Oronogo Board of Alderman is back to full strength

1st Ward seat has been vacant since Charles Wilkins became mayor

Oronogo is back to a full six-member Board of Aldermen. 

Mark Lloyd, 120 Mabel Court, was sworn in Monday to represent the 1st Ward. His seat has been empty since April when Charles Wilkins vacated it to become mayor.

In his application, Lloyd stated he has enjoyed living in Oronogo for the past three years and thinks of being on the board “as a way to show my pride in the city and to help it continue to grow and develop.”

The board approved Wilkins’ appointment of Lloyd by a vote of 5-0.

Wilkins announced the city is expected to receive $538,162 as part of the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The board voted unanimously to apply for its ARP share and set up a separate account to keep it separate from other funds when it is received.

How to spend the ARP money has not been determined.

FIREWORKS

A new fireworks ordinance was approved 5-1. It allows fireworks to be discharged from June 20 to July 5 and from 10 p.m. to 1 p.m. to celebrate New Year’s Eve. 

Tammy Talent (2nd Ward) objected because she thinks June 20 is too early to start shooting fireworks. Bottle rockets are still outlawed, but not other aerial fireworks.

TAKE HOME PATROL CARS

The board also approved an ordinance allowing full-time police officers to take their patrol cars home.

Police Chief Stephen Weaver requested the policy as a way to keep and attract officers. 

Wilkins said the vehicles can already be tracked and located by GPS. He said that system can “prove an officer’s innocence” by disproving an allegation.

The vote was 5-1, with Kima Francis (3rd Ward) voting no.

An ordinance banning parking on both sides of Grant Street was approved 6-0.

TAX LEVY SET

The board set the new tax levy, which will be reduced primarily because of reassessment. 

A special meeting for the public hearing was held Aug. 16.

COMPUTERS DOWN FOR 7 DAYS WAS A GOOD THING

You’d think having the city’s computer system out of commission for seven days would have been a big convenience. City Clerk Cyndi Jennings said it was, of course, “But it just goes to show the anti-ransomware software program works.”

She reports that the system was actually “quarantined” twice until professionals came in to restart the system. The ransomware detected a possible threat with incoming data. It was a mistake – not a hacker – yet Wilkins was still appreciative of the software despite the downtime. “I’m proud to report that our ransomware software is working effectively,” he told the board.

In other action, the board:

• Accepted a $7,000 bid from the Cunningham tower firm, of Joplin, to correct four problems one of the water towers that were cited during an inspection by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Tony Cantrell, superintendent of public works, told the board that the tower is due to be repainted inside and out in the near future.

• Authorized Police Chief Stephen Weaver to accept a $5,000 grant to purchase two portable signs to monitor traffic speed, in addition to other things.

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