The Peculiar Board of Aldermen met Monday night, October 21, at Peculiar City Hall to hold their monthly board meeting. The agenda was quite short and the bulk of the discussion occurred during Aldermen Directives at the end of the meeting.
To start off, David Shrout was honored as the Employee of the Quarter for the City. Just over a year ago, Shrout became the Water Works Manager for Peculiar. City Administrator Brad Ratliff introduced Shrout, saying that he is a “valued asset” who has increased business operations and efficiency in the City.
“He is well-respected throughout the state of Missouri,” said Ratliff.
As for the new business on the agenda, the Aldermen unanimously passed three items. First, they approved an ordinance amending and establishing chapters in the Peculiar Municipal Code in order to align the City’s land-use requirements.
Secondly, a resolution was passed that approved an interlocal agreement between the cities of Peculiar and Belton pertaining to outlining boundaries for future annexations. According to Peculiar City Staff, Jeff Davis (Belton Mayor) and Ron Trivitt (Belton City Manager) approached Peculiar about the issue to make sure there would be no future disputes over the land that exists between 203rd Street and 211th Street.
Finally, a resolution to approve and adopt a 3, 8, and 13 year annexation plan for Peculiar was also passed.
During the City Administrator report, Brad Ratliff stated that the eighth annual Peculiar Harvest Moon Festival is set to take place on October 26 in downtown Peculiar. He also noted that there have been “several businesses” looking to move into the city. He said that he has been “seeing some activity and pick up” in the area of economic development.
Ratliff went on to say that the 211th Street interchange has been officially approved in MoDOT’s budget and everything with that plan is going as intended. In regards to School Road, it was reported that the County has yet to give Peculiar a plan in writing, though they have requested it on several occassions. Originally, the plan for School Road reconstruction stated that Cass County would pay 60% of Phase Three and Peculiar would pay 40%. Those numbers have now reversed at the County’s request.
“We need to do it, we have to do it,” said Ratliff.
The meeting picked up the most conversation at the end, when Ward 1 Alderman Homer Dunsworth, who is also a liaison to the Peculiar Park Board, suggested that the Park Board be done away with.
“It’s totally one-hundred percent fractured and dysfunctional,” said Dunsworth. “It’s not going to work.”
According to Dunsworth’s observation and analysis, the Park Board has “handcuffed” City Staff member Nathan Musteen. Musteen is the full-time Activities Director for Peculiar, so all of his decisions have to be approved by the Park Board before going into effect.
At the beginning of 2013, Musteen and the Park Board began discussions on how to prepare Raisbeck Park for youth soccer leagues in spring 2014. Through disagreements and set backs, the Board was unable to obtain the appropriate RFQs (Request for Qualifications) and FEMA permit to sow the grass seed that would make for a usable soccer field in the next year.
Ward 2 Alderman Holly Stark remarked that the City Staff should have caught the mishandling of the situation and that the Park Board is not to blame.
Mayor Ernie Jungmeyer agreed, saying, “Our staff should have known.”
Stark went on to say that Musteen’s salary gets the “lion’s share” of tax dollars appropriated for Peculiar’s parks and that there has been little return for the investment.
Mayor Jungmeyer and Alderman Dunsworth defended Musteen by way of expressing issues with the Park Board. Jungmeyer said that in his time as mayor there have been five or six liaisons from the City to the Park Board and none could seem to get along with them.
Because Peculiar is a Fourth Class City, it is possible for them to do away with the Park Board completely and have Musteen report directly to the City Administrator and the Board of Aldermen. That idea will be discussed at Peculiar’s Board of Aldermen work session next month.