Manchester Aldermen Start New Year with Political Posturing
Eminent domain, Great Streets Project, Hanna Road funding and more topped Tuesday's Manchester Board of Aldermen meeting.
Tuesday night the Manchester Board of Aldermen met for its first meeting of 2012.
During the comments portion of the meeting, Ward 1 Alderman Hal Roth told the board that many constituents had approached him regarding the city’s use of eminent domain. When pressed by Ward 1 Alderman Paul Hamill, Roth would neither reveal names or the number of residents who had in fact expressed their concern to him.
“People are tired of hearing this,” said Ward 2 Alderman Michael Clement. “You’re putting fear in the community and throwing the whole city under the bus.” Clement suggested that Roth’s only motive to bring up the issue was to win a few votes in the upcoming April election.
Great Streets Project
Roth also asked for an update on the Great Streets Project. City Attorney Patrick Gunn explained that the board was being kept up to date and that the project was being handled by the Planning and Zoning Committee. The project is still stalled due to the city’s unwillingness to sign off on a Memorandum of Understanding with the other cities involved: Winchester, Ballwin, Ellisville and Wildwood.
“The other cities have been willing to sign off on whatever it took to get their part of the pie,” said Gunn. “We’re not ready to sign off on a plan. The agreement would not be in best interest of our residents.” He said the project would require Manchester give power to a committee representing the five cities—one he feared would always out vote the desires of Manchester residents. He said it would also place an additional tax burden on residents.
The “pie” in question is $14 million dollars in federal funding from East-West Gateway. The cities would split whatever is left over after MoDot resurfaces Manchester Road, which may be as much as $5 million dollars.
“East-West Gateway is steadfast that the city should agree to the plan in order to get that pool of money,” said Franz Kraintz, Manchester's director of planning and zoning and economic development.
(Read Previous Story: Manchester Still Ponders Great Streets Initiative)
City Administrator Ed Blattner said that Manchester could be in the running for federal funds to improve Hanna Road from Manchester Road to Big Bend. This section of road, which runs next to Parkway South High School, has been on East-West Gateway’s waiting list for 10 to 15 years, according to Blattner. The board agreed to have Brian Kulick of Juneau Engineers make a presentation on the possible improvements, which would include federally standardized sidewalks and traffic signals, on January 16.
The board also voted unanimously to approve a resolution to purchase bulk gasoline and diesel fuel though a cooperative agreement with St. Louis County. Manchester has budgeted $112,000 for the police department, $30,000 for public works and $3,900 for the parks department in 2012.
Finally, the board voted unanimously to contract Piffel Excavating to improve the storm water system in Carman Meadows subdivision. The board authorized $39,042 for the project, with up to $5,092 of pre-approved funds for unforeseen additional costs.
No action was taken on Bill #11-2137, an ordinance regarding the refunding of general obligation bonds. A second reading will be held on January 16.