63% majority vote to sell gas system to Spire certified by Oronogo Board

Oronogo’s Nov. 2 election result allowing Spire to purchase the municipal natural gas system was certified Monday by the Board of Aldermen.

The proposal was approved by 63% majority. Of the 87 casting votes, 55 were in favor and 32 were against.

The board of aldermen and Spire have agreed on a total payment of $620,000. As part of the regulatory process, the Missouri Public Service Commission will determine if that amount is fair.

Spire will pay the city a franchise fee and be responsible for responsible gas service to the large Hawthorn Hills subdivision, north of Jason Place.

Gas customers will continue to receive monthly bills from the city until the deal is finalized.

Mayor Charles Wilkins warned customers to be prepared for higher bills this winter. The city passes on wholesale cost increases to its 267 customers monthly if necessary. Spire is only allowed to adjust its rate quarterly.

Water tower painting contract

The board approved a $86,550 contract with Cunningham Sandblasting and Painting Co., of Joplin, to clean and repaint the interior and exterior of the city’s 100,000-gallon water tower.

A 10-year warranty is included. Public Works Superintendent Tony Cantrell recommended the project, noting that it normally needs to be done every 20 years.

By scheduling the job to be done in the spring of 2022, the city received a $3,500 discount.

Halloween party a success

Police Chief Steven Weaver estimated that 400 trick-or-treaters and their parents enjoyed a Halloween party conducted by his department at Christ’s Church of Oronogo.

About 300 hot dogs were served, and he added that he had received a lot of positive comments.

The board approved Weaver’s request to purchase a new fully equipped Ford Pursuit SUV at a cost of $46,565. Joe Machen Ford, of Columbia, submitted the state-contract bid of $35,255 for the vehicle alone. A grant from the Jasper County Law Enforcement Sales Tax Fund will reduce the balance to $25,150, which will be paid with a loan from Southwest Missouri Bank. The first payment will be due July 2022.

The board also approved Weaver’s recommendation that Davy Blair be hired as a police officer.

Comprehensive plan committee to be appointed

Wilkins said he wants to appoint a diverse group of residents to assist the Harry S Truman Coordinating Council to prepare an updated comprehensive plan.

The committee will be “looking into our long term future,” Wilkins said. He appointed Mark Lloyd (1st Ward) to be the council’s liaison to the committee.

Hazard insurance policy renewed

Connell Insurance will continue to insure the city’s assets against risk.

Although the annual premium is increasing 5.8% to  $48,650, City Clerk Cyndi Jennings said it could have been more. In fact, a 20% increase was budgeted.