City Retains Special Counsel in BPW Water Case
When the dispute over Hannibal's drinking water goes to court August 4, the city will have new representation. The law firm of Leonatti & Baker of Mexico, Missouri will represent the city in the lawsuit with the Hannibal Board of Public Works. City Attorney James Lemon has served as legal counsel to both the City and BPW. City Manager Jeff LaGarce recommended outside counsel be retained, in order to avoid a potential conflict-of interest. At Tuesday's meeting, the Hannibal City Council unanimously approved the selection. Following the regular meeting, the council went into closed session. The first topic listed on the closed session agenda was the pending litigation.
The suit against the city is over the Proposition 1 referendum, which mandates the BPW discontinue using ammonia as part of the water disinfection process. BPW seeks relief from the 90-day deadline to remove chloramines and requests the court set aside the referendum. BPW maintains the Prop 1 deadline cannot be met without violating DNR water quality standards.
City Manager Jeff LaGarce agrees the 90-day deadline should be extended to a more reasonable time frame. However, the city is opposed to setting aside the referendum that was approved by the voters in April.
In other business:
- The council approved the renewal of a lease with General Mills for the Warehouse East at 3752 Warren Barrett Drive. The lease extension is for 10 years. City Manager Jeff LaGarce says the lease currently generates over $310,000 annually,
- Vacation of an alleyway near the Rockcliffe Mansion proved to be controversial. City officials say the alley known as the Cruikshank Alley has already been vacated at the northern end. Since that is now the only driveable entrance into the alley, the city is seeking to vacate the southern portion as well. Daniel Golian of 828 Bird owns property on one side of the alley. Golian told the council he opposes the vacation for multiple reasons, including emergency vehicle access. The owners of the Rockcliffe Mansion then spoke to the council, stating their support for the vacation. They shared results of a survey that indicates Golian's home actually encroaches 2 1/2 feet into the alley. The council gave a First Reading to the bill authorizing the vacation.
- City Clerk Angel Zerbonia received approval to destroy outdated records. Zerbonia told the council the city has not been keeping up with a consistent record retention schedule. This has led to a backlog and a lack of sufficient storage space. City staff will oversee the destruction of the records, which will be shredded on-site by the company On-Site Information Destruction.
- First Reading was given to a bill amending the Police and Fireman's Fund with regard to disability claims. The bill would allow the city to purchase disability insurance for around $1500 a month, and thus transfer the liability of disability claims to a third party insurer.
- Finance Director Karen Burditt received approval to hold a public hearing in council chambers at 6:30 p.m., August 15. The subject will be the 2017 Property Tax rate.