A Warrenton Main Street business owner wants better advance communication from the city on city-sponsored events that may lead to street closures or other problems.
During last Tuesday’s board of aldermen meeting, R Corner Bar co-owner Steve Chidster expressed frustration at how city staff delivered information related to hosting its first Rod Run. A portion of Main Street was closed three hours for the May 12 event.
A packet he presented to board members included a petition signed by several Main Street business owners and employees stating when they were informed of the event as well as a letter dated March 27 and sent by the city to business owners informing them of the Rod Run and Catch the Glow, which is scheduled for June 23.
Chidster said the first time he learned Main Street was going to be closed was three days prior to the Rod Run event. Not knowing earlier left him at a disadvantage to be able to provide specials or to obtain a permit to be able to sell alcohol outside.
“I am here to point out that there are some communication problems between the city and the business owners as well as some of the public,” Chidster remarked. “There have been other issues here in the past, to find out our street is closed. . . it was quite a slap in the face. What does matter is we have more notification in the future to work as a team.”
Chidster acknowledged he overlooked the Rod Run information, but also added that it was alarming that a number of other business owners did as well.
He suggested having city staff meet with business owners first and then mail a letter out as an event approaches, opposite of the way it was done this year.
“I urge somebody to help us out with more information,” Chidster said.
Ward 1 Alderman John Cornell mentioned that the city did take steps to inform business owners about the event, but agreed that other avenues may need to be utilized in the future since so many owners overlooked the information.
Mayor Jerry Dyer said the event’s intent was not to hamper businesses on Main Street, but rather bring more customers to them.
“We hope you all would flourish,” he said. “Now, could we have done better, brought you all in during the planning? Absolutely. In the future, we will make a much greater effort to include you in the planning of the event.”
Earlier in the meeting, Dyer read a letter from another Main Street business owner, Fred Callaway of Brewskies, apologizing for his negativity toward the Rod Run event prior to it being held.
Meeting Videos to Be
Posted on Youtube
In an effort to make city meetings more accessible to residents, videos from board of aldermen meetings will now be posted on www.youtube.com.
A link to the video will also be posted on the city’s website (www.warrenton-mo.org).
Ward 1 Alderman John Cornell, who was elected to the board in April, inquired about increasing accessibility following concerns raised by residents while he was campaigning.
The city’s meetings also are played multiple times each day on its access channel with Charter Communications.
Aldermen voted 5-0 to increase the availability of board meetings.
In Other News
• Aldermen voted to contribute $14,000 to Agape Ministry of Warren County, a local agency that assists low-income families, during the 2012-2013 fiscal year. Board members also voted to send a letter of a support for Agape in its application to obtain state tax credits through the Neighborhood Assistance Program. The tax credits are used to support Agape’s daycare assistance program.
• A revised lighting plan was unanimously approved for the Villas at Hawthorn, a new apartment complex under construction west of Wal-Mart. Under the new plan, six additional lights will be erected in the parking areas.
• Aldermen voted 5-0 to reimburse five employees $2,485.92, or $12,429.60 combined, as part of waiving health insurance coverage. The amount reimbursed to each employee is half of the annual health insurance premium paid by the city.
• The board amended the 2011-2012 budget by decreasing expenses in the water department by $95,000. The city expects to end the fiscal year by spending $1,144,863. The adjustment was needed, according to city officials, to correct the salary amounts in the water department.
• The board gave permission to allow the grounds and maintenance department to apply for the TRIM grant. If approved, the funds would allow the city to complete an inventory of trees at Binkley Woods Park.
• The city has hired Priscilla Thomas as a part-time employee in the grounds and maintenance department. She will be paid $10 an hour. Her employment was approved by a 5-0 vote.
• The board agreed to allow the Warrenton-based 3175th MP Company use of the athletic complex during a private event on June 2.