On Monday night, the Raymore City Council convened for a regular meeting. The consent agenda passed unanimously. In unfinished business, the following items were also approved unanimously: the rezoning of Willow Hills lots 6 and 7; a budget amendment for patrol officer classifications; a household hazardous waste agreement with the Mid-America Regional Council’s Solid Waste Management District; and finally, the calling for the April 8, 2014 election.
Three proposed charter amendments were met with more discussion. These amendments were in regard to councilmember qualifications, mayor qualifications, and the procedure for the amendment of the charter by citizen petition.
The first two amendments clarify that the person running for office (whether for councilmember or mayor) “shall not be in arrears for any unpaid City taxes, liens or forfeitures and shall not have been found guilty of or plead guilty to a felony.” This amendment, according to City Staff, “will provide consistency between the City Code and City Charter.”
In regard to the councilmember qualifications, Councilmember Hubach stated, “My position on that is it’s unnecessary and redundant.”
“To me, the people are being asked to vote on an issue that’s already settled,” she added. “It will just double the cost of the election, and it doesn’t changed anything. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”
Hubach later said that her sentiments applied to the mayor qualifications, as well.
Councilmember Ryan Wescoat disagreed, saying, “It’s a way to clean up our charter.”
Ultimately, both amendments passed, with Councilmembers Kevin Kellogg, Jeff Stevens, and Hubach voting against them.
As for citizen petitions for Charter amendments, City Staff explains in their report that the proposed outlined procedure has been the practice of the City, but has not been listed in the Charter. The amendment also puts a 120-day limit on the amount of time petitioners may collect the necessary signatures.
Councilmembers Hubach and Kellogg also voted in opposition to this amendment, but it passed.
In new business, Council spent time discussing a preliminary plat extension request for The Estates and Estate Villas of the Good Ranch, proposed to be located on the south side of Hubach Hill Road, east of Brook Parkway. The applicant requested a two-year extension, but City Staff recommended a one-year extension.
Councilmember Derek Moorhead made a motion to increase the extension to two years as requested by the applicant. However, only Councilmembers Jason Boehner and Kellogg voted along with Moorhead in favor of the motion, so it failed.
Ultimately the Council voted in favor of a one-year extension, with only Councilman Boehner opposing.
The agenda item that faced the most debate was a proposed award of contract to SFS Architecture in the amount of $83,450 for a community survey and feasibility study regarding a future indoor recreational facility, including a study of an outdoor athletic complex.
City Staff explained that SFS was chosen because of their qualifications for the job. Their bid came in $50 below the original $75,000 project budget, but the price later increased by an additional to $8500 to include a survey, recommended by the contractor and City staff.
Several councilmember were opposed to the proposal for a variety of reasons. Councilmember Wescoat pointed out that Peculiar is planning on creating an outdoor soccer complex, and suggested that the statistical survey be done first, while temporarily tabling the feasibility study. However, City Manager Eric Berlin pointed out that SFS would do the study, while a separate entity would conduct the survey. Wescoat’s suggestion would cut out SFS.
Other objections included the concern that the survey aspect was not clearly included in the project description for other bidders to consider; that the bidders had been “opportunistic” to come back and ask for more money; or that the contract amount should remain at the original amount, including the survey cost.
Councilmember Abdelgawad expressed her frustration with the slow movement on this project. “Our job for the City is to make decisions.”
Throughout the discussion, indecision reigned, and Councilmembers made a variety of motions to amend the bill, two of which were later withdrawn. A third motion encouraged postponing the bill until January 13.
With three councilmembers opposed, that proposed amendment carried. Eric Berlin is to discuss the price point with the contractor before the January 13 meeting.