Nina Carter, right, presented the City of Ava and Mayor David Norman, left, with the third-place plaque the local Community Betterment group received in October for their involvement in the Pioneer Heritage Festival and 2500 Miles of Arts & Culture Tour, previously held in Douglas County. Carter presented the award during city council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
Mayor deems veterans memorial dedication held on Saturday a success.
On Tuesday, the Ava Board of Aldermen commended the Ava Volunteer Fire Department for their continued hard work and focusing on achieving a lower ISO rating for the department. Mayor David Norman and councilmen acknowledged the group has been working hard to meet higher standards and reach a more stringent level of ISO qualifications.
Fire Chief Tom Woods said the fire department implemented a three-year plan when the City of Ava purchased the used, but more current model fire truck. Woods said because of the combined efforts between the city and fire department, the department recently received notification their ISO classification had indeed improved and their public protection classification (PPC) was being lowered from a seven rating to a five. Woods advised this action plays a direct role in the underwriting process for insurance companies, and will likely decrease residential insurance rates by 10-15%. The PPC rate is used as part of the decision-making process when insurance companies decide what business to write, coverage to offer and prices to charge for personal or commercial property insurance.
Captain Anthony Carmichael explained Ava may have a challenge to get lower than a five rating as the requirements for attaining a lower level requires standards that include 911 emergency call center, 195 hours per person per year in specialized training, and upgrades to the record management system that would include being able to locate fire hydrants, etc. on an electronic map, through GPS.
It was noted the volunteer fire department would be re-evaluated in two years.
Council adopted two ordinances in unanimous votes, with the first ordinance calling for a general municipal election on Tuesday, April 2. The purpose of the election will be to elect a mayor and two aldermen, one from each side, to the council table. Positions expiring are those held by Mayor David Norman, West Ward Alderman Noel Dye and East Ward Alderman Burrely Loftin. Filing for candidacy will open in December.
Councilmen also passed a resolution changing the timeline on paying utility bills. Mayor Norman stated the grace period for paying utility bills has become too lax, and the issue is a burden on the city as well as a negative for those who own rental properties. He advised the payment cycle needs to be tightened to reflect a 10-day penalty period before utilities are shut off, and that means unpaid service accounts will be shut-off or discontinued on the 25th of the month. Norman noted the policy needs to be changed to provide a concise record of service, as the present policy allows unpaid accounts to lapse into the next month, which can negatively impact the cash flow. Norman noted the city owns their own electrical infrastructure and has a monthly bill of approximately $440,000 month, so it is important for city customers to implement a payment cycle that matches their needs rather than floating unpaid accounts from time to time.
Nina Carter, a member of the Chamber’s community betterment committee, presented the mayor and councilmen with a plaque the group recently won for their entry in the Missouri Community Betterment competition. According to Carter, in the 2018 Category III level, the group was awarded third place. The award, which was received in October in Jefferson City, was predicated upon the groups’ facilitation of two local events –– the fall Pioneer Heritage Festival held at Chapel Grove, and the 2500 Miles of Arts and Culture weeklong event that promoted 14 different area locations.
Carter and members of the community betterment committee expressed appreciation to the City for their on-going support as they awarded the plaque to councilmen and the mayor. Carter said the long term goal of the group is to encourage youths and area residents to get involved.
Norman advised the veterans memorial dedication last Saturday at the City Park was a success. He said plans are now underway to create a half circle walking path around the site, with engraved bricks available for purchase by community members. The bricks may also be engraved with the name and military service information of a loved one or friend. Councilman Burrely Loftin recommended that it would be wise to sell and engrave the bricks now, prior to the construction of the walkway, so fewer costs are involved in creating the site. Norman said he would pursue getting costs along with details about ordering the bricks, and present the information at the next council meeting.
The proposed timeline for the walkway is early summer 2019, and approximately 3,000 bricks will be used at the site. In addition to the walkway, plans are also underway to install a row of military flags behind the monument, all with proper lighting.
Norman provided an update on the fire station remodel by noting new windows have been installed, new siding has been placed on the east and north sides, and water issues have been fixed. He noted grounds on the south side of the building still need to be cleaned up, but the project is progressing well and once the outside is done, the City will start considering improvements on the inside.
In 4-0 votes, council approved the municipal court docket as presented and also approved the closed session minutes for the October 23 meeting.
Councilmen present were Burrely Loftin, Stan Lovan, Noel Dye and Keith Jones.
A closed session meeting was not held.
Council reconvenes on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 5:00 p.m. at City Hall. Sessions are open to the public.
Meeting video may be viewed on the Douglas County Herald website.