Hannibal’s Safe Drinking Water ordinance goes down to defeat in city council chambers Tuesday.

A First Reading of the bill was turned down by a margin of 4 to 2.  Mayor James Hark, and councilmen Knickerbocker, Dobson, and Locke voted " NO". Councilmen Lionberger and VanHoose voted in favor of the bill. Newly appointed 5th Ward councilman Gordon Ipson was absent.

Three speakers spoke passionately in favor of the bill that would have eliminated the current disinfection method utilizing chloramines—a mixture of chlorine and ammonia. The speakers were Hannibal residents Melissa Cogdal and Kellie Cookson, and water quality expert Robert Bowcock from California, who has worked on environmental issues with Erin Brockovich. The three spoke on behalf of several citizen groups who cite health concerns and damage to plumbing as the chief reasons for removal of chloramine.

Although the council turned down the measure, the issue is not dead. Since the clean-water group turned in the required amount of petition signatures, the issue will now go to a vote of the people. The issue is expected to appear on the ballot in November 2016 or spring 2017.

Water—or lack thereof-- was also on the mind of citizen Rob Myers. Myers spoke about the $5+ million riverfront renovation plan recently approved by the council. The plan known as “Plan C” eliminates the marina and would fill it in with dirt. Myers is representing a group of citizens who want to keep some boat slips and have a harbor area. Myers told the council he has support to initiate a petition drive to save the marina. The council went ahead with plans to contract with Klinger and Associates for engineering services related to the riverfront project.

A busy road that serves the industrial park will get a new bridge. The council voted to replace the Warren Barrett Bridge near the intersection of Highway 61. The bridge over Bear Creek sees a lot of semi-truck traffic. It now has a 15-ton weight limit due to deterioration. After discussion of options including replacing the beams and deck, it was decided to replace the entire structure at a cost of $550,000 to $650,000.

The Grand Opening of an auto museum will take place in downtown Hannibal after council approval. The museum featuring vintage cars and pop culture is located at the intersection of 3rd and Church, near the 3rd St. viaduct. The council gave the green light to close Church Street, between 3rd and Main on August 13. The Loafers Car Club will show their cars outside the museum.

First Readings were given to:

  • An agreement with MoDot that partially funds construction of a $1,000,000 roundabout in the Shinn Lane area. MoDOT funding will provide over $332,000, with the city picking up the remainder. City Manager Jeff LaGarce says a $323,000 Missouri Moves Grant is being sought to reduce the city’s portion. Although traffic bottlenecks are not currently excessive, LaGarce says it is prudent to act before congestion becomes a serious problem. Besides the medical community, the road serves Moberly Area Community College and the Social Security office. Future development in the area includes a business park and an 80-bed hotel.
  • A bill replacing voluntary transfer codes allowing insolvent owners to deed property to the city cost-free. The program will be replaced by the Community PRIDE neighborhood revitalization program, which is said to be more proactive.
  • A bill reducing fines for nuisance violations in the city. City Manager Jeff LaGarce says legislation passed by the Missouri Legislature caps fines cities can impose for nuisances. LaGarce made the recommendation noting the law sends the wrong signal to violators of nuisance ordinances.