Third Ward Councilman Jerry Fisher is among those attending Webb City’s State of the City luncheon.

'Why isn't my trash being picked up?

Bob Foos

City workers have been working overtime to keep the roads from being slippery fix broken water mains.

But Mayor Lynn Ragsdale told the City Council Monday that the main question he’s received is “‘Why isn’t my garbage being picked up?’”

Obviously, the bad weather has made it difficult for the city’s trash hauler, GFL Environmental, to keep on schedule.

GFL notified the city Monday that icy roads got the week off to a bad start. Efforts will be made to catch up as the week goes on, but residents should be prepared to have their trash containers emptied a day late.

Street crews met the incoming ice at 5 a.m. Monday by spreading sand and salt at the main intersections.

Public works has also had to mend three water-main breaks during the cold spell.

City Administrator Carl Francis reported, “The response and repair time of our crews has been impressive to say the least. They have had the mains affected back up and running in a couple hours on each.” 

Additional problems are expected. Francis asks “that anyone who finds water in locations it is not supposed to be to please report it so we can make sure it is not a leak.”

Even in the cold, city crews were up in the air taking down Christmas decorations on Main Street. Taking down the lighting displays in King Jack Park is more difficult because of the frozen ground.

City Administrator Carl Francis gives a presentation about Webb City’s economic development during 2023. 

State of the City address

Mayor Ragsdale, Francis and Police Chief Don Melton made presentations during the fourth annual State of the City luncheon sponsored Thursday by the Webb City Area Chamber of Commerce at Granny Shaffer’s Restaurant.

Ragsdale said the state of the city is good, but the goal of the City Council and staff is continued improvement.

Francis noted success in commercial development, especially the expected spring openings of Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen and Whataburger on Madison Street and Tee Time at Daugherty and East streets. HTeaO is expected to break ground this spring on Madison Street, and there are rumors about a business taking over the former Burger King property on Madison Street.

Among the new projects this year will be the construction of sidewalks on East Street, with the financial help of the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Well No. 15 is nearly ready to begin contributing – again – to the city’s water supply. In fact, it was the city’s first well, just drilled deeper to put it back in production, and it is directly under the large water tower. City workers have constructed the well house.

Now, Francis said the plan is to find a site for well No. 16. The council’s goal is for the city’s water system to be more self-reliant, thereby reducing the amount of water purchased from Missouri American. 

Regarding park improvements, it was said that residents have shown the most interest in the planned dog park in King Jack Park. Erin Turner, community development director, said it should be an easy project because most of the fence is already in place from when the selected area was a pre-K soccer field. Those games are now played at the former rodeo arena site.

A disc golf course was added last year to King Jack Park.

Conversion of the former private Westhaven pool and tennis courts into a city park is also certainly doable in 2024.

Of all things, though, Francis said he is most surprised by the success of moving the recycling center to where it can be monitored, inside the gate at the wastewater treatment plant on North Madison Street.

“I was ready to get rid of it” because people were using at as a trash dump when it was self-serve downtown. “It’s amazing how much it’s used” by actual recyclers now.

Tax liens ordinance accepeted on first reading

During their regular meeting Monday, council members accepted first reading of an ordinance placing tax liens on 15 properties. If not before, the city will receive payment when the properties are sold for expenses the city incurred on those properties. 

The largest lien is $6,330 for sewer repair at 615 N. Ball St. The second largest is $2,455 for cleanup at 214 S. Roane St. Other liens are mostly cleanup related and remaining amounts to be paid for demolition. The total of all liens for this year is $13,308.

The purchase of three new sets of bunker gear (coat, pants and boots) to equip three new members of the fire department was approved at a cost of $11,520.

As recommended by Bryan Waggoner, parks and recreation director, the purchase of a new striper for the athletic fields was approved at a cost of $2,904. It’s the same model that has been in use for seven years but is now inoperable.

During the council’s Jan. 8 meeting, Police Chief Don Melton’s request to switch internet service was approved. Liberty Utilities Connect will provide a fiber optic connection at the police station at a speed of 200 Mbps download and upload at an annual cost of $3,600 per year. Currently, Sparklight’s service is 150 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload at an annual cost of $789. Besides the speed improvement, Melton said Liberty promises a more dependable connection.

Melton also received approval for the scheduled purchase of three 2024 Ford Police Interceptor Utility AWD SUVs from Joe Machens Ford in Columbia. He reported seeking bids from 11 dealers but did not receive any. Joe Machens Ford is on the list of state-approved dealer pricing. 

The cost per vehicle is $44,905 ($134,715 total) plus $600 delivery fee for all three. The city will receive $15,000 for the three trade-ins. That leaves the total cost at $120,315. It was budgeted at $125,000.