make August 19 Kurt Siuzdak Day in the City of Peculiar. Siuzdak, a Federal Bureau of Investigation Supervisor Special Agent, led an investigation that resulted in major funds for Peculiar.
In 2004, Siuzdak, working for the New York Division’s Organized Crime Branch, responded to Peculiar in their call for an investigation of an organized criminal enterprise. Working with the Peculiar Police Department, Siuzdak brought in other local law enforcement agencies to discover that a Federal crime had occurred in Peculiar. Appropriate charges were then filed in the Federal Courts System.
The proclamation states, “Siuzdak was able to maintain the integrity of a [sic] major communications and telephone companies within the Peculiar area without undue interruption.”
Siuzdak’s investigation proved to be very successful, as many organized crime members were arrested and over $40 million in cash and property was recovered.
The proclamation goes on to read, “The extended efforts of Special Agent Siuzdak resulted in the United States of America awarding the Peculiar Police Department being over one million three hundred thousand dollars in Asset Forfeiture funds.”
Because of this important work for the City of Peculiar, August 19 will from now on be known as Siuzdak Day in Peculiar.
In unfinished business, the Aldermen who were present unanimously passed the second reading of a Bill that amends the Peculiar municipal code concerning irrigation meter connections to the City’s water works system. The ordinance allows for a larger water meter if needed at the additional cost to the property owner.
The first point of discussion in new business concerned a tax that was voted on and passed twenty years ago but never acted upon by the former City Staff members. Current City Staff found the error when scanning old documents into a digital format as part of Peculiar’s initiative to become less dependent on paper.
In 1987, it was voted on by the people of Peculiar and approved by the Board of Aldermen to add a transportation tax via retail sold in the City. In 1991, a parks tax was passed in the same manner.
In 1993, these taxes were decided to be assessed on domestic utility services through the companies that provide utilities such as metered water, electricity, gas, wood, and coal. After this decision was made, the City had ten days to enact the new policy and the staff never did.
Now, in 2013, the City of Peculiar is re-declaring its intention to apply a transportation tax and a parks tax on all sales of the aforementioned domestic utilities. The Bill was up for first and second reading for the Monday night meeting, but the Aldermen decided to table it for the time being until all of the elected members were present to discuss it.
“We waited twenty years,” said Mayor Ernie Jungmeyer, “we can wait one more month.”
According to Peculiar City Staff, it will take around five months for the Department of Revenue to set the situation straight and for the City to begin receiving the funds. That is why they encouraged the first and second readings of the Bill as soon as possible.
The funds to be assessed are not new funds added to the domestic utility bills, but rather funds designated to the City through the utility companies like KCP&L. According to City Staff estimates, Peculiar would have received over $70,000 last year in the transportation and parks taxes combined. If the funds would have been assessed every year since the policy was originally declared in 1993, it can be estimated that hundreds of thousands of dollars would have been filtered into these two funds over the last twenty years.
In other new business, a resolution of the Board of Aldermen was passed to establish the 2013 tax levy. The levy, which was set at $0.70 per $100 property market value in 2012, will be $0.8626 in 2013. The increase in property taxes is established in accordance with the installation of the 211th Street Interchange in Peculiar.
General Fund charges for property taxes remain unchanged. The increase is strictly from the Debt Service Fund, which increases by $0.16 per $100 assessed value. City Administrator Brad Ratliffe stated that the bonds are needed for the construction of the 211th Street Interchange and that this increase in the tax levy is helping to ease them in.
MoDOT and the State of Missouri are contributing $8.1 million to the construction of the interchange.