Just as spring lands, officials are already planting seeds for the big summer and fall events in downtown Hannibal…The city council has approved dates and street closures for National Tom Sawyer Days: June 30- July 8. The Arts and Crafts Festival is scheduled July 2 - 6. The Folklife Festival takes place October 20-21.

In other business, several property issues were discussed at Tuesday night’s council meeting:

  • Mark Twain Home and Museum Director Henry Sweets requested the city transfer two historic properties to the Mark Twain Home Foundation. Sweets says the Foundation has restored the J.M. Clemens Justice of the Peace Office and is now restoring Grant’s Drug Store. Grant applications have been turned down because the Foundation leases but does not own the properties. Sweets says both the Foundation and the City have common goals of preserving the Twain legacy in Hannibal. Several council members seemed to be receptive to the proposal. City Attorney James Lemon instructed the council that a formal resolution will need to be drafted and voted on at the next meeting.
  • The council voted to allow Timothy Dade to purchase city-owned property at 1913 Spruce Street for $120. Dade owns adjoining property. The lot is not large enough to build a home. Dade says he has been maintaining the property for about 4 years, as he thought he had purchased the lot in question when he purchased two other nearby lots. Dade says he wants to expand his yard space.
  • Richard Ceretti received approval to purchase a lot at 417 Oak Street for $120. The lot is also too small to build a home. Like Dade, Ceretti says he wants to create more green lawn space in the neighborhood. Ceretti says he has renovated several nearby rental properties and is interested in acquiring 512 Oak when it is offered at a tax sale in August.

Finance Director Karen Burditt received approval to amend the 2017-18 budget for some unforeseen events:

  • $1000 was budgeted for Outside Legal Counsel. The city has already spent over $112,000 due to increased litigation. With additional legal expenses anticipated, a supplemental appropriation of $120,000 was approved.
  • Medical/Dental and Pharmaceutical Claims are trending higher. $2,585,000 was budgeted for medical/dental. Through February, the city has already spent 97% of that amount. $509,500 was budgeted for pharmacy. Actual claims are already at 86%. An additional appropriation of $1.2 million for medical/dental, and $151,000 for pharmaceutical claims was approved. The supplement will come from the $4.6 million self-insurance reserve fund.
  • The council also approved the recognition of additional revenue for the Fire Department: CF Industries donated $3500 for a boat trailer for the Swift Water Rescue Team. Donations of $1000 from Swiss Colony, and $1200 from BASF, will go towards the purchase of a new breathing air compressor to enhance firefighter safety.

The council also approved the following agenda items:

  • Spending $39,866 for a new Dodge Ram 3500 truck with dump bed and hoist for Parks and Recreation. Poage Chrysler is the low bidder. The current 2012 Ford F-350 in use will be retained as a backup.
  • A city auction of surplus property will take place Saturday, April 28 at the Street Department. Supervisor Mike McHargue says three auctioneers were contacted. Yancey Auction Services was selected after Mr. Yancey agreed to donate services except for a $60 helper fee and any advertising expenses. Items up for auction include office and computer equipment, street maintenance equipment, mowers, police department evidence items and found items.

City Clerk Angel Zerbonia told the council the city scored 100% for the 6th consecutive year on its annual loss prevention evaluation. MIRMA, the city’s insurance carrier, conducts the annual safety audit. City Manager Jeff LaGarce says the city spends around $500,000 a year in insurance premiums, and that figure would be a lot higher with a lower score.