Peculiar discusses state of City, fuel tax

name2The Peculiar Board of Aldermen met for their regularly scheduled work session Monday, December 2, at City Hall.

 
City Administrator Brad Ratliff shared an extensive presentation discussing the state of the city. The entire presentation is available online.

Captain Justin Wise, an employee of the City of Peculiar and member of the Missouri National Guard, nominated Peculiar’s City Administrator Brad Ratliff and City Engineer Carl Brooks (pictured left and right, respectively) for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve’s (ESGR) Patriot Award. Ratliff and Brooks were both selected after the nomination process took place at the Pentagon. Jim Lumpkin was present with Captain Wise at the December 2 meeting to present the awards to Ratliff and Brooks at the end of the session.

 
Topics for discussion on Monday night included investment and debt policies, a fuel tax, a storm water ballot question, the city logo, and safe room requirements for residential structures.

 
The investment and debt policies discussion was basically an implementation of paperwork memorializing what the City is already doing. According to financial consultants that were present at the meeting, Peculiar has handled their finances very well and the written policies are little more than a housekeeping measure to make their procedures official.

 
A fuel tax ballot question was also brought up and discussed. Two times in the past, Peculiar has put a one-cent fuel tax on the ballot for voters to approve and though the majority voted in favor of the tax, the measure did not pass. Missouri law states that on such a proposal, two-thirds vote is necessary. The first year it was voted on, 58% voted in favor. In the second year it received 62% of the vote.

 
Mayor Ernie Jungmeyer stated that the tax would cost the average Peculiar resident $6 per year. About 90% of the tax income would be generated by non-Peculiar residents. Jungmeyer stated that the tax is estimated to bring in over $100,000 for the City that would be used for street construction.

 
“We don’t have enough funding to fix the amount of streets that we have,” Brad Ratliff said.

 
“Right now there’s no way we can get close to catching up.”

 
Alderman Holly Stark was concerned with the City’s persistence of the issue. Though she agrees that the decision to get the tax passed is a “no-brainer,” she fears coming across as aggressive like a school board that pressures its community into passing a tax.

 
Alderman Donald Turner was the only alderman who opposed the idea of putting the tax on the ballot; however, the issue will be formerly discussed in the next Board of Aldermen meeting.

 
Another ballot question arose in the form of fixing Peculiar’s storm water issues. The City has had trouble with controlling storm water and City Engineer Carl Brooks presented a proposal as a start to solving the problem. The plan explained by Brooks would cost all City water users $15-20 per month. The Aldermen all agreed that the cost was too high and are planning to move forward to discuss a plan that would cost each resident less.

 
Peculiar’s city logo is up for reconsideration and Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Musteen showed several base designs to the Aldermen for their consideration. The Board wants to replace the trees on the current logo that are not indigenous to the area with symbols and themes that define Peculiar. More discussion on the logos favored by the Board will be discussed in the next meeting.

 
Finally, the Board discussed the legislation that requires homes in Peculiar to have a safe room built-in in the event of a weather disaster. Aldermen Stark and Mike Galligher opposed the requirement, favoring less government involvement in the building of homes. Alderman Bob Fines seemed to favor the idea of requiring safe rooms. The Board will discuss the matter further in a future meeting.

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